Category Archives: Fox Sports Numbs My Brain

TFW you’ve got your broadcast partner’s back

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?

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

Urban comin’

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?

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

TFW you throw in the towel on asses in the seats

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.

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Filed under Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, Pac-12 Football

Okay, this may not end in tears…

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.

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

“If this comes off, the question is: Does he call games or work the studio?”

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.

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

Et tu, broadcast partner?

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.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Fox Sports Numbs My Brain, It's Just Bidness

Politics and the art of broadcast consolidation

81Dog emailed me about this Wall Street Journal article, provocatively titled “How a weakened ESPN became consumed by politics”.  It begins with this:

John Skipper was furious.

One of his star anchors, Jemele Hill, had sent a tweet calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” Mr. Trump’s supporters called for her to be fired. Prominent black athletes defended the anchor, who is African-American.

Sitting in his office last September, Mr. Skipper, then ESPN’s president, lit into Ms. Hill, according to people familiar with the meeting. If I punish you, he told her, I’d open us up to protests and come off as racist. If I do nothing, that will fuel a narrative among conservatives—and a faction within ESPN—that the network had become too liberal.

Mr. Skipper chose to spare Ms. Hill. Mr. Trump weighed in on Twitter: “ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics (and bad programming). People are dumping it in RECORD numbers.”

The president’s tweet was hyperbolic, but it tapped into real anxiety at ESPN. What was the way forward for a company shaken to its foundations by the cord-cutting revolution?

Ooh, Mickey’s doomed!  Is there anything Disney can do?

Before some of you snowflakes get too carried away with the narrative here, it’s worth remembering that the WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who’s not exactly anti-politics himself.  Murdoch, I doubt you need to be reminded, owns Fox.  And Fox just so happens to be a significant competitor in the sports broadcasting world to ESPN.  Let Andy Staples give you an example of that:

This all seems to suggest that broadcast networks NBC, CBS and Fox may be even more interested in college sports than they already were. Meanwhile, ESPN will continue to attempt to dominate the sport. (And games purchased by ESPN are actually being purchased by Disney, which also runs games on ABC using ESPN personnel and branding.) The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC could use their own cable networks as leverage as well by threatening to put the best games on those networks and demanding a higher subscription fee. (The ACC, which will launch its own network next year, won’t have this option because all its rights are owned by Disney/ESPN until 2036.) If even one streaming service such as Amazon Prime or YouTube Red decided to jump into the fray, the bidding could be frenzied. Dean Jordan, who has helped the ACC launch its channel with ESPN and who has worked with the Big Ten and College Football Playoff on media rights deals, believes the competition for rights could be fairly diverse in the next round.

I only see one entity referred to there as dominating.  As the Journal piece grudgingly admits about the WWL, “They have some enormous challenges but they have by far the best brand in sports…”  So what’s a little snotty political questioning between two rivals?

It’s even better than that.  The Murdoch empire is looking to sell a piece of Fox Sports and the front-runner for the purchase is Comcast.  However, there is another interested party.  Who might that be?  You guessed it.

The alternative to a Comcast/Fox deal is Disney buying the Fox properties, which would also boost the size of a TV sports empire by joining Fox’s sports properties with Disney’s national sports channels. The Disney-owned ESPN and ABC have TV contracts for the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, various soccer leagues, and other sports.

ESPN and the Fox regional sports networks “together would account for 30 percent of all affiliate fees for basic cable networks and RSNs and a massive 58 percent of affiliate fees for basic cable sports networks and RSNs,” S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a recent report that Comcast pointed out to Ars.

Either way, a Fox deal would produce a bigger programming giant that could demand higher fees from cable and satellite TV providers that buy access to sports channels.

Wrinkles, wrinkles everywhere.

The only politics any of these assholes are consumed with are the ones that make them the most money.  Buy into the nonsense narratives pushed by the likes of Clay Travis if you want, but realize you’re being played.

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