Category Archives: Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

The SEC is dead. Long live the SEC.

Welp, it looks like they got ‘er done.

Texas and Oklahoma’s path to the SEC in 2024 has been cleared.

The Longhorns and Sooners have finalized an agreement with the Big 12, as well as its television partners, to exit the league one year earlier than scheduled, sources tell Sports Illustrated. Under the agreement, the schools would join the SEC in July 2024, in time to participate in the ’24 football season.

The agreement ends several months of discussions for an early separation and comes just days after negotiation snags seemed to trigger reports of an altogether end to talks—something refuted to SI by multiple sources last week. Turns out, the parties—specifically networks ESPN and Fox—restarted negotiations soon after the latest hitch and were steered toward a compromise by self-proclaimed dealmaker Brett Yormark, the brash Big 12 commissioner who seven months into his tenure has scored a lucrative victory for his legacy schools.

As might be expected, there are a lot of moving parts to this deal.

Left unsaid there is perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle yet to be determined, the reshaping of the SEC’s contract with ESPN for broadcast rights, which kicks in, not coincidently, in 2024.

It’s definitely the end of an era for the Southeastern Conference, as it’s widely expected that this season will mark the last with divisional play.  But there’s all that new money coming!



Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, SEC Football

The perfect epitaph

It’s rare that you find an article provides its own tl;dr summary, but such is the case with Ross Dellenger’s lengthy exploration of the story behind why Oklahoma and Texas won’t be leaving the Big 12 early for the SEC (the gist being that the schools and the Big 12 have worked out a departure deal, but Fox and ESPN are in a pissing match).  Read it all, or settle for the one-sentence conclusion that not only nails this particular situation, but all of college football for the past quarter-century:

“We’ve sold our souls to the devil,” says one athletic director, “but we love our paycheck.”

Nothing more needs to be said, does it?


Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

Maybe tomorrow

Well, this should be awkward for some folks…

Why do I have the feeling Fox wasn’t going to let ESPN get a win here?


Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, SEC Football

Battle of the broadcast partners

This is from Dennis Dodd, so take it with an appropriately sized grain of salt.

Though there was a belief that Texas and Oklahoma may have been attempting to exit the Big 12 one year early in 2024, sources told Dodd that Fox would likely have demanded years of significant television inventory trades from ESPN as the marquee programs would have left its airwaves. That’s beyond what would have been a potentially massive early exit fee the programs would have needed to pay the Big 12 directly.

Fox and ESPN being as petty as their respective conferences are with each other?  I’d like to believe that’s true.  It’s the romantic in me.


Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, SEC Football

Money down

David Ubben’s dunking of Clay Travis ($$), ladies and gentlemen:

It was a quiet week for TV analysts going out on a limb, but Fox’s Clay Travis, who has the only dedicated gambling segment on “Big Noon Kickoff,” went 1-3 on his picks again and missed badly with his two surest bets of the weekend. His lock of the week was Tennessee minus-11.

… Travis has been a fixture in this space this season mostly because no one else on television covering college football has been more certain and more wrong more often.

LOL.  Shit never gets old.


Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

“If you don’t want Meyer there, you can vote with your remote.”

Wow — and I do mean wow.  This Richard Deitch takedown of Corch’s return to Fox ($$) is just brutal, and I’m here for every punctuation mark of it.

Look for his on-set colleagues to pay homage to his college success. Normally, I would say that Meyer will try to win the audience by being self-deprecating about his tenure in Jacksonville, but my college football colleagues at The Athletic tell me he is incapable of that

Perhaps Meyer will be a different person upon return. Perhaps sports networks in the future will stop making hires that insult your intelligence. Anything is possible. Maybe I’ll dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo next month or travel back in time to stop Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard. Amazing things are always possible.

Read the whole thing, preferably before the next “Big Noon Kickoff” pregame show.  It’s a doozy.


Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Return to greatness

With the news that Urban Meyer is returning to the broadcast crew for Fox’ college football game day show comes one question:  what exactly is the demographic for people who say, “I ain’t watchin’ BIG NOON KICKOFF unless Corch is there”?  Seriously?


Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

The golden, rule.

That I have to use Dennis Dodd as a foil to Matt Hayes’ nonsense should be telling, but, damn, this is the current reality college football faces:

Can a credible playoff can be staged without Oregon and Washington being allowed to compete for a spot?

