The further adventures of Larry Scott, genius

Think CBS is the big loser in the SEC’s full embrace of Mickey?  Not so fast, my friend.


Whether CBS ends the contract prior to the expiration date isn’t known (at least publicly) at this time, but by the fall of 2024, if not sooner, the SEC will have one broadcast partner: ESPN.

If you thought the most influential network in college sports was SEC-heavy now, just wait.

The financial implications for the Pac-12 are obvious:

The SEC currently distributes approximately $44 million annually to each school.

If we estimate $325 million annually for the SEC ‘Game of the Week’ package, the net gain for the conference (over the current CBS deal) is $270 million.

Or an additional $19 million per school per year.

That would push the SEC’s annual campus distributions to about $63 million — more than the Big Ten’s current Brinks truck delivery ($52 million per school) and approximately double what the Pac-12 currently sends home to each of its 12 members.

And there’s this: The Big Ten’s Tier One deals with Fox and ESPN expire in 2023, one year before the Pac-12’s rights are up.

We should expect that $52 million per-school figure in the Big Ten to increase substantially.

In other words:

Even if the Pac-12 were to receive a whopping 50 percent annual increase in media rights from its next deal(s), it would still lag far behind the SEC and Big Ten in annual take-home pay.

That money is used for facilities, for student-athlete welfare services, for coaching staff salaries and to manipulate non-conference schedules (i.e., buy games) to create the best chance for success.

But that’s not all!  What else do we have for our contestants, Jay?

Because the SEC isn’t moving to ESPN just for the money.

Nope, the SEC understands the value of exposure — of providing its greatest export with access to all Disney-owned media outlets.

And you had best believe Disney will make whatever adjustments are necessary once it owns every last shred of SEC football.

The conference already has a Tier One deal with ESPN, and the SEC Network is owned by ESPN.

Add the ‘Game of the Week’ package, and the SEC and ESPN — which means the SEC and Disney — will be one in the same.

Expect to see SEC football all over ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ABC.

Expect to see kickoffs across all the viable broadcast windows, from 12 p.m. Eastern through 9 p.m. Eastern (which is 8 p.m. on some SEC campuses).

Expect to see more than one SEC game on ABC — yep, doubleheaders on broadcast TV.

… Disney isn’t spending $300+ million to acquire a single game each week because it wants that game.

It’s envisioning a 12-hour, multi-network, linear-and-streaming, everywhere-you-turn blast every Saturday for 15 Saturdays, plus whatever it can leverage from the land of ‘It Just Means More’ for the remaining 350 days.

And that’s a problem for the other conferences.

If the SEC gobbles up more ESPN and ABC broadcast windows during prime Eastern/Central viewing hours, there are fewer opportunities for the Pac-12.

And therein lies the real genius of Larry Scott — not in actually getting a great media rights deal for the Pac-12, but in convincing the Pac-12 presidents that pot of gold is always around the corner.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

24 responses to “The further adventures of Larry Scott, genius

  1. “Because the SEC isn’t moving to ESPN just for the money.” I immediately assumed tongue in cheek here, and of course what was really being said was “Because the SEC isn’t moving to ESPN just for the money–its moving to ESPN for more exposure, which in turn means even more money”

    Because when they say it isn’t about the money, they are right. Its about LOTS more money.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. sniffer

    So, do these funding inequities between conferences eventually lead to new rounds of expansion? Will we see the super conferences once talked about or will the status quo kill the PAC12 and maybe BIG12? Not as entities, but competitively.


  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    You can’t overcome small population and a bad time zone.


    • Bulldog Joe

      Waiting for that first 11:00pm/midnight SEC home game…my money is on A&M or one of the Mississippi schools.


  4. DugLite

    Off topic, but since ESPN will own all SEC media rights won’t they be able to publish game times and channels before the season begins? This is the only plus I can see from the SEC having one media rights partner.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ASEF

    Larry sits on the largest media markets by far in his conference footprint. Seattle, San Fran, LA, plus a host of top 50 markets.

    And yet Larry is literally choking the life out of his conference.


    • Macallanlover

      Small oversight, the Left Coast may have a lot people breathing, but they aren’t really into CFB. Consider that Birmingham is the #1 market for CFB ratings. I think Atlanta is #2, and can be considered more a pro market.


  6. I’m assuming that, with the timing of the expiration of other deals, CBS is anticipating making a play for another conference at a slightly lower rate


  7. JCDawg83

    Lack of tv money isn’t holding the Pac 12 back, lack of fan interest in college football in that part of the country is. When one of your marquee, historically great programs, USC, can’t draw 50,000 fans, more tv money isn’t gong to drastically change things. In spite of what ESPN wants, college football is still a regional sport and the PNW region doesn’t care much about it.


    • Tony Barnfart

      Agreed and maybe USC not drawing 50k in the hard seats is a leading indicator of why they aren’t being offered more TV money. (nobody out there seems to give a shit)


  8. Huntindawg

    You know what might be great about this? Because Disney is betting so much on the SEC, Disney might demand better games every week. Maybe that leads to a required nine or maybe even 10 conference game schedule. And better matchups out of conference as well.


    • Tony Barnfart

      I’d rather go to the 3perm-5rotators model, either with faux divisions re-constituted annually or no divisions. The top teams are adequately filling out compelling schedules with non-conference power variety over the next decade. Why hamstring it with more obligatory games when the 3-5 model will let you see the current West teams twice in 4 years anyway.


    • Tony Barnfart

      How would the 4 East teams with permanent ACC opponents at season’s end have good out of conference games if 11 of the slots are permanently inked.


  9. Charles

    “Told ya.”

    -The Guy Who First Said “The South will rise again!!!”


  10. FlyingPeakDawg

    Larry “Manipulate the Replay Booth” Scott should figure out by now to pick a team (Oregon / USC) and be sure they go undefeated and get a seat in the playoffs. The SEC did in past years (looking at you Alabama…)


    • ASEF

      Alabama wins almost almost of their SEC games by a huge margin. They’ve had some huge calls go against them in the few tight SEC games they’ve faced.

      I honestly have zero clue where this comes from. The worst call in the SEC this year may have been the Cager catch replay against Florida. Are SEC officials homers for Georgia now?

      It’s competency, not conspiracy.


      • JCDawg83

        SEC office is in the pocket of whatever team is in the NC running. When Auburn had $cam and was rolling toward a NC game berth, the SEC made sure no pesky bad calls derailed their season. When Bama was the undisputed king of the conference and an apparent lock for the NC game or playoff, the SEC made sure the calls went their way. Georgia is starting to get a little of the SEC love now that we are in the conversation for the playoff every year. Playoff money is big money and championship teams bring lots of eyes on tv. The SEC office is not going to do anything to intentionally knock its top teams out of the playoff picture.


  11. Classic City Canine

    So what are the chances that the AD uses some of that extra TV money to get rid of student fees, and freeze or lower ticket and parking prices?