Category Archives: College Football

They gave you the best years of their lives, Mickey.

Brian Cook looks at my recent post about ESPN’s future in an unbundled world, takes an inferred point from my post and makes it quite specific:

ESPN is currently subsidized by a lot of people who do not care about sports. When the internet is television, that goes away—and it does not necessarily get replaced one for one.

This is why adding Maryland and especially Rutgers was folly. In the near future the only people who get the Big Ten Network are going to be people interested in the Big Ten. They will no longer be able to snatch a dollar from the pocket of every cable subscriber in New Jersey who is a Tulane man. This is going to happen in ten years, at which point whatever short-term revenue gain will be spent, Jim Delany will have his bonus, and the Big Ten will be stuck with a couple of teams nobody cares about.

It’s not just the Big Ten, and it’s not just being stuck with the aftermath of making questionable expansion decisions.  Every P5 conference is guilty of the latter and the Pac-12 is even more heavily invested in its broadcast network than Delany’s conference is.  What do these guys prepare for when their business model is blown to the skies?

Judging from their track record, we won’t find out the answer to that question until it’s already happened.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

Bruce Feldman has an interesting Q&A with Justine Gubar, a journalist at ESPN, who authored a book about fan behavior in the social media era.

We live in a world where it’s easier than ever to be an anonymous flaming asshole, so it’s no real surprise that collegiate sports isn’t an exception.  Still, some of what Gubar relates is unsettling.

Q: What’s the most appalling thing you learned about online fanaticism while working on your book?

Gubar: The graphic rape and death threats uniquely experienced by women. Fans go after women in really disturbing ways. The OSU fans were angry about the stories I was pursuing yet they uniformly singled out my appearance in their insults. I’m not sure what one had to do with another. Look at the hideous reaction directed at movie star and Kentucky hoops fan Ashley Judd for comments she made during this year’s NCAA Final Four tournament. Read what Judd had to say about her experience here.

Trolling and internet machismo.  The weird thing is the belief that these kind of people have that they’re able to change the story if they’re only persistent enough.

Q: Last year there was a lot of talk about #FSUTwitter and its role in trying to deter media from how it covered the Seminoles’ off-field issues. How closely did you follow FSU Twitter’s response to the Jameis Winston coverage? What was your reaction?

Gubar: I saw several of my ESPN colleagues as well as journalists from other entities endure heavy harassment for their reporting. I guess I was sort of amused because I don’t know many journalists who would back down from their reporting because of anonymous strangers lobbing childish insults at them. Yes, the trolling is disturbing and it can be a burden to put in the effort to avoid the stream of nastiness, but often the defensiveness of fans is a telltale sign for reporters that this is a story that needs to be followed up on.

Pathetic.  The cliché about some folks needing to get a life may be just that, but it doesn’t make it any less true.

53 Comments

Filed under College Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

The only thing worse than playing a few extra bowl games…

… is not playing them.

5 Comments

Filed under College Football

And I will strike down with great vengeance…

I don’t know if the football gods are trying to send a message with this, but I were, say, Steve Patterson, I might want to make sure my insurance premiums are paid in full.

Just sayin’.

16 Comments

Filed under College Football

There are only so many games to go around.

David Wonderlich surveys the field and concludes that we may be on the verge of seeing the guarantees paid for cupcake games stalling, or even coming down.  They’ve got a pretty tall perch to fall from, that’s for sure.

The site broke the news last week that Alabama lined up Fresno for a game in 2017. Bama will pay out $1.4 million for the game, which is about the going rate for MWC teams these days. Alabama payed $1.5 million to Colorado State in 2013, while Auburn’s 2014 and 2015 games against San Jose State cost $1.5 million and $1.6 million, respectively. Other leagues can still cost a lot too. Southern Miss got $1.4 million from Alabama last year, while Florida paid $1 million to ULL and $1.25 million to Bowling Green in 2012. These games are getting expensive.

