Maybe this is Mickey’s clever way of weaning college football fans off their regional passions.
Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil
ESPN, the network and self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports, is on this Earth for one reason and one reason only: to provide a telecast and entertainment in whatever sport they are paying millions and often billions of dollars to broadcast. ESPN also wants to be in the assumption business, meaning those at the network think they know what viewers want.
On Saturday, a day made specifically for college football, ESPN thought it would be wise to split screen games with Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and his quest to tie the American League record for home runs in a season. Does anyone else see the issue here? The reason you didn’t see that on Friday night is because the game against the Boston Red Sox was nationally televised and the network isn’t allowed to break into coverage.
College football fans, especially the teams whose games were split screen, don’t care about Judge or baseball, at least not while their team is playing. If a consumer wanted to watch the Yankees, there are plenty of other ways to do that, but the network must think people don’t own smartphones, can’t stream, or go to a bar to watch if they really wanted to see history.
ESPN had the same issue with the its Monday Night Football telecast, assuming that fans wanted to be updated on the other game with that dreaded split screen. Only when Clemson and Wake Forest went to overtime Saturday did they use some common sense and update Judge’s chase instead of breaking into live action.
It’s a matter of when, not if. Mickey don’t care. And the saddest thing will be watching Greg Sankey ignore it.
Tell me you don’t understand the SEC’s scheduling ineptitude without saying you don’t understand the SEC’s scheduling ineptitude.
This is what Hayes says is behind the conference’s nefarious scheme to have Georgia avoid facing off against Texas A&M until 2024:
Why, you ask? Because college football is expanding and aligning before our very eyes. It’s the SEC/ESPN vs. the Big Ten/Fox/CBS/NBC — and they’re fighting for every last viewer.
You think the SEC is just going to gift Fox a game with what could be 2-time defending national champion Georgia? Or gift CBS the hype-filled and much anticipated Georgia at Texas A&M game?
Not on your life.
“That’s a great theory,” an industry source said. “Would it surprise me? Not really. Would I blame either (the SEC or Big Ten) if they did that? Never. This is bare-knuckle fighting now.”
This is bigger than Georgia traveling to College Station, everyone. This is about protecting games and building brands and not inadvertently helping your rival do the same.
Besides, if the expanded Playoff doesn’t happen in 2024 and Texas and Oklahoma don’t leave the Big 12 early as part of the deal, that opposite division rotation will magically turn to — tada! — Georgia at Texas A&M.
Just in time for ESPN’s first season as the exclusive media rights holder of the SEC.
By Jove, Holmes, you’ve cracked the case!
Now if Matt can find the smoking gun that proves the conference knew back in 2012 that Mickey’s first season holding exclusive broadcast rights would be in 2024, he might really be on to something. On the other hand, he might consider making Occam’s razor his friend.
And quite frankly, it leaves something to be desired.
Dawg fans not traveling to Athens Saturday, you didn’t really want to watch this game anyway, did ‘ya?
Gag me with a spoon.
I haven’t watched GameDay in ages, so it’s no great loss (besides, I’ll be on the way up to Athens). But giving three or four hours to show Tooth Nation in all its ragged glory seems like a questionable, maybe even tasteless, decision.
What’s the over/under on the number of “We want ‘Bama/UGA” signs in the crowd?
If you watched the broadcast, they posed a trivia question with the premise that Georgia signed one transfer player this offseason. Georgia, in fact, didn’t sign any players out of the portal this offseason.
The formerly-maligned Stetson Bennett went 25-of-31 for 368 yards, becoming the first Georgia quarterback in 25 years to complete 80 percent of his passes in a game, per ESPN.
Greyson Lambert, Mickey hardly knew ye.
I don’t know if you caught this chain of events yesterday, but they’re of interest.
