Is ESPN stealing underpants?

While I’m on the subject of things that don’t make sense to me, here’s another.

Officials from the ACC and Pac-12 are discussing a broadcasting partnership with ESPN that would bring together the two Power 5 leagues from opposite coasts for a mutually beneficial relationship, sources tell Sports Illustrated.

The proposal, still in its infancy, heavily involves the ESPN-owned ACC Network. Under the plan, the ACC Network—or a renamed entity combining the two leagues—will have exclusive rights to broadcast Pac-12 games to West Coast households through ESPN cable providers. The agreement is not a merger or consolidation of the leagues but is instead built around a media rights agreement with the worldwide leader in sports—an effort to clap back at the Pac-12’s loss of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten.

While the joint move could feature marquee nonconference matchups from the West and East Coasts—think Clemson-Washington or Miami-Oregon—the primary reason behind the partnership is the TV property. This would replace the failed Pac-12 Network with a reliable provider that can reach millions of homes out west.

“The TV Property”?  What?  The reason these two conferences are in the shape they’re in relative to the Big Ten and the SEC is because their broadcast rights are worth significantly less.  How exactly is giving East Coast viewers an extra serving of Pac-12 football, and vice versa, supposed to ameliorate that?  I know synergy’s been a popular buzz word in marketing classes for decades, but this strikes me not so much as synergy as it’s something South Park’s Underpants Gnomes might cook up.

The part I really don’t get here is Mickey’s.  They’re smarter than the Clampetts running the conferences, so what are they seeing here that I’m not?  The only thing I can come up with is that the ACC Network is a bigger money loser than I thought, so if they can buy additional rights cheaply enough, it might make some sense.  But wouldn’t it make more financial sense to help blow the ACC up and shepherd a few teams the SEC’s way?

31 Comments

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

31 responses to “Is ESPN stealing underpants?

  1. akascuba

    Getting a few additional East West match ups on the cheap seems to be the money play for additional programming. Oregon versus Clemson, Miami against Washington or Utah and FSU sounds better than most inter league match up either have to offer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. 81Dog

    Nothing plus nothing equals… Nothing.

    ESPN is just locking down cheap content it doesn’t own. The ACC is tied up for 14 more years, why not throw them some token cash to add west coast content? The hole gets deeper for the programs, of course, but Disney still makes a profit on mediocrity.

    Wait until they own it all. The price to you goes up. You are the lobster in a pot of cool water, but they have their hand on the burner control.

    Liked by 3 people

    • HirsuteDawg

      Got rid of cable for the same reason – may be that I’ll do broadcast games like I do going to the actual thing – pick a few I really want to see (and can afford) vs season tickets.

      Like

    • classiccitycanine

      ESPN’s drive to control as much college content as possible should not be overlooked. I think there’s an interesting monopoly discussion there, especially since they are under the Disney umbrella with Mickey’s money to back them up. I would support some anti-trust action to break ESPN away from Disney because I think the networks are driving these unhealthy conference realignment rounds.

      Like

  3. Down Island Way

    As in the past, the bean counters are praying addition to their conference will cause some of their financial pain to subside…not gonna’ happen fella’s!

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  4. Given the fact I’ve never had the need to switch to the P12N on my TV and may have stopped on the ACCN once or twice for a total of 10 minutes, I guess if Mickey wants to pay them to do it, I’ll keep on not watching. I don’t get why ESPN would want to blow up the ACC unless it’s to combine the operations they have in Charlotte.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because Clemson and FSU, for example, would be far more valuable to Mickey were they playing in the SEC.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Would they really? I guess I just don’t understand the streaming world (or just see it through my lens). Would I watch Clemson/Alabama or Florida State/LSU? Maybe if I didn’t have anything better to do. If the ACC football schools would be a net add to the SEC rights with Mickey, I could see it. If it’s distribution-neutral, it doesn’t make sense from scheduling standpoint. Still, if you’re Clemson or FSU, it has to be a net positive when it comes to the ACC GOR buyout. All of that depends on what the ACC is willing to accept.

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        • jcdawg83

          If the whole championship formula/system somehow changes and suddenly the playoff involves 4 or 8 or however many teams they decide on that are the “best” teams with the most impressive seasons regardless of conference champion status then Clemson will have some interest in jumping to the SEC or B1G. Until then, Clemson has the easiest cakewalk in the country to the playoff and I don’t see them wanting to give that up. More tv money would be nice to have but it isn’t like Clemson has IPTAY members standing on street corners with homemade signs now.

          Last season, Georgia was in the playoff because Clemson had 2 regular season losses. Had Clemson gone undefeated in the regular season (pretend they didn’t play Georgia for this example) and been ACC champs, the playoff would have likely been Bama, Clemson, Michigan and Cincinnati.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I could make the case that Clemson with only 1 loss to Georgia may have gotten in as a 1 loss conference champion.

            I agree if Clemson can be in as a conference champion in the Almost Competitive Conference, why move unless the money is overwhelming?

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            • jcdawg83

              You are probably correct. ESPN would have loved another chance at a Clemson/Alabama matchup in their invitational tournament.

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            • Guys, if you think Clemson’s gonna be happy watching South Carolina rake in twice as much revenue from TV as it does, I’ve still got that Hahira oceanfront property I can let you have at a good price.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Is the SEC going to make the invite? Is ESPN going to ease the pain associated with the GOR buyout to make it a net positive for Clemson to jump? Will the ACC sue and drag this out of Clemson and others decide to challenge?

                Liked by 1 person

            • sundiatagaines

              There’s also the distinct possibility that the SEC/B1G set the terms of the future playoff and the ACC champ is not guaranteed in. The winner of the ACC in 2027 may garner the same respect as the winner of the Sun Belt today.

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            • PTC DAWG

              Cincy would have been out.

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  5. bucketheridge

    Let’s not forget that this would be a Pac12 without USC.

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  6. Ran A

    Senator, I think you hit it with your last paragraph. They are shoring up network space at a relatively cheap price, while limiting Fox’s inventory to the Big 10 and Big 12 (or whatever they will call themselves).

    Like

  7. RangerRuss

    There goes the neighborhood. Gnomes on the lawn. Underpants on the clothesline alongside orange jumpsuits.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    If the MAC ever holds out for more $$ for those Tuesday and Wednesday night games, espn will have the PAC-ACC ready to replace them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Harold Miller

    This sounds like they’re passing out free champagne of the Titanic.

    Like

  10. The only thing that makes sense is to potentially keep the 2 weaker conferences alive to use as leverage in negotiations with the SEC and Big10. The problem with monopolization and saturation is eventually you start arguing or negotiating against yourself…I think ESPN is hedging here to prevent that with the 2 mega conferences.

    Like

  11. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I never knew about the underpants gnomes before today. After a quick internet search I am much more aware, and it is this sort of cultural education that keeps me clicking. It’s also a useful cultural reference in too many legal situations, but I digress. Thanks, Senator.

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  12. 69Dawg

    As I said in my last post post, ND controls it all. If they stick with the current ACC deal ESPN will be happy. If ND goes into the B1G then ESPN will declare the ACC deal DOA and the Media Rights for the ACC will be worth ZERO. Goodbye ACC. Clemson has about as much chance of going to the B1G as I do going to law school again at 75. The B1G would take North Carolina, Virginia or maybe The U, but the rest can pound sand.

    Like