As he points out, it’s just as easy for a P5 school to beat a FCS opponent as it is a mid-major, and a heckuva lot cheaper.  The problem with that approach these days, as Baylor can attest, is that a school runs the risk of a scheduling downgrade by the selection committee come playoff time.  So that’s helping to drive up the cost of mid-majors’ guarantee fees in the current market.

But as he goes on to note, there are trends going the other way now, as conferences, again with the national playoffs in mind, are beginning to dictate that their member schools play at least one OOC game against a P5 team.  Add to that conferences that are going to nine-game conference schedules and you begin to see how the market is slowly moving from a seller’s one to a buyer’s one.

David writes, “With a noticeable drop in demand, simple economics would predict a fall in prices.”  We all know that college football and simple economics don’t always fit together, but I think there’s something to this.  Especially if you believe, as I do, that two more things will come:  (1) playoff expansion and (2) conference expansion.  The one benefit, if you want to call it that, to diluting the importance of the regular season with an enlarged postseason is that there’s less risk involved in beefing up the schedule.  And when the P5s add their sixteenth members (or the Big 12 matches up with its name), conference schedules will have to grow to accommodate that.

Long term, the math may not be too daunting in terms of how much schools  are willing to shell out for a game.  There’s so much money now, they can afford it.  But it’s the total number of cupcake games they buy that will likely really drop.

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Filed under College Football

Current Fulmer Cup standings

If you thought LSU leads, that’s because you have a short memory and forgot about Auburn’s April.

Georgia, believe it or not, currently has zero points, which means (1) either Georgia is recruiting higher character kids; (2) Richt has managed to run off every troublemaker in the program; or (3) we’re just waiting for this summer’s shoe to drop.

And, no, those three aren’t mutually exclusive possibilities.

24 Comments

Filed under College Football, Crime and Punishment

“… we don’t want to be standing here 10 to 20 years from now and looking around and wondering where our fans went.”

Hey, everybody! It’s a study!

A comprehensive report, “Student Attendance at Collegiate Sporting Events,” commissioned by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) and the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and released Friday can help schools focus their efforts to engage students.

Let’s see what it says!

Among the key findings:

— Average student affinity was 7.1 out of 10, with 81% of students attending at least one live sporting event.

— Interest in the sport, game time, ticket price, opponent and team record were the most influential in students’ determination whether to attend a sporting event.

— Students indicated their favorite parts of the game-day experience were watching live game action (23%), in-stadium atmosphere (17%) and tailgating (15%). Of overall respondents, 28% chose stadium and concession food as the most enjoyable part of attending home games, with that option ranking first among Power Five and FBS schools.

— Of students who follow the team on Facebook, 72% attended three or more home football games. Of those who didn’t, 44% attended three or more games. Facebook followers of teams were 63% more likely to attend three or more home games than students who didn’t follow the team on Facebook, and that trend held for other social media. Twitter (61%), Snapchat (47%) and Instagram (48%) made students more likely to attend three or more home games.

— Students who said WiFi connectivity was not important in their decision to attend games did so at a higher rate than students who said it was.

— Although 67% of students agreed watching games is “more comfortable at home,” it scored lower than 2.5 on a scale of 5 on how likely it would be to prevent game attendance.

— Personal errands, hanging out with friends and family and using the internet were the biggest competing interests in deciding whether students attended three or more games.

— Nearly a quarter of respondents reported leaving before a game is 75% complete. Potential incentives for them to stay for the entire game included free T-shirts, a sponsored post-game party, loyalty points and concession discounts, in that order. Loyalty points and meet and greets with players yielded the strongest results.

Stadium and concession food more enjoyable than tailgating?  Sounds like Michael Adams’ dream come true.

If I were an AD, those last two points would be my biggest concerns.  When you’re duking it out with taking the dry cleaning in to get ’em in the door and free T-shirts to get ’em to stay all game, you’ve got problems with marketing a compelling product.

Then again, why worry so much?  It’s probably something that can be fixed with better WiFi and a sixteen-team national playoff.

18 Comments

Filed under College Football