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Category Archives: Fox Sports Numbs My Brain
Small college towns: Shutting down college football is going to kill our businesses, financially speaking.
ESPN/FOX: Hold our beers.
The postponement of much of the college football season could disrupt the flow of more than $1 billion from advertisers to the television networks that count on a slate of game broadcasts every fall.
The return of the college game — a reliable ratings draw — might have helped the TV industry salvage a year of declining revenues resulting from pandemic-related cancellations and production delays. Now that the Big Ten and the Pacific-12 conferences, two of college football’s five powerhouse leagues, have pushed back their seasons amid concerns about the coronavirus, media companies are preparing for more pain…
Last season, college football brought in nearly $1.7 billion in spending on television advertising, according to the research firm Kantar…
For Fox last year, college football was responsible for nearly 6 percent of ad spending and nearly 10 percent of all TV ad impressions, or viewer exposure to ads, according to the ad measurement company iSpot.TV. ESPN drew 9.5 percent of its impressions from the sport. ABC, also owned by Disney, racked up 7.5 percent of its impressions thanks to college football.
Yeah, that’s gonna leave a mark.
Here’s an excellent deep dive into the upcoming negotiations of the SEC television package currently held by CBS. Just like everything else Mike Slive did with the conference’s broadcast rights, it’s tremendously undervalued, as all parties recognize.
The question is where things go from here. This is the one of the gentlemen Greg Sankey has tasked with cutting the next deal:
One factor seemingly working in Disney’s favor is CAA super agent Nick Khan. The SEC hired Khan and Evolution Media’s Alan Gold to represent the league in its negotiations with television networks, signaling to many that it wanted a big payday this time around. Khan represents a lot of the sports media world’s biggest names including top ESPN college football talent like Herbstreit, Rece Davis and Paul Finebaum. Khan has done deals with all the major players — he facilitated the WWE deal with FOX and NBC, for instance — but insiders believe he’s been pushing SEC leaders to strongly consider ABC/ESPN. Among the reasoning, he’s pointed out advantages to aligning closer with a growing Disney company that is making big purchases (21st Century Fox) and investing big in over the top platforms (ESPN+ and Disney+) compared to Viacom/CBS which recently combined in a merger expected to be finalized in December.
If continuing to have a national broadcast platform as it currently does with CBS is of value to Sankey — and I think it should be — Mickey can offer ABC to that end and give the SEC more flexibility with scheduling on one giant platform. Alternatively, some think that cutting a deal to rotate the top game between CBS and ESPN would be a good compromise.
The part I find most interesting is this:
One key factor is how CBS and SEC each interpret the current contract, which was agreed to in 2008. Within the contract is a provision that states, “CBS would have the right of first negotiation/first refusal for at least the same terms for a term commencing in 2024-25 and beyond for football and basketball.” Those terms include selection priority (CBS gets first pick of SEC games), game time and exclusivity, among other factors.
But in a confidential memo obtained by AL.com addressed to the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, Sankey pushed back on the legality of that specific provision.
“We believe that we have a good faith obligation to offer to enter into an exclusive negotiation period with CBS,” Sankey wrote, “but do not believe that CBS has any first refusal rights for reasons that can best be addressed by our legal counsel.”
If CBS doesn’t retain the rights, the SEC’s legal counsel won’t be the party with the last word.
Here comes California, messing with college football again.
What began as SB 206 in the California assembly— and became known nationally as the Fair Pay To Play Act — has help fuel a revolution in college sports.
Now along comes AB 7, which threatens to play havoc with your Pac-12 kickoff times.
Think those 7:30 p.m. games along the west coast are a too late?
If Assembly Bill 7 becomes law, late-season games on Pac-12 campuses will start at 8:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu — and already approved by voters — AB 7 would place California on Daylight Saving Time all year: No more falling back and springing forward.
California would be permanently sprung forward, with all the lifestyle benefits that come with evening daylight and none of the disruptions to our circadian rhythms caused by changing the clock.
Apparently, if this goes into law in California, Oregon and Washington are prepared to follow suit in short order. And that would make things inconvenient for Mickey.
The entire West Coast would skip the process of falling back, leaving it two hours behind Eastern Time from early November through early March.
That would create a problem for Pac-12 kickoffs in the final month of the season.
ESPN and Fox use three-and-a-half-hour programming windows (approximately) on football Saturdays, starting with 12 p.m. Eastern and followed by 3:30 p.m., 7 or 8 p.m. and then 10:30 p.m.
The final window is reserved for the Pac-12 — the only Power Five conference capable of starting home games as late as 10:30 p.m. Eastern. (And those are sometimes pushed back to 10:40 or 10:45 p.m.)
If the West Coast doesn’t join the East Coast in falling back, the three-hour difference during Daylight Saving Time would become a two-hour difference from early November through early March.
In order for the Pac-12 games to fill the 10:30 p.m. Eastern window, they would have to start at 8:30 p.m. on the west coast.
Pacific Daylight Time in the winter months would be the same as Mountain Standard Time.
