Now this is power:
Those live games will move to ESPN for the conference channel, which is an important development because it means that ESPN will control the entire inventory of SEC football games, with the exception of CBS’s single game each week. That gives ESPN a lot of flexibility to use specific games in markets where it’s having trouble gaining distribution.
That’s not all it gives Mickey.
I’d welcome our new conference overlords, except it’s not like they just showed up last week.
12 responses to “The 800-pound gorilla puts on more weight.”
You’re looking live at beautiful Jacksonville, Florida and Everbank Field where for the first time ever, the Georgia-Florida game is being played on ESPN Thursday Night Football!
You are right, nothing surprising in this. What is puzzling is how the SEC Presidents and ADs continue to watch Slive hold the strongest hands of cards and lose every hand. As much as I resent Delany for screwing up CFB for so many years, it wasn’t his job to do what was best for the overall game, He had a single minded objective of strong arming and fleecing everyone for the financial benefit of the conference members and always got more for the Big Whatever than they deserved. Slive is a minimalist, Delaney’s underlings could out negotiate him.
And it isn’t like ESPN has shown themselves to be a friend of the SEC, you know they would love to have ND, Big 10/11/12, and the West Coast teams become relevant again. Taking the SEC down a notch is certain to be a startegy on their Big Board because it brings in the heavily populated, “casual” CFB fan who is really just interested in getting his Jets/Giants jersey pressed for the next day’s immersion of piped-in music. Plus, it energizes the cocktail parties with their neighbors in Connecticut to not have those ignorant Southerners dominating the game. It was always so much better when the enlightened ones played their silly little “pretend” game as an appetizer to the main event on Saturday.
Mac, you nailed it. “Taking the SEC down a notch” is certainly their strategy, as was evident in their campaign to put ND in the national championship game to avoid another SEC/SEC matchup. I wonder what school will be this years ND? Maybe ND again? While I can’t see the Irish as being lucky enought to go undefeated again, there will be some northern team that will be ESPN’s darling.
I don’t buy this. ESPN profits off of the SEC’s dominance as much as anyone. In fact, ESPN was largely responsible for fanning the rhetorical flames of SEC dominance to begin with. It wasn’t always a foregone conclusion that the SEC Champ would be in the BCS title game. Remember Auburn in ’04? The talking heads changed all that. The national title streak is great and all, but neither Florida nor the twice-beaten LSU team were locks to even get into the game. ESPN took care of it. And you’d better believe they profit from the debate over SEC dominance. It gives Mark May and Lou Holtz something to debate about in those hours and hours of talking head chatter that racks up the ratings.
Granny’s been bummed out lately. I’m sure he can’t wait to strap on his debate spit-guard again as soon as he gets another Boehner pep talk
You’re correct, GD, but Mac’s point goes beyond the past history to imagine what could happen with He-is-Peeing when they have full control on NOT televising SEC whenever they can glorify other conferences, especially the Big’un. And Pac-12.
Don’t you think ,with all the false reporting, bloviation and plain sales puffery from those guys, that USCw, Oregon, Stanford, Ok, Tex, ND etc. teams and players get shoved ahead in the agenda (like Barkley and Teo for the Heisman) for rankings and personal inglorification? Yep, they overdid it when exulting LSU and Bama Ds to heights that no others in CFB would be able to obtain. I considered it blasphemy to the D history of the SEC and the Junkyard Dawgs to distance their athletic capabilities so far above everyone else. The “level of their own” and “separate higher tier” talk was not good for CFB.
I think that Mac correctly assesses the situation we are about to enter with He-is-Peeing as to their capability and lack of contrition in creating negative situations for the SEC by remaining true to their past influencing ways. It’s just another view that embraces our paranoia created by past actions of He-is-Peeing. If we really are for level CFB playing fields in the media, we should watch future scheduling like hawks as a way to question the power recovered by Slive and then given away.
Shorter Balls: “I respond to the outrageous lack of contrition by ESPN and claim that it is “grasping at straws” in an attempt to not disqualify itself from talking about teams and players outside Deep South places such as Missouri and Texas and embracing the feeding of our paranoia which we down here have been working on for the brief period of only 148 years since Appomattox. Plus additionally, I’m “offended” by ESPN’s insinuations in regard to not grasping the short straw but smoking it instead and, then, not policing their butts.” 🙂
GD, this isn’t a conspiracy thought, just pure mathmatics and business. I don’t know if you have ever lived outside the SEC area before, but college football is not even close to it’s potential in terms of viewership. As others have said below, this isn’t a zero sum game. There are huge upside numbers in total TV sets and that translates into mega advertising dollars. I am sure you know that but sometimes the scope of that untapped market is hard to believe when you live in an area outside the Southeast.
When I moved to both NC and Virginia in the 70s, I recall the opening day of basketball PRACTICE being on the front of the Sunday sports section during October and less than two paragraphs of any college football game on the 3rd page….and that was only the state schools and Top 25. Less than one page total, and this was before the internet and ESPN. When I moved to Philadelphia in the 80’s it was even worse, and coverage was limited mostly to ND, State Penn, and some D2 and 3 schools. That was from one the largest newspapers in America. You just cannot believe how indifferent NYC, and 90% of the northeast are to our major passion. Much anticipated, and planned matchups like UGA/FU, and LSU/Bama are completely unnoticed by tens of millions of viewers in that section of the country alone. When traveling to the West Coast in my working days, it was difficult to find sports bars in some areas that even bought the satellite package for CFB for patrons.
You can add to that the “SEC fatigue” and envy factors in many parts of the country and we even saw boycotts of certain fan groups about the LSU/Bama rematch game. In sum, there is a strong financial motivation for the WWL to screw the southeast when it comes to the MNC, or certain bowl matchups. The CFB addicts are going to watch anyway, it the casual fan they look to for upside. And you can bet that plays a factor in who gets promoted on Sportscenter, Gameday, program scheduling, highlight packages, promos, and behind the scenes manipulations. There are many more who don’t watch than do…..many, many more. If you or I had the job responsibility to grow the profits at ESPN, you can bet that letting the chips fall where they may would not be our direction. Build the fires, fan the flames, and reap the rewards. Who cares if we don’t attempt to be fair and balanced? Oh yeah, those poor addicts who know they were screwed but don’t have a voice. Tough sheet.
Most corporate execs are terrified to touch a known brand, much less a proven successful one. Almost every attempt to do so turns into a New-Coke-esque cautionary tale in a business school somewhere. I have a hard time seeing anyone at ESPN running calculations involving the translation of an SEC downturn into an everywhere-else uptick. Ratings are usually not a zero sum game. It’s usually more the case of a strong tide lifting all boats, pardon the pun.
This has much more to do with ESPN having leverage over cable distributors, and I expect reflects much of their painful learning curve with LHN and most cable distributors telling them to jump off a bridge.
Slive keeps increasing the $$$. I guess university presidents continue to be a bad judge of opportunity cost.
I don’t see it as ESPN trying to take the conference down a notch. More likely, it’s just that they’ve identified the SEC to be the baseball equivalent of Red Sox-Yankees, and they are about to shove it down everyone’s throats, never worrying about ruining the unique quality of something by over exposing it and forcing it on others.
For examples, see: Yankees-Red Sox, Heisman Trophy, any sport’s all star game (except football, which already sucked), HR Derby, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, bowel movements of various Jets/Giants players and coaches, Brett Favre, etc.
You left out the most overhyped of all – a backup QB nobody wants named tebow.
BMan nailed it. The Worldwide Leader overkill may just do in the SEC as we know it.