Getting what you pay for: Paul Tagliabue’s Big East mission

Paul Tagliabue has been enlisted by the Big East as an unpaid consultant to help the conference negotiate its next football TV contract.  Since it would no doubt help if the Big East wasn’t reduced to road kill by the expansion plans of the Big Ten and (potentially) the ACC, the former NFL commissioner has his work cut out for him.  Judging from his early comments, I wouldn’t say success is guaranteed.

… Tagliabue said he wondered both from a practical and financial standpoint if the Big Ten expansion would be worth it.

“At some point they’re going to overreach and get a big negative reaction out of Congress or someone else,” he said. “You have to eventually tie your television to people actually watching and not just to television subscribers added up and totaled.”

This is spoken by a guy whose professional sports league hasn’t been bothered to place a franchise in the second largest market in the United States for years.  Well played Congressional threat, by the way.

Tagliabue admits he’s “a bit of a novice” when it comes to the business side of college sports.  Nowhere is that more evident than in this quote:

… he had some stern words for how the Big Ten is handling its potential expansion.

“It’s very disruptive to everyone outside of the Big Ten,” Tagliabue said in a phone interview on Thursday. “Everything outside the Big Ten is held in artificial suspension. The Big Ten looks at a bunch of choices and everyone else has to deal with the depreciating value and a ton of negativity. I hope there’s a better way. Otherwise it’s going to have a terrible negative effect on everyone other than the schools in the Big Ten.”

Does he honestly think that Jim Delany is losing a minute of sleep over that?

That’s his problem – Tagliabue is thinking like a man running the most powerful professional sports organization on the planet, when in reality he’s playing the hand of the weakest of the Big Six conferences.  He’s in for a big shock when that sinks in.

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