Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

A simple lesson in why what any of us thinks about Jacksonville doesn’t matter.

At all.

Over and above all that is the financial side of things. Smart is definitely “The Man” at the moment and he has done some great things to raise the football program to another level. But he still answers to a president, an AD and a board of directors. And the facts regarding the Florida game are this: Georgia (and Florida) get $3 million a year to play in Jacksonville in the current deal that runs through 2021. That means they clear — all their expenses are paid — $6 million every two years.

To play that game home-and-home, Georgia would make $3.2 million when it plays at Sanford Stadium but lose about $500,000 when it played in Gainesville. So that’s $2.7 million every two years as opposed to $6 million…

Math is hard, but it ain’t that hard.  The game stays in Jax as long as the city is willing to pay for the privilege of hosting it, pure and simple.  So quit wasting time and energy explaining otherwise.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in asses in the seats

You may have heard that the attendance at Florida’s Homecoming Game against Missouri was its smallest home total since 1990. (Wouldn’t that make it ever, according to most Gator fans?  But I digress.)  Crowd size was announced as 80,017, well under capacity, but judging from this picture, that seems somewhat generous.

Again, that’s for a conference game against a divisional opponent.

Anyway, what’s interesting is how that’s a starting point for this article (h/t Kyle) about why attendance is down at so many schools.  And not by a little bit, either.

Average attendance at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has dropped each of the last four seasons, from 90,065 in 2015 to 82,427 this year. And with less-than-stellar matchups with South Carolina and Idaho left, don’t be surprised if that number falls more…

… At FSU, attendance has tumbled since Willie Taggart’s debut (75,237). If the current average (69,757) holds, it’ll be the first time since 1992 that the average crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium was less than 70,000. And back then, Doak’s capacity was only 70,123.

Why?  The Tampa Bay Times asked some fans for their explanations and got feedback.  Sure, winning is an obvious reason, although Florida’s decline ran through two seasons of the Gators winning the SEC East and attendance figures at Alabama (!) and Kentucky are down this season.

The rest of the list?  See if you can find the common theme.

The most common reason we heard? It’s too expensive.

“What I have seen appears to be a big money machine that is slowly choosing to price people out,” said Paul Zuccarini, a UF alumnus who travels to a game or two each year from Key Biscayne.

David Gracy agrees.

When the 57-year-old FSU alumnus first bought Seminoles season tickets twenty-plus years ago, they cost about $150 each, including a booster donation. Now they’re more than $700.

“Probably what broke the camel’s back was the increasingly high amounts of money the boosters required in order to maintain our seats,” Gracy said.

Gracy stopped going to games two years ago for other reasons, too, which were among the common complaints we heard.

Because TV partners determine schedules, fans won’t learn the kickoff times for some Nov. 17 games (Boston College at FSU, USF at Temple) until Sunday. Six days isn’t much time for a North Carolina resident like Gracy to figure out his travel plans to Tallahassee. It’s probably not a coincidence that visiting SEC schools are giving back more unsold tickets, as The Gainesville Sun reported over the summer.

Staying at home has become a more attractive option to some. You don’t have to worry about sweating out noon kickoffs, driving home after a prime-time game or sitting for four hours in uncomfortable stands.

“Metal bleachers with very limited space,” said Darrell Card, a Gainesville resident who has cut his UF games down from four or five a year to one or two.

It’s television, of course.  It fuels the big schools’ money chase, it affects scheduling and it provides folks fed up with the in-game experience with a viable alternative.  I don’t see that changing any time soon, either, at least not as long as eyeballs are more efficient at generating revenue than asses are.

Which is all the more reason why I think this is a significant hint at where things are headed.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

This ain’t Mike Slive’s SEC anymore.

The conference announces it’s retained the services of Evolution Media and Creative Artists Agency as its media advisors, in part to “assist the conference in its future broadcast rights negotiations.”

I presume that means Sankey will take a savvier approach to the SEC’s next round of television contract bargaining (next stop, CBS in 2024, I believe) than did his predecessor, whose after the fact realization that he’d cut a below-market deal led to the last round of conference expansion in order to undo his mistake… which, of course, has had a disastrous impact on scheduling.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Today, in great moments in contract negotiations

I know there’s no shame in college sports, but whoever was responsible for putting the atrocity that is Edsall’s contract together really should be ashamed of themselves.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Randy Edsall Is A Dick

College football paternalism is the best paternalism.

“No question it’s helping,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “A lot of people see these guys on Saturday and think they’re gladiators, but they’re still young people. We’re talking about 18 to 22 year olds and they got a lot of things going on, so to have a little bit of extra cash to send some money home to your little brother or little sister, help your mama out. It just eases some of the pressure they’ve got on them and allows them to focus on being 18, enjoying college life and not have to be caught up in adult problems.”

