CBSSports.com dribbles out an interesting bit of information today.
The Southeastern Conference and CBS have reworked their long-term contract in light of the SEC’s new 24-hour channel and the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri, according to sources.
The terms of the deal are expected to remain intact ($55 million per year until 2023-24), with CBS lifting the exclusive 3:30 p.m. broadcast window so the SEC can air football games on its ESPN-operated channel on Saturdays. [Emphasis added.]
Since the conference won’t “comment on financials”, it’s pretty easy to guess where Fowler’s sources came from. And as they’re on the other side of the negotiating table, I think we can take them at face value.
What this means is that Slive got some help to make his network deal with ESPN an easier sell, but he didn’t get any more money. So at least with regard to the CBS deal, the twelve existing members at the time that arrangement was struck are now taking home less money than they were because the pie is now split into more pieces. I doubt that’s what the schools expected when they agreed to expand. I sure would love to hear how Slive is spinning that to the presidents.
Will CBS pay a price for not playing ball here? Maybe, but that’s a long way down the road. In the meantime, the network has a ten-year contract locked in with a conference that’s going to be promoting the hell out of its product. And who knows what the landscape is going to look like when the contract comes up for rebidding anyway?
In the meantime, if the SEC wants more TV money, I’d guess both CBS and ESPN have already told Slive what everybody knows: a ninth conference game sure would boost inventory.