TFW more isn’t enough

There are times when I wonder if anybody involved in college football broadcast deals knows what the fuck they’re doing.

One of those broadcast networks, CBS, has left many puzzled. The network has one of the best TV packages in American sports history, owning the SEC’s top game for about $55 million a year in a deal that ends next season. In 2020, the network pulled out of a bidding war with ESPN in negotiations to extend the package. And now, two years later, CBS is paying roughly $50 million more for the Big Ten’s secondary game than ESPN is for the SEC’s top game?

Those within the college sports and TV industry say CBS misread the market during SEC negotiations, not expecting media rights to soar in the same way college football coaching salaries have elevated so quickly.

“The SEC is the best product outside of the NFL,” says one conference administrator. “You’ve paid more for a second- and possibly third-tier Big Ten product and you are going against the stuff you gave away?”

Through the years, many believe CBS’s relationship with the SEC deteriorated. Even when the league expanded to add Texas A&M and Missouri, the network refused to increase its payment to the conference despite it being ghastly low. “I don’t think there is any doubt that Mike [Slive] and Greg [Sankey] were not happy with CBS. They wanted more,” says a former conference administrator who knows the situation well.

Part of me wants to believe that CBS pulled out not because of misreading the market, but because Mickey made it abundantly clear there wasn’t any bid figure it could offer that wouldn’t be topped.  But this is college football we’re talking about here, so it’s prudent not to discount the element of stupidity too much.

That being said, it’s rich that Slive, after cutting shitty TV deal on top of shitty TV deal (and leading the conference into a poorly thought out round of expansion to escape the consequences of that), grew peeved with what he wrought.



Filed under SEC Football

24 responses to “TFW more isn’t enough

  1. I think it’s both/and. CBS thought they would be able to trade on the brand they had helped the SEC build and could keep the top game at a discounted price. Mickey made it clear he wanted to be the exclusive broadcast platform for SEC sports especially football and would pay up for it.

    At the end of the day, money and the SEC Network partnership with the Mouse won out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mg4life0331

    I think you’re correct about Mickey saying we will just outbid your.


  3. And yet, Sankey has left over $50mm on the table with ESPN.


  4. Remember the Quincy

    I have listened to far more CFB podcasts lately than I’d like to admit to, so I can’t recall exactly where I heard it, but I was listening to someone who is a media/broadcasting journalist who made the postulation that your theory is all but 100% accurate, Senator. Mickey told CBS it was going to outbid it no matter what.


  5. 33stover

    Senator, I discussed this with DawgStats yesterday. Reports are that the Big10 deals will be around $1.2B PER YEAR, between Fox, NBC, and CBS. What is ESPN paying the SEC in total per year, not just the $300M prime game deal? If it isn’t a lot then it would appear that Sankey made another bad deal, especially being locked in for twice as long at the Big10 deals. The SI article doesn’t say.


    • I don’t know the exact number, but keep in mind two details: (1) the conference goes from $50 million a year for the 3:30 game to $300 million and (2) the deal gets revised whenever Oklahoma and Texas join the conference.

      I doubt the SEC will be missing many meals, in other words.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Holiday Inn Bagman

        Last SEC tax filing had TV/radio revenue at $588MM, so ~$42MM per school which would increase to roughly $60MM when new deal kicks in. No doubt that’s getting topped off when the Horns and Sooners come into the fold as the Senator said.

        Note these figures are lower than what you’ve probably seen for the league distribution because that figure includes march madness, CFP payments, bowl money, and probably some other stuff. We’re a long ass way from the paltry $200M in revenue the league had back in 2010.


  6. munsoning

    Man, I’ll miss Gary’s smug, smirking disdain for the Dawgs.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. godawgs1701

    It’s an unfortunate side effect to the ridiculous mismanagement of college football that we all have to be experts on TV broadcast deals and backroom dealing and content creation – and I say this as a broadcast news grad of UGA and a former TV news reporter. I’m happy that we’re almost to the part of the year where we get to talk about games again and not media rights fees for a while.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Despite the bluster from Buckeye fans, I still believe that CBS will regret making the Big10 move. CBS probably believes that they built the nationwide following for SEC sports, but I think it’s the sheer number of SEC teams who have been in the national championship discussion year after year for the past 20+ years (UGA, Bama, UF, UT, LSU) that has made sportswriters sit up and pay attention. Who in NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, etc. (biggest TV markets) is going to give a flying rat’s ass to watch anyone not named Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State?


    • I don’t give a flying rat’s ass to watch anOSU, Michigan or Ped State now. Just because they’ll have the best opening music won’t change that for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, you are not from the 36.6 Parallel north, so you can’t understand. CBS Headquarters are in NYC and they know that the North has animosity toward the South. Being from the North, I never cared about the Southern college ball until I matriculated at UGA. Well, then it was all SEC for me. Regional chauvinism at work.


        • Not like they aren’t dumb anyway.


        • I understand that. If CBS thinks the nation is going to switch on their B1G game at 3:30 over the SEC game on ESPN, they are totally kidding themselves. Maybe they get a lift in Chicago, Philly, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, but most of the rest of the eastern half of the country will be watching the SEC game.


          • And do those folks care about college football. My friends in the northeast could not care less about college football. It’s all about the pros to them. They’ve had access to Big10 football forever and never watched it before; why should they change that now?


          • The change was all about ratings and viewership. ESPN is as tired of losing all those viewers who switched channels after Gameday to watch the big SEC game on CBS.


  9. Dumb shit in college football:
    1. Huge buyouts for losing coaches.
    2. Signing long term TV deals that will be bargains in a couple of years (here’s looking at you, ACC)
    3. Saying Mullen is/was a great coach.
    4. 21st century tailgating/driving in Athens.
    5. Killing tradition for the almighty dollar.

    Feel free to add to this list.