Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

Kirby Smart understands offseason angst.

He’s up in Bristol, doing the annual ESPN ass kiss all coaches have to do, and that meant he got some face-to-face time with Mike Greenberg, who laid into Smart a few months ago over his transfer restriction policy.

Things were a little mellower this time, mainly because Smart was gracious.

After about 10 minutes discussing other matters, Greenberg brought up his criticism of Smart, and offered him an open-ended chance to respond.

“I appreciate that, Mike, first of all,” Smart said. “And I think in the down time of college football, when there’s not a lot going on, it’s easy to reach and grab straws to yell and scream about something, and I certainly think that issue is a sensitive issue to a lot of people…”

Bloviators gotta bloviate, y’all.  Take it from one who knows.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

The money river keeps on rolling.

For all the glum talk about ESPN’s future, it didn’t stop Mickey from shelling out more than a billion dollars over the next six years for the second half of the Big Ten’s media rights package.

The $2.64 billion deals with Fox, ESPN and CBS average $440 million per year and nearly triple the amount ESPN and CBS had been paying for the same programming. ESPN signed a 10-year deal worth $100 million annually in 2006 — a payout that increased to $150 million this year due to the addition of Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers to the conference. CBS paid an average of around $6 million for its current basketball-only deal.

The deal does not include Big Ten Network’s package of rights, which runs to 2031-32.

I suspect the SEC is paying attention.  Unfortunately, its contracts aren’t up for rebidding for a few years.  Unless something comes up, like conference expansion (again)…

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

“I’ve never been more disrespected in my entire career than I have been at Baylor.”

Et tu, Herbstreit?

Those people are monsters.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Uncle Verne’s heir apparent?

There have been rumors floating around for a few weeks that Brad Nessler was preparing to jump ship from ESPN to CBS, where he would eventually succeed Uncle Verne on that network’s SEC broadcasts.

Evidently, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

One interesting point to me…

So Nessler’s giving up calling playoff games in return for getting the shot to do the SECCG play-by-play.  Interesting set of priorities, no?

31 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

A few things to look forward to

A schedule round up…

First, here’s how the opening weekend shapes up on ABC/ESPN.

ABC, ESPN To Kick Off 2016 College Football Season

ABC and ESPN each will feature Week 1 tripleheaders involving ranked teams as the 2016 college football season gets underway on Labor Day Weekend:

Date

Game (site)

Time (ET)

Network

Sept. 1

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

8 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 3

Ga. Tech vs. Boston College (Dublin)

7:30 a.m.

ESPN2

Sept. 3

Oklahoma at Houston

Noon

ABC

Sept. 3

Hawaii at Michigan

Noon

ESPN

Sept. 3

LSU vs. Wisconsin (Green Bay, Wis.)

3:30 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 3

Georgia vs. North Carolina (Atlanta)

5:30 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 3

USC vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)

8 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 3

Clemson at Auburn

9 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 4

Notre Dame at Texas

7:30 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 5

Ole Miss vs. Florida State (Orlando)

8 p.m.

ESPN

My ass obviously isn’t going very far that weekend.  And yours?

Next, here’s CFN’s look at its top ten SEC conference games in 2016.  Georgia makes the list twice.

8. Tennessee at Georgia, Oct. 1

Depending on what Florida is able to do, this could be for the East title. Tennessee will be coming off the home game against Florida, but it has to go on the road for three games in the next four dates. The Bulldogs will be more than happy to be home in an oasis on a run of three road games in four weeks, coming off away dates at Missouri and Ole Miss.

6. Florida vs. Georgia (in Jax), Oct. 29

Welcome to the a.k.a. Cocktail Party, Kirby Smart. By this point, the Bulldogs will have played on the road at Missouri, Ole Miss and South Carolina, and will have faced Tennessee, but this is the one a Georgia coach has to win. The Gators have to go to Tennessee and host LSU, but the rest of the slate is relatively light until this point. Win this, and Florida might be the lead dog for the East.

Wedged in between those two is the meteor game in Knoxville.  From here, it’s hard to see how those three games won’t decide the East.

Last is a look at the hardest and softest SEC home and road schedules.  Georgia doesn’t qualify for any of the four spots, although it does get some brief consideration for having an easier road schedule.  The interesting schedule there is Arkansas’, which manages to have both the toughest at home and the softest on the road.

Is it September yet?

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Tuesday morning buffet

A little of this, a little of that…

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Filed under Big Ten Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Just keep those checks rolling in, please.

Read this ESPN piece – and think about it being an ESPN piece while you read it – and ask yourself two questions:  (1) is Bob Bowlsby the canary in the coal mine; and (2) if he is, does he realize it yet?  I mean, this is pretty doom and gloom stuff here:

But as one industry insider who worked directly with programming and distribution before recently leaving for another job in the industry indicated, there’s also plenty reason to be pessimistic a Big 12 network could ever get off the ground.

“I believe the days of conference networks have kind of come and gone for the most part,” the insider said. “The SEC Network feels like the last one to me. No cable or satellite distributor wants to pay for another network, not in this environment.”

Customers moving away from subscription are part of that environment.

“I feel that the Big 12 network is an uphill battle,” the insider said. “Nobody in the industry wants to spend money right now in the satellite or cable distribution world. Nobody wants to dance in this climate. That is the biggest issue with a [Big 12] network.”

Before you brush that off as a case of someone working the refs, consider the TV deal Conference USA is taking.

Rights fees for C-USA television are expected to fall from about $1 million per school to between $300,000 to $400,000.

Although TV revenue will decrease, MacLeod said the number of C-USA games that will be televised will increase.

More games for less money… such a deal.

As the ESPN piece indicates, the Pac-12 network has fallen woefully short of expectations.  The jury is still out on where the ACC is headed, although in any case, it looks like it won’t be top-tier in revenues, either.

Regardless, the ACC does not appear positioned to match or surpass the Big Ten or SEC in annual per-school distributions. Most recently available tax returns, for fiscal 2013-14, show the Big Ten at $26.4 million per school, the SEC at $20.9 million – that doesn’t reflect the SEC Network – and the ACC at $19.3 million. The Big Ten and SEC project future distributions of more than $40 million and $30 million, respectively.

When it comes to cash flow, the reality may simply be that the P5 is really more of a P2+3, not because Delany and Sankey are so much more savvy than Bowlsby, Scott and Swofford (not to say they aren’t), but because the former two are sitting on larger pools of college football-crazed fans.  Which is to suggest that if the Big 12 is looking for real bang for the buck, it’s not going to come from the likes of Cincinnati or Houston, but from raiding a major program or two from another P5 conference.  Is that likely, or is losing a Texas or Oklahoma to the Big Ten or SEC, both of which can afford the asking price, more likely?

Aside from that, here’s the other longer term consideration.

So while ACC revenue has doubled within four years, it needs more. Not as much as the Big Ten and SEC necessarily – if money were everything, the Big Ten would have a helluva lot more than one men’s basketball and two football national titles in the last 25 years – but an infusion, and the largest source figures to be media rights.

Right now, in terms of competing, money isn’t quite everything, although it certainly helps.  Should Jeffrey Kessler get his way, though, what happens in an era when conferences are competing with each other over player payment?  Those extra millions per year are gonna come in mighty handy.

In the meantime, I guess you can hope John Swofford’s right when he says,

“I’ve been hearing forever that rights fees and television dollars are going to level out or go backwards,” he said, “and I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now. It’s never happened. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but there’s not much history to suggest that it will happen. …

Somebody’s in for a surprise.  We’ll see if it’s the conferences or ESPN.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness