SEC on CBS: “A bidding war is coming.”

Here’s a fantastic deep dive by Andy Staples ($$) on what’s coming as the current broadcast deal nears its end.

Three basic points of consideration:

  • The property is significantly undervalued by current-day standards.  “The SEC title game commands the highest percentage of the transaction, but CBS pays $55 million a year for a 15-game package of the SEC’s best contests. That averages out to $3.67 million a game for a product that probably could command more than five times that price on the open market now.”
  • Certain Johnsons are being measured.  “In fiscal year 2018, the first year that included its most recent media rights deal, the Big Ten made $759 million. The SEC made $660 million. The biggest reason? The SEC is severely underpaid for the most valuable package of games in college football.”
  • There is a non-monetary value to CBS being the broadcast partner.  “That exposure had helped turn the SEC from a regional brand into a national one, and Slive and Gerber considered it critically important to keep that platform available to the league.”

I can’t imagine the conference is willing to compromise on any of those three issues in the upcoming negotiations.  If there are likely to be three main bidders in CBS, ESPN and Fox, which of the three is most likely to give the SEC what it wants in return for what might very well be the crown jewel of college football broadcast deals?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

36 responses to “SEC on CBS: “A bidding war is coming.”

  1. Tony from Union Point

    I’ll tell you this right now. There is going to be a lot of money involved.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Russ

    Jeebus. SEC football on Fox? Just shoot me now. They could play Florida on the first weekend in September in Macon for all I’d care.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    From what I’m hearing, this will come down to a Fox/CBS battle, with CBS most likely winning in the end. Fox desperately wants to increase it’s overall sports presence, thus they might be willing to overpay for the rights the SEC (Similar to the SEC, ironically enough, previously allowing the CBS to underpay in return for better national exposure they compellingly offered).

    Unless CBS is seriously outbid by Fox, look for them to remain the broadcast partner moving forward. But again keep an eye on Fox.


  4. For this ever to change to Fox’s football robots and cheesy marching band version of their NFL theme music would be an anathema.

    Of course, with the march to erase every tradition in college football to chase the dollar, who am I kidding?


    • Russ

      It is 1000% about the dollars. If Fox offers $1 more, the SEC will take it. Fans be damned.


      • Tony Barnfart

        Disagree that a nominally higher bid by Fox will move it away. At least not if they consult with even the lowest level intern in the marketing department. Yes it will be a bidding war to an extent, but CBS has its own branding leverage with the 20ish year marriage between these two. The SEC needs that mid-afternoon CBS intro song as much as it needs just a few more bucks.


    • HamDawg11

      Thanks ee, that intro has me pumped for the rest of the day! Vandy game can’t get here soon enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jared S.

    SEC on CBS is the best sports broadcast in the world. When I watch college games on ABC/ESPN, Fox or NBC they look like high school game highlights in comparison. Staples is right to point out the non-monetary value that the broadcast has given to the SEC — not just in giving it national exposure, but also in the quality with which its put it out there for the whole country to see.

    I know a lot of folks can’t stand Gary Danielson, but I’ll continue to say he’s the best color commentator in college football. For an average joe like me (and most viewers out there) his insights into the game are perfect. I always come away from his broadcasts having learned something about the game…. and laughing with him along the way.

    SEC should be willing to take less than ESPN or FOX might offer in order to stay with CBS. That being said…. CBS BETTER PONY UP!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tony Barnfart

      I love to be annoyed by Gary but I’d probably piss and moan if they replaced him. That said, I think Brad Nessler was absolutely made for this job at CBS even though Verne was an icon. Probably because Nessler was in the video game and longtime ESPN primetime guy. Nessler has a great voice.

      Liked by 2 people

      • rugbydawg79

        Nessler is the best


      • Jared S.

        Yeah, I like Nessler too. Perfect sound/temperament/personality/restraint/charm.


        • mwo

          Nessler is the best on air. Danielson is good and does a ton of research. As sacreligious as this may sound, I enjoy Todd Blackledge more than Danielson. Even though he beat my beloved Dawgs in the Sugar Bowl, he is a likeable and knowledgeable guy to me. He and Nessler had a great rapport when they worked together before.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Macallanlover

            Nothing sacreligous about it, Blackledge and Danielson are the two best color analysts in the business, they really know their stuff, and always do their homework. I like Blackledge’s style better, less grating on my ears, but cannot dispute that Danielson really know his stuff. Give me Todd and Brad as the best pairing in this century for televised CFB.


    • Still don’t like Gary. He always has some homer/bias/narrative push.


  6. Jack Burton

    CBS please god pony up. The SEC deserves the best partner and there is no network better than CBS.

    SEC, The Masters, March Madness, & AFC Football – top quality product of each league.


    • doofusdawg

      Yep. There is nothing traditional about Fox. The way this plays out will go a long way toward determining the future of college football. But then again who watches the CBS pregame or halftime show since Tony and what’s his name left.


  7. dawgfan1995

    Each makes sense in their own ways:

    CBS: Tradition. The only college football it shows. Massive money maker for the network.
    Fox: Increased profile for their sports department to have the best league. Tweaks Mickey and CBS big time.
    ESPN/ABC: They run/own the SEC Network. More prime time slots available. Easier travel for the top announcing team since Game Day frequently visits SEC Country.

    If CBS wants to stay in the college football game, it pays up for the SEC. The key question for the other two networks would be how such a package would affect other agreements — Big 10 on ABC & Big 12 on Fox in particular. Would CBS flex to the Pac 12?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bulldog Joe

    Those TV timeouts just got longer.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. DawgPhan

    If Staples is right, SEC could add $200 million to the total revenue.

    Imagine the reserve fund. heavens.


  10. Blinding Whiff

    See photo. No Facemask call. Nick rules.


  11. Argondawg

    We are literally talking billions here. It just boggles the mind. It is one of the things that let’s me know that college football may change but it is probably not going anywhere in my lifetime.


  12. Macallanlover

    I have negotiated many contracts larger than the current annual size of the CBS/SEC deal, I have not been in a single one where it was as one sided as this one. As a partner, CBS should have reset the amount with the CBS when it got so out of line. A single fee for one Rose Bowl, and one Sugar Bowl is significantly larger than the entire CBS payment for the entire SEC season, including the SECCG. I don’t consider that operating in good faith as a partner. Make the pay through the nose, or find a true partner.

    The CBS local affiliates in certain markets do not always carry the 3:30 game, and in many of these markets the 12:30 regional game runs over into the 3:30 time slot, sometimes for the entire 1st quarter. So that “national” game is not always truly national.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Just please stop the 4 hrs games. It’s amazing how different some other channels can be just by cutting 15 minutes. So sure, the SEC didn’t pay as much, but CBS got there’s anyway.


  14. ATL Dawg

    If CBS has to pay more, are they going to make their games 5 hours long instead of 4?


  15. Poon Logan

    Hands down the crown jewel of college football broadcasts, and its not even close


  16. Mayor

    My momma taught me to only say good about the dead. Mike Slive is dead. Good.