The days “when the Big 12 was the Big 12”

Er, wut?

That financial focus is especially the reality for the Big 12, which was born as a merger of two defunct conferences (the Southwest and the Big Eight); which lost members to three other leagues during the past several years of realignment…

The Big 12 is an amalgam forged out of failure.  It has no historical tradition as such with which to wrap itself in, something that makes it different from its four other P5 peers.  That means it feels even less restraint in its current money chase, which is why this strategy doesn’t sound as implausible as it might at first glance.

The most important data point in favor of Big 12 expansion, said Neal Pilson, a media consultant and former CBS Sports president, is the massive rights extensions the Big Ten reportedly struck with Fox, ESPN and CBS, which would nearly triple that conference’s annual rights revenue (not including the Big Ten Network), to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars…

For that reason, Pilson advised the Big 12 to take a page from the Big Ten’s playbook. Much as the Big Ten, a traditionally Midwestern league, recently added Rutgers and Maryland to plant its flag near several East Coast population centers, the Big 12, whose members reside in Great Plains states and Texas (and West Virginia), ought to invite Connecticut to join, Pilson said.

“Having Texas and Oklahoma and the other major Big 12 schools playing in the Northeast would create additional revenue opportunities and make it a more attractive conference in terms of new sponsors and a better linear television deal,” Pilson said.

Again, if you’re a fan of college football —  and if you’re reading this blog, that’s a pretty good indication you are — you recognize that one of the sport’s greatest strengths is based in its regional appeal.  If chasing “a better linear television deal” is to be the Big 12’s new raison d’etre, I’m not sure what that says about that conference’s long-term survival chances.  What depresses me, though, is the worry that this turns out to be the canary in the coal mine for the sport as a whole.

15 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football

15 responses to “The days “when the Big 12 was the Big 12”

  1. PTC DAWG

    Uconn in the Big 12…that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.

  2. TimberRidgeDawg

    This reminds me of NASCAR and their push to go national while pushing aside and otherwise ignoring the traditional fan base and roots that grew the sport and made it successful. I was never much of a fan either way but looking from the outside, I can’t help but see linkage of rising costs and taking races and dates from traditional tracks to try to push into non traditional markets resulting in mixed results and dilution of interest.

    I have enough of a problem with Mizzou in the SEC East for no reason other than TV revenue. God forbid, getting stuck with a schedule that has UConn and Cincinnatti. The Big 12 is the Texas, Oklahoma and the Island of Misfit toys.

    These conferences better be careful because there is no guarantee that the cable revenue stream this is based on will be in existence in 10 years. If my cable bill goes up because I have to pay for the ACC Network simply because GA Tech has an Atlanta address, then that is the last straw and I’ll unbundle and drop my provider. I’m pretty close to it as it is. Give it a few more years and with some network upgrades, streaming IP services will make cable programming providers nothing more than pipe carriers like ISPs. The ESPN and Big 10 revenue model based on set top boxes is built on a short term house of cards.

    • Chi-town Dawg

      I agree with you TRD. There was an article in the USA Today 2-3 weeks ago discussing the rise and fall of NASCAR and it touched on many similarities to what we’re seeing unfold in college football. The article interviewed a number of fans and you could almost interchange their comments with CFB fans’ comments.

    • Texas would consider Oklahoma to be part of that island as well.

  3. Skeptic Dawg

    “If chasing “a better linear television deal” is to be the Big 12’s new raison d’etre, I’m not sure what that says about that conference’s long-term survival chances.” Has this not been the expansion model that all conferences have followed? The reason for the addition of A&M and Mizzou were to expand the SEC TV footprint…at least that is what we were told time and time again. Please explain how either of those schools fit in the the SEC otherwise? The problem that the Big 12 faces now is that they are left with crappy options. This will fail due to their stubbornness, that and Texas and their greed.

  4. Bright Idea

    Conferences don’t want to answer the question, “how much money is enough?” Right now they just seem to be in a competition among themselves to see who will become the richest through TV. Part of that is making the playoff. Perhaps that is how the commissioners’ job performances are being evaluated. Meanwhile those of us who trek to the stadiums are being forgotten. I’m having to force myself to Missouri every other year because I hate watching on TV. How many Longhorns or Sooners will go to UConn more than once or ultimately move there to live?

  5. The Jed Clampetts of the AFOOF conference (Amalgam Forged Out Of Failure) are simply following the business model of other conferences. The plan is to make more money—and it will work until it doesn’t. At no point will they seriously consider the experiences of their student athletes and the time and travel demands required of these odd out of region alignments. The only time they will fall back on platitudes like ‘student athletes’ and ‘academic mission’ is to protect their business interests. Its a reality that is consistently unfolding before our eyes. All hail the mighty dollar!

    • Comparing the idiots running CFB to Jed Clampett is an insult to Jed Clampett. Jed never pretended to be an oil expert and acknowledged that it was dumb luck that he found oil on his property. These guys think they created the oil.

    • reipar

      Travel demands? Schools have always traveled long distances. It is over 1,300 mile trek from Washington State to Arizona. That conference was formed before all the crazy TV money. This is nothing new. In fact with advent of cheap air travel the demands are actually much less today then in the past. University of Illinois would bus to Ohio State as recently as the 70’s. I have heard 300 miles have never felt so long.

  6. South FL Dawg

    It’s like they forgot what drives demand.

  7. Red Cup

    My guess is the SEC is sniffing around Oklahoma and Ok State, will put em in the West, and move Bama and the Barners to the east. That will preserve the traditional rilvaries ( Bama v Tenn and UGA v Auburn); Texas to the Big 10, and that will be the end of the Big 12.

  8. TomReagan

    The Big 12 showed how little they understood about what makes college football compelling when they immediately killed Nebraska/Oklahoma — one of the great rivalries in all of college football.