ESPN sort of answered that question when it thought nothing last summer of throwing the Big 12 on the scrap heap as Texas and Oklahoma moved to the SEC.

The network was telling us without telling us that the world wouldn’t end if the likes of Oklahoma State, Iowa State and TCU, among others, did not get a chance to finish in the top four of the College Football Playoff. The question was further answered when the Pac-12 was marginalized last week.

Ratings matter. They matter more when a 9-3 Oklahoma from the SEC might have a better chance of getting into a playoff than a 12-1 Oklahoma State from the Big 12.

One industry source called Oregon and Washington “tweeners” in realignment. They are certainly not USC and UCLA in terms of branding and marketability, but they’re not Arizona and Arizona State, either. That’s what realignment has revealed: The real things that make college football relevant to the only people that matter — TV executives, programmers, advertisers — are being exposed in increasing and specific detail.  [Emphasis added.]

And that reality is that the noise made at Greg Sankey’s bully pulpit will always be drowned out by the sound of TV money being deposited in conference bank accounts.  Anyone who believes otherwise is hopelessly naïve.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

TFW you gotta shill for The Man

Fox Sports personality wants us to know his employer is out there, working for us, even if we don’t appreciate it like he does.

I don’t know about you, but I feel better already.  Thanks, Joel!


Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

A cynic’s paradise

I’m having an email discussion with a reader about (what else?) where things go from here in the new super league version of college football we’re watching emerge.  He still thinks there’s a place for academic reputation in the realm of expansion, particularly in the case of the Big Ten.

I’m not seeing it, mainly because ESPN and Fox could give a rat’s ass about academics.  They’re steering the expansion train and the only thing that matters to them is attracting eyeballs.  As Jon Wilner puts it,

Geography no longer matters.

Academic reputation no longer matters.

Now, the main driver is brand value: Fox and ESPN will pay for the football programs that generate ratings and are most likely to land in prime TV windows.

That’s it.  That’s all there is now.

The math is simple.

Thompson said the Big Ten’s decision to add two Los Angeles-based universities was rooted in a simple math equation. The 14 existing conference members know they’ll receive approximately $71.4 million per university under the new Fox deal. Adding two more partners only made sense if they could generate a minimum of $143 million in additional distributable revenue.

“To get there you could assume that the bulk of the 5.2 million pay TV homes in LA, San Diego, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara become inner-market Big Ten Network subscribers,” he said. “That will add significant affiliate revenue for the network.”

Adding Southern California to the portfolio increases the Big Ten’s core TV households by 25 percent. The result is additional advertising revenue for the Big Ten Network, Fox Broadcast Network and FS1 as well.

Said Thompson: “That should all be enough to convince Fox that the additional rights fees are worthwhile.”

If you can make it worth the broadcasters’ while, you get a ticket to the big boys’ club.  And if you can’t…

… Oregon and Washington may be of interest to the Big Ten. However, Thompson estimated that those two Pac-12 universities, along with the Oregon and Washington television markets, would only generate an additional $60 million in combined additional revenues.

It’s good money, but well shy of the $143 million breakeven for the Big Ten.

It doesn’t kill the possibility of Oregon and Washington following USC and UCLA into the conference. It just means that the Big Ten members have two options if they’re going to do it: A) Be OK with about $6 million less annually to have UO and UW in the house; or B) Welcome Oregon and Washington, but inform the newcomers that they won’t get full distributions for a while.

Yeah, like Option A) is a real consideration.

Back to Wilner for the final word:

How much value do Arizona and Arizona State carry on the open market? Specifically, how attractive are they to the Big 12?

The schools certainly fit geographically, and Arizona’s basketball program would be ideal for the Big 12.

But valuation is based on the strength of your football brand, and the Wildcats are a tick above zero on that scale.

The Sun Devils would need to pack enough media value to account for Arizona, as well, if we presume they’re a package deal. (I’m not sure that’s the case, but it’s a subject for another column.)

ASU’s situation is comparable to the dilemma facing Cal and Stanford: The size of your media market matters far less than it did a decade ago.

Value is based on the ability of your football program to drive ratings and claim prime broadcast windows.

When they say it’s about the money, believe ’em.  Welcome to the new world, folks.


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, It's Just Bidness