Daily Archives: May 15, 2018

Today, in eyeballs

The next time somebody tells you an all SEC national title game would be a complete ratings disaster, set ’em straight.

The 2018 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship Presented by AT&T between Georgia and Alabama on ESPN delivered the second biggest audience in cable television history, solidifying the College Football Playoff’s place in history as a ratings juggernaut with the four biggest TV audiences in cable history and seven of the top 10.  This year’s game produced a total live audience* of 29,932,000 viewers. The inaugural CFP game on ESPN in 2015 between Ohio State and Oregon remains No. 1 with 33,395,000 viewers.

And the next time somebody complains about there being too many bowl games…

The 39 postseason college bowl games on ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX and FS1 at the conclusion of the 2017 season averaged 5,308,000 viewers per game (representing an 8 percent increase over last season and a 3 percent increase from two years ago) while reaching 122 million unique fans† on television. (The figures include the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, which was played at the FCS level, but not the AutoNation Cure Bowl and the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, both telecast on CBSSN, which is not rated by Nielsen Media.)

Mickey’s certainly getting his money’s worth.

(h/t, believe it or not)



Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Building a better future, one bet at a time

While the NCAA likely doesn’t have any idea what to do about the impending collision between widespread legal gambling and amateurism, you can be damned sure it’s feverishly preparing for its coming payday from sports betting.  Start with this:

As of this morning, the NCAA has still not announced plans to allow college athletes to control their own names, images and likenesses

However, the NCAA does not move equally slowly on all potential initiatives.

When it comes to monetizing revenue streams related to its college athletes, the NCAA shifts from operating at a snail’s pace into Speedy Gonzales.

Early this morning, the NCAA was proud to announce the launch of its newest initiative: monetizing college athletes’ game statistics. According to an article that appeared this morning on Bloomberg.com, “the NCAA has signed a 10-year partnership with the U.K.-based Genius Sports to centralize the data, and ideally make some money off it.

While there is no doubt a financial benefit for the NCAA in mining player statistics, one is nevertheless left to wonder what the NCAA plans to do with this data, and why this initiative was consummated even while other, presumably more important matters remain unaddressed.

One hypothesis, raised by Ebon Novy-Williams of Bloomberg.com, is that the NCAA’s data mining initiative could mark a first step toward the NCAA selling data to companies for gambling-related ventures.  Indeed, such data could emerge as a valuable revenue stream given that, also today, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — a statute that had disallowed for state legalization of sports gambling in 46 of 50 states.

What a happy coincidence!  Although “you can’t sell your names, only we can sell your names” admittedly isn’t the best look right now… not that anyone at the NCAA is likely to give a shit as long as the checks roll in.  Besides, it’s only what’s on the front of the jersey that matters, amirite?

Oh, and let’s enjoy this amusing analogy.

First, and placing emphasis on the phrase “sports betting right”, such fees would account for the derivative quality of sports betting: Leagues provide the games upon which bets are made. Leagues then expect to receive a portion of the share, much like a player or musician expects to receive a portion of a royalties associated with others trading on their identities or talents.

Well, some players, anyway.

I can hardly wait to hear Emmert and Delany twist themselves in verbal knots explaining the difference between the NCAA goose and the student-athlete gander.  Somehow, I won’t be surprised to hear it all justified as being in the best interest of the player, who, after all, is only there to get an education.


Filed under The NCAA

You better, you better, you bet.

With yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling ending the federal prohibition on sports betting, you’d best get ready for this scenario to be tossed around.

Now, college athletics will have to deal with the players who don’t get paid.

Legalized sports betting works in the professional model, because, for the most part, the players are making so much coin that it’s not worth the risk to mess with monkeying with their games.

Let’s say you’re a 19-year-old star shooting guard, or starting quarterback, or any college athlete who doesn’t have any real money. Yes, there’s always been the idea of game fixing and the athletes have always been vulnerable, but now this is different.

There’s a difference between some shady character trying to get a player to do something to affect an outcome, and a player telling his roommate or friend to go on their phone and place a wager.