Late games would get later.
Eh, not to worry. I’m sure Larry Scott’s on the mother.
Passage of California’s Fair Pay to Play Act was arguably the biggest story of the week affecting college athletics, but you wouldn’t know that listening to the pregame shows on ESPN and Fox ($$).
Judging from social media and even national news programs, which devoted air to the development, the biggest story in college sports last week was California Gov. Gavin Newsom signing into law the “Fair Pay To Play Act.” SB 206, as it’s known on the books, is set to take effect in 2023 and would allow college athletes in the Golden State to strike endorsement deals and hire agents.
This may turn out to be the most revolutionary game-changing legislation in intercollegiate athletics since Title IX was passed, at the federal level, in 1972. And, with college football being far and away the greatest revenue-producing sport under the NCAA umbrella, you’d think quarterbacks and a few other teammates might stand to gain the most.
And given that ESPN devotes three hours and Fox one hour each Saturday morning to pregame football shows, you’d think — nope. Didn’t happen. Not on ESPN’s College GameDay nor Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff show. Not a moment of either program was spent on SB 206.
Which isn’t to say you wouldn’t have seen stars cashing in on endorsements…
This past Saturday morning, Herbie, Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Desmond Howard and Maria Taylor appeared in a commercial for Home Depot; Herbie, in addition, for Wheels Up; and Rece for Hampton by Hilton. You know what that looks like to us? It looks a lot like college football TV personalities striking endorsement deals and capitalizing on their image.
To be fair, Fox’s Rob Stone and Matt Leinart appeared in an ad for Wendy’s, their program’s sponsor, on Saturday.
Don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you, amirite?
So… you may remember this tidbit from the spring.
Reggie Bush is not allowed at USC games or practices because of NCAA sanctions but said that won’t prevent him from trying to help his alma mater. Bush — who will be on a new college football pregame show this fall with former USC teammate Matt Leinart, former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn and coaching great Urban Meyer — said he and Leinart would recruit Meyer to come out of retirement and take the USC job if Clay Helton struggles again this season.
“We’ll definitely be recruiting him,” Bush said. “What makes you think we won’t be recruiters? Nothing is off the table.”
Bush later claimed he was joking about that, but still, here we are today.
What a coincidence, eh?
In case you’re still wondering what the future of college football will look like, the Pac-12 is seriously considering playing some games with a 9AM Pacific Time kickoff… because, Fox.
Hey, that’s why they pay Larry Scott the big bucks, y’all.
Why do I have the feeling this isn’t going to end particularly well?
Fox has signed what it feels, as one source put it, is a “Mount Rushmore of college football over the last 15 years,” for its new, yet-to-be-named Saturday morning pregame show that will air on network TV.
Sources say Fox has hired former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and one of the greatest running backs in the college game’s history, Reggie Bush, for its new team.
… Fox feels with Meyer, Bush, Leinart and Quinn, it has put together a similar team of college football legends and hopes they can develop a fun chemistry.
Sure, because the first word that pops into everyone’s mind when you say “Urban Meyer” is fun.
Although, now that I think about it, Corch and Thom Brennaman reminiscing about the GPOOE™ could be a real hoot. In a nauseating sort of way, that is.
Oh, FFS. Haven’t we suffered enough already?
Sports TV viewers may see a lot more of Urban Meyer on TV this year than they thought they would. Fox Sports is close to finalizing a deal to hire the former Ohio State head coach as its star college football analyst, sources tell Sporting News.
Meyer, who won three national championships between Ohio State and Florida, is being given the choice to work either as a color commentator in the game booth or as a studio analyst at Fox, sources said. Citing serious health concerns, the 54-year-old Buckeyes coach retired after the 2019 Rose Bowl.
A Fox Sports spokeswoman declined comment to Sporting News Thursday night.
Fox just wrapped its most-watched college football regular season ever. The network envisions Meyer as the kind of big-time coaching name/TV talent who could potentially put its “Fox College Football Pregame” show on par with Kirk Herbstreit’s “College GameDay” at ESPN.
Cool. Maybe Corch and Thom Brennaman can reminisce fondly about the GPOOE™.
If CBS ever loses the SEC to Fox, I’m gonna be one bummed mofo.
Is this good? I don’t think this is good.
The Big 12 is in the marketplace with three of its conference championship football games, including one that kicks off in just 11 months.
The conference has been shopping the 2019, 2021 and 2023 games to media companies over the last several months after Fox told Big 12 officials that it was not interested.
The Big 12 had hoped that Fox, one of its two primary media partners, would pick up the rights to the championship games in the odd-numbered years. Fox carried the 2017 game as part of a mediated settlement around conference expansion, paying about $25 million for its rights. But the network and the conference could not come to terms on the other three available games. Sources said the last offer made to Fox valued the game in the high teens.
Maybe slapping a conference title game on after a round robin regular season schedule for the purpose of getting that last bit of selection committee attention isn’t such a great marketing strategy.
These guys keep telling themselves they’re geniuses despite all evidence to the contrary.