Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

The price you pay your broadcast partner

This is not a pretty picture.

Screenshot_2020-03-11 College football must innovate as FBS attendance dips for sixth straight year to lowest since 1996

As you can imagine, there is a lot of flopping around concerning solutions to stem the decline, most of them tired, like better wi-fi.  There are also duh suggestions, like winning and beefing up home schedules (great, if you’re a P5 athletic director who can cut deals with your peers; not so great if you’re working at, say, a MAC school).

One big problem is structural.

TV ratings continue to soar because it is increasingly easier to stay home. College football is the nation’s second-most popular sport. But its attractiveness as a live event is slipping.

Mickey’s money is so good, it reduces the pressure on schools to find a long term attendance fix.

Speaking of ESPN, here’s the other problem:

We already know the attendance drop has reached the highest level. The seven games run by the College Football Playoff posted a record low in cumulative attendance following the 2019 season. That marked the halfway point of the 12-year CFP contract with ESPN.

Not to mention, the CFP has contributed to making it a playoff-or-bust discussion in the country. Check those Tuesday nights in November when ESPN has made appointment viewing out of the weekly CFP Rankings.

“If you watch college football in this day and age, the only teams people are talking about is the six teams that can make the College Football Playoff,” Dykes said. “If you’re not one of those six teams, you lose interest in your team a little bit.”

That’s the price you pay for letting a network nationalize the appeal of your product.  Wi-fi won’t do a damned thing about that.


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Change of plans

Not the G-Day we were expecting…

Sounds like it doesn’t mean more to Mickey.  Not my problem, though, as I plan on doing my part to help recruiting attending.


UPDATE:  Apparently, every SEC spring game, with the exceptions of Auburn and LSU (both on ESPN2), will only be available in their entirety on SEC Network+ digitally.  Helluva broadcast partner you got there, Mr. Sankey.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

ESPN, all things to all men

If you didn’t like the FPI number Mickey’s stat department tagged Georgia with, stick around for Mark Schlabach’s Way-Too-Early rankings, where he places the Dawgs fourth.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

ESPN preseason FPI top 10

I see ESPN’s crack statistical crew (sans Bill Connelly) is back at it again.

If you’re gonna put TAMU in there, I don’t see how you omit Florida.  And you know how I feel about the Gators.

And Texas is back, again?

The main reason I’m posting this is so I can go back at season’s end and mock it.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Stats Geek!

Master of the finger wag

Swear to Gawd, between the Beckham stuff and his two top assistants leaving for greener pastures, I was gonna do a mocking Herbstreit-esque “Ed Orgeron has lost control” post this morning, only to find that the man himself has already beat me to the punch.

“Burrow’s comment about ‘I’m not a student-athlete anymore, yeah it was real money.’ If you care about the program, do you really say that,” Herbstreit said. “Going into this game I was thinking with Tua leaving Alabama, I was like not only are they gonna win this thing, there’s a really good chance that Coach O’s got some mojo going right now. This thing’s gonna be around for a while.

“And after the dust settled I’m like let me get my Bama roster back out. I don’t see them coming back next year at all.”

LSU completed its first undefeated season since 1959, defeating seven teams that were ranked in the AP Top 10 at the time of the meetings. Burrow won the Heisman Trophy, set the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 60, passed for 5,671 yards and accounted for 14 touchdowns in his team’s two wins in the College Football Playoff.

“I will say this: as much as we’re celebrating this team, I wasn’t a real fan of the postgame stuff, the OBJ stuff with the money,” Herbstreit said. “The way they handled themselves at times. If it’s just about 2019, great. But this is about staying power, right? This isn’t the finish line of their program. Don’t they wanna win in 2020, don’t they wanna win in 2021? I almost feel like it’s all the chips in, we made it, that’s it and forget everything else.

“Part of what makes Clemson, Clemson is they’re gonna be back and be preseason No. 1 next year. Part of what makes Alabama, Alabama is they don’t do that. Sure they celebrate, sure they’re happy, but guess what: they have freshmen that are watching, they have sophomores that are watching, they care about the health of their program.”

Of course, unlike me, he’s serious about that.

LSU fans, welcome to the new narrative.  We Dawg fans are happy to pass the torch to you.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

You give stats a bad name.

Somehow, LSU finishes third in ESPN’s FPI rankings, behind the team it just waxed by seventeen.  Even Sagarin’s computer managed to get things straightened out in its last list of the season.

Well done, Mickey.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Stats Geek!

The further adventures of Larry Scott, genius

Think CBS is the big loser in the SEC’s full embrace of Mickey?  Not so fast, my friend.


Whether CBS ends the contract prior to the expiration date isn’t known (at least publicly) at this time, but by the fall of 2024, if not sooner, the SEC will have one broadcast partner: ESPN.

If you thought the most influential network in college sports was SEC-heavy now, just wait.

The financial implications for the Pac-12 are obvious:

The SEC currently distributes approximately $44 million annually to each school.

If we estimate $325 million annually for the SEC ‘Game of the Week’ package, the net gain for the conference (over the current CBS deal) is $270 million.

Or an additional $19 million per school per year.

That would push the SEC’s annual campus distributions to about $63 million — more than the Big Ten’s current Brinks truck delivery ($52 million per school) and approximately double what the Pac-12 currently sends home to each of its 12 members.

And there’s this: The Big Ten’s Tier One deals with Fox and ESPN expire in 2023, one year before the Pac-12’s rights are up.

We should expect that $52 million per-school figure in the Big Ten to increase substantially.

In other words:

Even if the Pac-12 were to receive a whopping 50 percent annual increase in media rights from its next deal(s), it would still lag far behind the SEC and Big Ten in annual take-home pay.

That money is used for facilities, for student-athlete welfare services, for coaching staff salaries and to manipulate non-conference schedules (i.e., buy games) to create the best chance for success.

But that’s not all!  What else do we have for our contestants, Jay?

Because the SEC isn’t moving to ESPN just for the money.

Nope, the SEC understands the value of exposure — of providing its greatest export with access to all Disney-owned media outlets.

And you had best believe Disney will make whatever adjustments are necessary once it owns every last shred of SEC football.

The conference already has a Tier One deal with ESPN, and the SEC Network is owned by ESPN.

Add the ‘Game of the Week’ package, and the SEC and ESPN — which means the SEC and Disney — will be one in the same.

Expect to see SEC football all over ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ABC.

Expect to see kickoffs across all the viable broadcast windows, from 12 p.m. Eastern through 9 p.m. Eastern (which is 8 p.m. on some SEC campuses).

Expect to see more than one SEC game on ABC — yep, doubleheaders on broadcast TV.

… Disney isn’t spending $300+ million to acquire a single game each week because it wants that game.

It’s envisioning a 12-hour, multi-network, linear-and-streaming, everywhere-you-turn blast every Saturday for 15 Saturdays, plus whatever it can leverage from the land of ‘It Just Means More’ for the remaining 350 days.

And that’s a problem for the other conferences.

If the SEC gobbles up more ESPN and ABC broadcast windows during prime Eastern/Central viewing hours, there are fewer opportunities for the Pac-12.

And therein lies the real genius of Larry Scott — not in actually getting a great media rights deal for the Pac-12, but in convincing the Pac-12 presidents that pot of gold is always around the corner.


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