Sure, there are currently ways for enterprising youngsters to bet, but that’s a much bigger PITA now than it may become as states inevitably chase their share of the wagering public’s dollar.  And it’s going to be awfully tempting for kids who see big bucks swirling around everyone else who participates in their sport.

Does anyone figure the NCAA has the first clue what to do about it?


Filed under The NCAA

An early look at the 2018 schedule

Given that we’ve constantly bitched about the lack of quality of Georgia’s 2018 home schedule, I don’t think any of us would try to argue that the Dawgs play one of the conference’s tougher slates this season.  Athlon, in fact, ranks Georgia’s schedule as the conference’s second-easiest.

13. Georgia

Non-Con: Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee, UMass, Georgia Tech

East Home: Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida (in Jacksonville, Fla.)

East Road: South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky

Crossover: at LSU, Auburn

Georgia takes a big step backward with its non-conference slate in 2018. The only Power 5 opposition comes in the form of annual in-state rival Georgia Tech, and the Bulldogs are one of just two SEC teams that never have to leave the comfort of their home stadium for a non-conference game this season. The Dawgs get to host divisional games against Tennessee and Vanderbilt as well. The SEC East road matchups should prove to be slightly more difficult, particularly an early-season matchup against rival South Carolina in Columbia. The annual rivalry game in Jacksonville against Florida is intriguing, given the Dan Mullen factor. While Georgia’s most difficult tests in 2018 will come in crossover matchups against LSU (away) and Auburn (home).

Not sure I get the “given the Dan Mullen factor” reference there, but I think most would agree that South Carolina, LSU and Auburn are the key challenges on the schedule as we peer at it in mid-May.  I also think most would agree that on paper, the most challenging of those three challenges will be played between the hedges.  In short, this is a manageable — and I mean that in the literal sense, from Smart’s perspective — slate of games.

The Dawgs do play seven conference games in a row, so they will feel the SEC grind, although there is the usual nicely timed bye week before the Cocktail Party.  But so will their rivals, which, for the most part, don’t have the depth that Georgia enjoys.  And even those three challenges are at least somewhat cushioned, as South Carolina is sandwiched between two cupcake games, Vanderbilt at home precedes the road trip to Baton Rouge and Georgia will face UMass after laying it all out against Auburn.

What no one knows at this early date is whether a surprising program emerges during the season to make the schedule tougher in that regard.  On the other hand, nobody knows if there’s a program that proves to be a 2018 flop, either.  All in all, the schedule appears to shape up as something that gives Georgia an advantage this season.


Filed under Georgia Football

IPTAY in action

I admit that I’m something of a sucker for When Bad Things Happen To Rival Programs stories, so this piece about two former Clemson football players being arrested for robbery was a little catnip, as far as I’m concerned.  What’s curious about it — and what makes it worth sharing with you here — is presented as a sidelight.

According to documents and surveillance footage obtained from the Clemson Police Department, the three men pulled into a city parking deck on the afternoon of March 28, were recorded on camera exiting Fuller’s white Mercedes, pulled hoods over their heads, then allegedly proceeded to knock on the door of an apartment that police say belongs to a current Clemson football player.

An unidentified 20-year-old victim who says she is the teammate’s girlfriend told police she was napping in the back bedroom around 4 p.m. when she heard the knock. She answered the door and was allegedly robbed at gunpoint.

One suspect, she said, had a gun and went to the kitchen for cash in a cabinet above the refrigerator. She considered running outside but said she saw the third suspect by the stairs, whom she assumed was the lookout man.

Knowing her boyfriend kept a gun in the nightstand, the victim told police she ran to the back bedroom where she wrestled with the other suspect on the bed before he also took a large amount of cash from that nightstand. According to documents, the victim said she thought the men were football players.

To recap, Fuller, a “former Clemson running back who was set to graduate and transfer from the university this summer”, drives a Mercedes to the apartment of a current Clemson football player.  In the apartment, one of the robbers knows immediately where to head for cash stashed away hidden in the kitchen and another goes into a bedroom to take a large amount of cash.

Is it just me, or does any of that beg a certain question about what’s going on at Clemson?


Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Crime and Punishment