I must say that in some respects, things are looking up for this football season.
Daily Archives: May 21, 2012
Believe it or not, this doesn’t surprise me.
The latter point first: The CBS broadcast contract isn’t regional; it’s national. Technically speaking, the SEC isn’t adding any new eyeballs to the deal by bringing Missouri and Texas A&M to the table. So CBS isn’t acting impressed. You know what would impress CBS? A nine-game conference schedule.
And on point the first? Well, if you’re Mike Slive and you’re used to getting your way, there’s only one response you’ve got to CBS’ recalcitrance. Your own network! (Plus, that probably feeds into a few presidents’ egos who want to have what their peers in the Big Ten and Pac-12 already boast of having.) Problem is, it’s not really much of a threat, as CBS is hardly interested in what the SEC will be throwing on its own network. There’s also the issue of how much schools like Florida, which makes a good deal off of Tier 3 rights, are going to be willing to subordinate their interests to the greater good. (Answer: not very, thanks.)
All of this does make me wonder how much due diligence Slive had performed with the networks before embarking on the SEC’s expansion journey. The jury is still out on how good a job he did negotiating the existing broadcast deals.
UPDATE: Here’s the full SBJ piece. If all the SEC is talking about spinning off into its own network is what it had already sold off before, then it’s certainly a doable deal. As for CBS, this is the nut graf:
CBS still will carry the same number of football games each season as part of its package, and network executives are arguing that schools such as Alabama, Florida and LSU—not Missouri and Texas A&M—drive the value of the conference. Without additional inventory, CBS’s stance has been that it shouldn’t pay more solely because the conference added two new schools. [Emphasis added.]
You could argue – and CBS probably has – that, if anything, expansion waters down the inventory, because sticking with an eight-game schedule means that some of the conference’s premier draws will play each other less often.
There’s lots of restatement of the obvious here: the schedule, the returning starters, the end of the hot seat, Crowell, the offensive line, the suspensions, etc.
But David Pollack managed to toss out a couple of points that weren’t quite rote. One was about Murray’s mechanics, but it was fairly specific, referring to his inability to change his arm angle throwing when he faced pressure.
The other, though, was more interesting. He starts out at about the 4:45 mark noting that Georgia went more up tempo on offense this past season, but went on to argue that the offense needs to continue to evolve and “reinvent itself”. Somehow, that’s a combination of being even more up tempo (don’t forget that the Dawgs were ninth nationally last season in the number of offensive plays run) and running the ball more. I’m not sure how that all comes together.
I think Blackledge bails Pollack out with what Georgia really needs to see happen in order for the offense to take the next step. Aaron Murray doesn’t, as he says, have to play lights out every game. He needs to take charge and play consistently from game to game. All in all, that’s a fair representation if this team is going to finish more successfully than it did last season.
USA Today hired a college sports rights-valuation firm to evaluate what the conference broadcast rights numbers are shaping up to look like, and as the header indicates, the firm argues that the Pac-12 comes out on top in the money game. Well, sort of.
The estimate, premised on the SEC continuing without a conference-owned network and again having 15-year deals, would give the SEC more guaranteed TV revenue than any college athletics conference: nearly $25 million a school per year over the full contract term ($5.2 billion total).
However, the Pac-12’s full ownership of national and regional networks that have lined up substantial distribution before their scheduled launch in August, indicates that the conference is on track to generate at least $30 million a school per year over the 12-year term of agreements with ESPN and Fox that begin later this year ($4.3 billion total). Only the money from ESPN and Fox — about $21 million a school per year — is guaranteed, though. And because of the networks’ start-up costs the actual per-school revenue the first few years is likely to be well below the projected annual average.
So, the SEC deals generate about 20% more guaranteed revenue per school than the Pac-12 is expected to get – and that’s spread over two more schools, remember – and the Pac-12’s projection is on the high side because it doesn’t factor in that conference’s ownership costs. But the Pac-12 is somehow seen as the big winner. Interesting.
The SEC is getting a $2.2 billion bump with no infrastructure expense much beyond unfurling a couple of new flags in the home office. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Note also that’s there’s still a sizeable spread between the Big 12’s and SEC’s numbers. It’ll be worth watching to see if a couple of ACC additions to the Big 12 are enough to cut that down. And whether that’s any motivation for the SEC to do more fishing itself.
This didn’t get much attention, but I think it’s worth noting that the O’Bannon suit against the NCAA and EA survived a motion to dismiss filed by the latter. And this doesn’t sound like things bode particularly well for the defendants:
The judge says this doesn’t distinguish between former and current student-athletes and “can fairly be read” as evidence of a “meeting of the minds” between the defendants to not compensate ex-collegiate athletes. The judge also points to other terms in the contract where CLC and the NCAA have written approval over all licensed products containing student-athletes’ likenesses and the broad authority to inspect EA’s financial records related to the products, “allowing them to see that payments were almost never made to former student-athletes,” says the judge.
It’s hard to defend amateurism to the grave as a business model, it seems. At least as half a business model.