Dennis Dodd sounds the alarm for the Big 12.
The evidence is mounting. The signs are there for the Big 12. The conference has to do something to address its future.
While there remains a slow, deliberate pace among Big 12 members considering expansion and/or a conference championship game, the league’s clock is ticking.
It’s the economy, stupid.
Bowlsby summed it up this way when asked the financial gap between his league and the SEC, a number that currently stands at about $9 million per year in rights fee revenue.
“If we do nothing, 12 years from now, we’ll be $20 million per school behind the SEC and the Big Ten,” he said.
Sure, that sounds crass, but the bottom line is the bottom line.
Here’s the problem. Even if the conference could find a couple of attractive expansion partners – and as Donald Trump might put it, that assumption is huuuuge – it’s still saddled with Texas and The Longhorn Network.
If eventually there is a Big 12 Network, it’s clear Texas’ collective ego will have to be soothed. It sort of has look like was their idea to fold the struggling Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network.
LHN, to this point, has been a financial failure, losing a total of $48 million, according to the San Antonio Express-News. A source told CBS Sports that the network continues to lose single-digit millions.
But more to the point, Texas isn’t. It’s raking in $15 million a year for twenty years. What does Bob Bowlsby have to offer to make up for that, especially in the context of conference expansion, which means ultimately having to split the pie into more slices?
This is the best Dodd can come up with:
… A reasonable solution could be Texas being the centerpiece of a Big 12 Network.
“Texas is always going to dominate the content on the network,” an industry source said. “They’re good in baseball. They’re good in softball. They’re good in volleyball. They’re good in swimming. They’re going to have a lot more presence than other schools just because they’re better than other schools most of the time.”
See how the Texas ego begins to be soothed? We’re essentially talking LHN branded as the Big 12 Network.
A rebranding? Seriously, that does sound like something Bowlsby would come up with… and that Texas would pass on, after it caught its breath from laughing so hard at his proposal.