Daily Archives: January 29, 2013

Reader poll: to renew or not to renew, that is the question.

This one comes via a suggestion from Rocketdawg – quite simply, I’d like to get a gauge on how many season ticket holders plan on renewing their packages this year.  As you’ll see from the questions, I’m also interested in hearing about what those who’ve decided against renewal plan on doing in the alternative.

Please feel free to elaborate on your decision in the comments.  I’d also like to hear from fans from other schools about this.


Filed under Georgia Football

One thing a conference television network gets you…

is a legitimate debate about a ten-game conference football schedule.

One possible solution to this that the conference athletic directors are considering is the 10-game conference schedule. Of course, while that balances out home and road games in conference, it only leaves space for two nonconference games, which means it could be just as hard to get to seven home games on the season.

“Most of us need seven home games in order to make our local budgets,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “Is there a way to overcome that? I don’t know. We’ll have to look at that. The conference is aware that it’s an issue.”

A reason they can contemplate losing that seventh home game is the math behind what a tenth conference game adds to the value of the broadcast package.

… The more Big Ten games that are played give the Big Ten more Big Ten games to show on its network and sell as part of the conference’s new television deal. All of which leads to more money.

Money that could help overcome the loss of an occasional home game.

This will be interesting to keep an eye on, no doubt.  Especially as we watch Slive tap dance with the networks on the new SEC TV deals (and possible birth of a SEC Network).


Filed under Big Ten Football

Thank you, Mike Hamilton.

We all gripe about how the administration at Georgia seems to focus more on the financial bottom line than on the athletic success bottom line, but things could be much, much worse.

Now, after staggering to losing football seasons in four of the last five years and seeing attendance drop to levels last seen in the 1970s, the Vols find themselves mired in more than $200 million of debt, the most in the SEC, with reserves of just $1.95 million, the least in the conference.

The athletic department spends a startling $21 million a year on debt payments, $13.5 million of which comes from the school’s stressed $99.5 million athletic budget and the rest from donations.

That’s what you get when everyone connected to a once-successful football program dips into a till that slowly and surely dwindles.  Multi-million dollar contributions to the school, local taxes, seemingly random stadium expansions and, of course, expensive buy-out payments to fired coaches all took their toll.  Speaking of which, ain’t this a kick in the (urnge) pants?

Tennessee’s reserves were close to $30 million about five years ago, but they’ve been depleted by… $11.4 million in buyouts to fired coaches in football, basketball and baseball, as well as administrators. Hamilton walked away in 2011 with a $1.335 million buyout.

None of that includes a $5 million buyout owed Derek Dooley, who was fired as Tennessee’s football coach in November, and $2 million to his assistants. That $7 million will have to be found in this year’s budget.

I can’t say which stings worse.

But a savior arises.

The financial cavalry is on the way, though, in the form of additional TV revenue from the SEC’s contracts with ESPN and CBS. Those deals average $205 million a year for the league and they are expected to jump to about $300 million annually when they are updated. The conference is renegotiating the contracts to account for the growth to 14 teams with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M.

Hart said SEC athletic directors have not been told exactly how much new revenue that will mean, but projections are $5 million to $10 million a year for each school. Nowhere in the SEC will that be more welcome than at Tennessee.

You think these guys oppose conference expansion?


UPDATE:  Year2 looks around the rest of the SEC to see how much its athletic departments have larded themselves up with debt.  ‘Bama and LSU are bigger borrowers than UT; it’s just that they haven’t suffered from a drop in fan support like the Vols have.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“I think the people of Texas want a game, and we’re trying to get them one.”

Ah, yes… the great American tradition of state legislators stepping in where ADs fear to tread is alive and well.

If it passes, I wonder how those dudes will feel about the law the first time it costs one of those schools a shot at the new playoff.


Filed under Political Wankery