Category Archives: Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

Sheer brilliance

College football broadcast rights sound like they’re this close to jumping the shark.

There is still no tangible momentum for Big 12 expansion at the moment, several sources said. CBS Sports reported last week there is a 50-50 chance the league won’t expand after an elaborate process that started in earnest in July.

Bowlsby acknowledged that one option with ESPN and Fox could be the networks paying the league not to expand. The current contract calls for those rightsholders to pay pro rata — current equal value revenue — to any new teams entering the league.

Mickey, when Bob Bowlsby cuts a deal that manages to make you look this stupid, perhaps it’s time to sack your negotiators.

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

What Bob Bowlsby hath wrought.

Geez, what a mess.

The Big 12’s TV partners are pushing back on the conference’s plans to expand.

ESPN and Fox Sports believe that expansion with schools from outside the power five conferences will water down the Big 12 and make it less valuable, not more, sources said. But the Big 12 is financially motivated to add more teams. A clause in the conference’s media deals stipulate that if the Big 12 expands, it would receive pro rata increases in its rights fees.

The original deals pay $2.6 billion over 13 years, or about $20 million per school annually. Expansion by two schools, theoretically, would force ESPN and Fox combined to pay an additional $40 million per year in rights fees. Expansion by four teams could mean another $80 million per year.

Both networks, according to sources, are digging their heels in against paying those kinds of increases based on expansion with schools outside the power five.

In other words, the networks just aren’t that into your conference, Bob.  (Not that you’re commenting publicly about it.)  Especially when expansion boils down to nothing more than short-term greed.

The drive to expand is fueled by the opportunity to almost immediately generate more money for its schools. The conference’s TV deals run through 2024-25 and the Big 12 already trails the rest of the power five conferences in revenue, so expansion stands out as the only way for the Big 12 to increase revenue.

Any newcomers to the league wouldn’t be expected to receive a full share of TV revenue for multiple years, meaning more money for the 10 existing members…

… The conference already has announced plans to start a football championship game next year, which could mean another $25 million to $30 million in revenue. Absent a conference channel, the only other way for the Big 12 to significantly grow revenue in the near term is to add schools and activate that pro rata clause in its media contracts.

That kind of cash grab, sources say, is rubbing ESPN and Fox the wrong way because any new schools would not carry the profile of most power five schools, which is what the networks are paying for.

But think of all the cachet Cincinnati as a card-carrying member of the Big 12 would carry, guys.

The best part of this is that the networks previously displayed an unusual altruism towards the conference.

There’s also some history here. Executives at ESPN and Fox remember 2010 when they helped hold the conference together against the Pac-12’s raid by keeping rights fees at the 12-team level, even though the Big 12 was reduced to 10 teams — Nebraska left for the Big Ten, while Colorado departed for the Pac-12. That was under the previous Big 12 administration led by former Commissioner Dan Beebe.

Maybe Bob and his presidents see that as a sign of weakness.  In any event, pissing off the hands that write the checks may work in the short run — both ESPN and Fox are stuck with the language they negotiated — but one thing about all contracts is that they eventually expire.  And when that happens…

Another option would be to go along with the increases now and not support the Big 12 in 2025, when the grant of rights and the TV deals expire.

Should that turn out to be the case, it won’t just be the TV deals that expire.

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

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So Fox Sports 1’s Fox College Saturday is getting slaughtered in the ratings by ESPN’s College GamedayWhat to do, what to do

There is also talk of starting a new college football show on Saturday that will be gambling-centric, similar to what Fox Sports Live did during the NCAA basketball tournament when it did live remotes from Las Vegas…

Interestingly, Fox Sports 1 is clearly considering pushing gaming as an element of its coverage and that play has potential — as well as some downside. Smart gambling segments are interesting and it’s an untapped market in sports television. But such segments can also quickly become little more than a hot takes personality screaming out picks and praising himself (it’s always a dude) when a pick hits the previous week…

Boy, I bet Mark Emmert would love that.

I’ve got a suggestion for Fox, though.  If you’re gonna do it, you might want to think about a special segment for Thursday nights.  Half the people watching MACtion are inveterate gamblers.

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Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

But they said Larry Scott is a genius.

The Pac-12 discovers that broadcast partnership thingy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  What a surprise.

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

We welcome our “network partners” overlords.

Remember when everyone and his brother were hailing Pac-12 Commish Larry Scott for his genius in negotiating his conference’s new broadcast deals?  All that money, served up on a platter.

Yeah, well, the bill’s come due.

The Pac-12 is in discussions with its network partners to change programming practices and avoid another season with an overwhelming number of night games, according to sources inside and outside the conference.

I wouldn’t necessarily characterize the back-and-forth as negotiations, because the league has a contract with ESPN and Fox that isn’t going away for a decade.

But Pac-12 officials were not happy with the ’13 broadcast schedule and are working with their partners to find an acceptable resolution for all parties involved. One source called the league’s approach “fair but firm.”

The conference spent three months listening to complaints from fans and school officials. Commissioner Larry Scott and his lieutenant are keenly aware of the frustration.

Whether they can do anything about it remains to be seen.

A $3 billion dollar deal and the networks want say so over broadcast times.  Some kinda nerve there.

But here’s what they can do: They can reduce or eliminate the exclusive window for the over-the-air broadcasts on ABC and Big FOX.

Maybe they eliminate it altogether.

Maybe they scrap it for half of the 10 broadcasts.

Either way, it would create more flexibility for the Pac12Nets.

I don’t know the specifics of the options being discussed.

But I know this: If nothing changes, the uproar from fans and campuses will be significant.

Maybe Larry can hit ’em into silence with the conference’s bank account.  After all, we know who’s gonna win here.

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

Risen from the dead

Hope this isn’t the start of bigger and better things.

If they ever hook him up with Thom Brennaman, my head will explode.

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Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, The Honorable Craig James

You can’t shoot me soon enough.

I don’t think I want to live in a world where Roger Ailes takes on ESPN by finding his own version of the insufferable Keith Olbermann.

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