It is possible that the new Big 12 commissioner is a shrewder cat than I expected. Of course this is the perfect time for his conference to haggle with Mickey. They’ll never have more leverage trying to squeeze financial concessions out of ESPN than they do right now playing the Okie/Texas card. That he’s willing to suck in his ego and do what’s best for his conference… well, there’s more than one conference commissioner we can’t say that about.
Yes, because that’s what real college football fans care about — which conference gets paid the most. It’s kind of like following recruiting, except with dollar signs.
Seriously, it shouldn’t matter to us as it does to college presidents (even though it directly impacts us in more than one way). Except for one thing. And for that, you need to read this refresher on the SEC’s history of negotiating shitty broadcast deals ($$).
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has never had a chance to sell all his league’s rights, and the SEC hasn’t had a chance since 2008 to use the leverage that comes with having all its inventory available. Sankey took over in 2015 for Mike Slive. At the time, the league was in the middle of a 15-year deal with CBS that paid $55 million annually so the network could broadcast the best SEC game each Saturday. Disney/ESPN owned the rights to the other games, but the terms of that deal had changed.
The original deal that Slive and consultant Chuck Gerber forged in 2008 called for Disney to pay the league about $2 billion over 15 years starting in 2009. The terms of that deal changed after the SEC added Missouri and Texas A&M. The SEC partnered with Disney to create the SEC Network. The new deal between Disney and the SEC would extend to 2034…
… Knowing networks were counting their pennies ahead of the next NFL media rights deal — which was finalized in 2021 — the SEC decided to see what its best game of each week might fetch. The answer? A reported $300 million from Disney in a deal locked down in 2020. In 2024, the best SEC game would move from CBS to Disney-owned ABC. By agreeing to the deal, the SEC cast its lot entirely with Disney and also re-synced its rights. For 2034, the SEC can put its entire rights package on the market.
That deal likely will reset the market, but that is a long time from now. How long? Because the Big Ten did seven-year deals with Fox, CBS and NBC, it will have sold its rights again before the SEC gets another crack. [Emphasis added.]
I’m not suggesting Jim Delany is a genius, but one way in which he clearly ran rings around Slive and Sankey was in reading the broadcast market. He was a shrewder Jed Clampett than the SEC commissioners.
And why should that matter to us (again other than that we’re the ones ultimately paying for it)? Because of Slive’s and Sankey’s piecemeal approach, we’ve been saddled with a poorly thought out scheduling mess in the wake of the last round of conference expansion that was driven, at least in significant part, by Slive looking for an out from a shitty broadcast deal he’d cut. Fast forward to now and it’s hard to see much progress in that regard.
As the SEC staggers around trying to figure its way forward on a deal it’s locked into for over a decade, just keep that in mind as Greg Sankey assures you he’s got this scheduling thing nailed down.
ESPN is out at the Big Ten.
So, CBS is trading a 3:30 slot with the SEC for a 3:30 slot with the Big Ten, eh? Here’s the weird part:
All I can figure is Mickey told CBS that they would top any offer in order to get exclusive rights to the entire SEC broadcast package. Damn.
By the way, this has to be good news for the Pac-12, doesn’t it? ESPN’s got money to spend and the conference has got late night TV slots to offer. Sounds like a match to me.
Could it be an accident of location?
Late-night West Coast games are referred to as occurring the “Fourth Window” — after 10 p.m. ET. As much ribbing as the Pac-12 has received for those games (#Pac12AfterDark), there is no way around them. They are valuable programming that fills late-night TV slots with guaranteed ratings.
That’s why the late window is key for the Pac-12. It may be why ESPN could remain engaged with the conference beyond Thursday’s reported expiration of an exclusive 30-day negotiating window. Without the Pac-12, ESPN may not have late-night football. Fox is already set there with its Mountain West contract.
One industry course speculated: If ESPN doesn’t get a piece of the Big Ten, does it go all-in with whatever is left of the Pac-12?
“An alternative to the Mountain West” is a helluva sales pitch, fellas.