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.
15 responses to ““Success isn’t all tied to the money, but it certainly isn’t unrelated.””
The devil is in the details of the LHN agreement between UT and ESPN. What termination rights (including bankruptcy of the LHN entity) does ESPN have (if any)? If ESPN structured it wrong and ESPN parent has fully back-stopped the agreement, then money talks and bullsh*t walks – somehow UT will need to be kept whole.
That’s my only thought as well. 30% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
However, I’m betting that UT can continue to outsmart Bowlsby and Boren.
Can we just give Mizzou and aTm back and move on? Has aTm even played a team from the East yet?
Beat the hell out of scu & sos. Twas a thing of beauty.
Population and demographics are a bitch baby.
What keeps the others from just dropping Texas and forming a new conference? They could add Houston, and yeah, give up Missouri and TAMU.
I’ve often thought the Big 12 should pull in Houston and SMU…geography would fit and the TV market would improve…of course the elephant in the room remains the same…how do you keep UT Austin happy?
Why not Houston and SMU? Same eyeballs that the league already have. Even with Tom Hermann, the Cougars add little and SMU would actually be a drag on per team revenue sharing.
I have always wondered why they didn’t kick Texas out years ago. They could have kept aTm, Mizzou, Nebraska, and Colorado. They could have added Utah, kept 12 teams / the Title game, had their own TV network, etc. Texas was always the fly in the ointment, but they were all too chicken-shit to stand up to them.
It sure looks like it. It will get tied up in the courts (as everything eventually does) but the new B12 should make enough money to pay for it. Let Texas lay in their own bed. All 37 people that watch the Long(w)horn Network will be happy.
For the same reason the rest of college football doesn’t stand up to ND and force the Irish to join a conference for football. They don’t realize they hold more power together than the Horns think they have.
True, for both Texas and the Domers. Their significance is over stated, CFB would be fine without ND, and the Big 12 could have dropped TX and kept the ones who flew away and been stronger.
Because Texas is the most valuable college program in the country. It’s probably as valuable a commodity as the rest of the Big 12 put together.
Sure, the Big 12 could kick Texas out, add Utah, and rebrand itself as the SunBelt. It’s possible. It just wouldn’t be smart.
Give them Missouri and let them convince BYU to rejoin a conference. The SEC should then go get Va Tech or NC State just like they always should have instead of Mizzou.
The Big 12 should pick up BYU, Houston, Boise State, and San Diego State.
The first for viewers nation wide. The next two you could get at bargain prices, one on the way up and the other on the way down, and play one off the other. San Diego State would get you recruits from California.