Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

When ESPN’s problem is our problem

This is what you call a negative feedback cycle.

Here’s the irony.

The faster college football has become, the slower it gets.

Offenses are increasingly trying to quicken the pace of play, rushing to the line of scrimmage to snap the ball before defenses can adjust. The tactic has resulted in longer games because the quicker drives equate to more possessions which equate to more TV breaks.

Got that?  Pace equals more TV breaks, which means longer games, which is a problem – not for fans, as the writer suggests, as much as it is for the very broadcasters scheduling those breaks.

Which suggests a solution that as obvious as it is likely to be ignored.  Instead, we’re likely to hear this kind of stupidity:

College football needs to follow the NFL model and not stop the clock for first downs, except in the final two minutes. A shorter halftime would work as well. If a 12-minute break is good enough for professional players, no reason why it needs to be 20 minutes at the college level.

There will be resistance because many college fans like the differences between the pros and the amateurs, but as long as teams continue to quicken the pace, changes need to be made for the good of the game.

Absolutely.  Because everyone knows that being more like the NFL is good for the college football game.


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

That’s what they’ve got all those channels for.

Okay, I admit any story with the header “How ESPN plans to deal with college football games running longer” sounds potentially ominous, but the WWL’s approach turns out to be fairly benign.

For a game that started on a linear network running long with an outcome not in doubt, ESPN will often finish that game on WatchESPN/ESPN3 and a lesser linear network. That’s what happened with the Ole Miss-Alabama game. The Georgia-South Carolina game leading into that game was running long and the outcome was no longer in doubt. So ESPN placed the Georgia-South Carolina game on both ESPN3 and SEC Network Alternate, a non 24/7 sports channel that often handles overflow games. They also promoted the switch on social media and on a bug on the screen. While it’s not a perfect solution for fans—there is none given divided loyalties—it’s an attempt to serve fans.

So, they’re not stupid.  And I applaud this:

What about moving to a 12, 4 and 8 start time scenario in order to end the spillover? Not going to happen. Ben-Hanan said ESPN wants to put on as many games as possible so they won’t be doing windows with just three games a day. Studio programming is also not going to draw nearly as well as a game broadcast. “We will put on as many games until fans tell us they don’t like it and we have never seen fans say that,” he said.

If the price is hunting around for where the last five minutes of a thirty-point blowout are being shown, I can live with that, for sure.

Of course, let’s not make Mickey out to be a saint here.  Part of what’s pumping up the jam is “… the in-game commercial inventory that has inched up in newer rights deals to help justify the price.”  Yeah, I think we’ve noticed.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

ESPN haz a sad.

Hey, who’s this “we” you speak of, anyway?


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, ESPN Is The Devil


ESPN has discovered the wide, wide world of sports gambling and the people running college football ain’t too happy about it.

“I don’t think those are things that ought to be a part of the presentation of college football, but maybe that’s the environment in which we find ourselves,” said Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby, adding that he was “quite sure that all of (the Big 12’s presidents and athletic directors) feel as I do that it’s inappropriate.”

So what are they gonna do about it?

About what you’d expect.

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, while noting his athletic department’s sponsorship deals with local casinos (which do not have sports books), said he’s concerned.

“Anytime there’s anything to do with sports gambling and college sports, understandably that will be something I would hope at some point will be discussed,” Byrne said.

Now there’s a guy who’s going to bring to real gravitas to the conversation.

“There is an existing concern about the inexorable march toward gambling being more and more central to sport,” Sankey told USA TODAY Sports. “It has clearly gotten more momentum based on messaging out of the NBA last year. We have to be mindful of the realities of the culture developing around us.”

Translation:  at some point in time, it’s gonna become a source of revenue the SEC can’t ignore.  And it’ll likely come from something like this:

Though it appears on the surface to be unrelated, several athletic directors connected the apparent new emphasis on sports betting with ESPN’s business relationships with companies like DraftKings and FanDuel, daily online fantasy sports businesses that promise cash prizes to winners. Last spring, according to multiple reports, ESPN’s parent company, Walt Disney Co., agreed to invest $250 million in DraftKings, but then backed out, apparently because of concerns that the enterprise too closely resembled gambling. Although the deal never came to fruition, DraftKings is spending several hundred million dollars in advertising over the next two years with ESPN, according to Sports Business Journal.

Although the bulk of the fantasy sports business — traditional or the daily version — has been centered on professional sports, college football is a growing portion of the business. The idea that fantasy sports would use college players’ names and performances to determine winners and payouts concerns athletic directors. Among other reasons, they’re concerned college athletes might be enticed to play the daily games — perhaps choosing themselves.

“We’ve been wrestling with all the issues around DraftKings and FanDuel,” Bowlsby said, “which I don’t think anybody can suggest isn’t gambling.”

But that’s exactly what ESPN and businesses like DraftKings and FanDuel suggest. Bowlsby noted that the Big 12’s TV contracts prohibit advertisements for gambling, other than for state-authorized lotteries, “but our television partners assert that it (fantasy sports games) isn’t gambling.”

After they cut that first check to your conference, you will too, Bob.  Bet on it.


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

“The SEC has that inherent advantage that if Alabama or Auburn is playing the Little Sisters of the Poor, people are still going to watch in huge numbers.”

So you’d pay two or three bucks a month for the SEC Network.  But would you pay $10?


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the craziness of the SEC football fan.

And how crazy is that?  Well, put it this way

The majority of the SEC Network’s carriage deals aren’t expected to come up for renewal soon, but ESPN declined to provide terms of the contract except to say they were long-term. If the network can continue to prove its worth, Nelson doesn’t think it’s outlandish for the SEC’s in-market subscriber fee to jump from $1.30/$1.40 to $2.00 or $3.00. A jump of that magnitude could give the network more than a billion dollars annually on simply subscriber fees.

“I would have said it was crazy two years ago,” Nelson said. “But when they were so successful at $1.30, I’m sure they are thinking big.”

If 30 some-odd million subscribers are willing to pony up three bucks a month for the privilege of having Finebaum and Phyllis from Mulga drop into their dens five days a week, that’s crazy enough for me.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Some of Danny Kannell’s best friends are SECish.

Including his former offensive coordinator

Q: Your offensive coordinator at FSU, Mark Richt, has enjoyed success at Georgia but hasn’t won the SEC since 2005. Could you be critical of him?

A: “That one is probably the most challenging. A lot of people say I’m a homer for Florida State, but Mark Richt is a guy that I root for. I consider him a friend, and I have a lot of respect for him as a coach. I have a good enough relationship with him where if I say he has to do better at Georgia or else his job is on the line, I think he would understand that is my job to do.

“I think he’s one of the most underrated coaches in the SEC, if not the whole country, but he’s always having to deal with so many expectations. He has consistently won there, and I would challenge anyone at Georgia to go out and find someone better than Mark Richt. Does it really get old having 10-win seasons?”

There’s that old “find someone better” theme again.  Sure seem to hear that a lot.  Funny how it’s only the repetition of Richt as underachiever that’s credible with certain folks, though.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football