“Adult problems”?  Are those like when coaches get paid millions of dollars after failing miserably at their jobs?

Boy, kids these days don’t know how good they’ve got it.  Those lucky ducks.

33 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Tasteful

Today, in money talks and bullshit walks:

The famous Clemson Tiger Paw could soon make its way onto advertisements for beer.

During the university’s quarterly Board of Trustees meeting this month, the trustees agreed to allow JMI Sports LLC, the official multimedia rights and corporate sponsorship partner for Clemson, to explore using the university’s trademarks in conjunction with a “drink responsibly alcohol related athletics sponsorship.”

In the past, the university has partnered with MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch for radio ads related to responsible drinking, but this will be the first time the school’s visual marks could be put to use.

Now, JMI Sports has university permission to talk to “branded malt beverage” companies to see if any want to strike a deal to use the Tiger Paw on ads, with the requirement that an educational “drink responsibly” message is visible, according to the plan outlined by JMI Sports.

Dan Radakovich, Clemson’s athletics director, is hopeful that a partnership will emerge which is beneficial to the university, the beverage company and JMI.

“I think in the collegiate landscape there are an awful lot of these partnerships at very fine institutions across the country,” Radakovich said. “They have been done very well and very tastefully at other other institutions.”

No doubt the paychecks will be very classy, Dan.  You’ll fig leaf your way through hypocrisy, too.

Radakovich emphasized that exploring a deal for advertising is “in no way a step toward selling alcohol in the stadium.”

Tom Stultz, the president of JMI Sports, said that no alcohol ads will be targeted to people under the age of 21.

Well, okay, as long as your hearts are pure, I’m sure this will further Clemson’s academic mission, which is what college sports are all about today.

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, I'll Drink To That, It's Just Bidness

Million dollar “Yar!”

Maybe Mike Leach should stick to sports.

A rash of donors threatened to withhold millions in donations after Mike Leach, Washington State University head football coach, tweeted a fake video of a speech from former President Barack Obama in June, according to documents obtained through a Daily News public records request.

In the documents, several donors made it clear if Leach makes more “disgraceful” or “racist” comments, they will consider pulling back pledged donations and stop supporting the university.

Leach’s June 17 tweet stirred backlash on social media and was reported by multiple national media outlets. It also occurred the same week Leach sent an annual appeal to WSU fans to join the Cougar Athletic Fund and donate money to support WSU Athletics.

Timing is everything, Coach. How’d that work out?

The morning after Leach’s post, one donor threatened to withdraw a $1 million donation out of his or her will to the WSU Foundation if the university did not condemn the tweet. Several others followed suit. The foundation redacted the names of the donors.

“We are not happy with Leache’s (sic) racist twitter activity and are withdrawing our $1,000,000.00 plus estate proceeds we gifted to WSU in our Will (sic), unless there is a much stronger response coming from the University condemning his actions. Cougs are better than this and I am extremely upset by his actions and WSU’s tepid response,” one donor wrote in an email to the president’s office June 18.

According to an email from Trevor Durham, associate vice president for the office of strategic communications and donor engagement, to WSU President Kirk Schulz, the foundation identified at least 18 donors who required an email response in late July.

Public records indicate another 60 emails complaining about Leach were sent to the Cougar Athletic Fund – WSU’s fundraising arm for intercollegiate athletics.

In an Aug. 1 email from Raegan Harvey, Cougar Athletic Fund director, to Michael Connell, senior associate vice president of University Development with the WSU Foundation, Raegan wrote it was unfortunate Leach’s email went out after his tweet.

A donor emailed Jeff Pilcher, director of philanthropic engagement, saying he would rescind his $25,000 pledge to WSU and instead donate that money to his wife’s scholarship fund at Oregon State University.

“At this point, my estate plan calls for WSU to receive about 1.6 million dollars and I hope to keep my estate plan as is. However, this type of stunt is offensive enough to me that were something like it to happen again, I would be more than willing to rededicate that portion of my estate to Oregon State University,” the donor wrote.

“I will not give anything to WSU until Mike Leach is no longer associated in anyway with the university. He recently disgraced himself and the university by posting a patently false video that went beyond being merely despicable,” a June 25 email to the foundation read.

The WSU Admissions Office also received emails.

“You are supporting racism and the attack on facts by employing Mike Leach. And you are a university!!!! What is education without facts???” a June 23 email to WSU admissions stated.

And here I thought it was only ESPN and Nike that were suffering political backlash.  Where’s Clay Travis when you need him, ‘Murica?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Mike Leach. Yar!, Political Wankery