Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Getting what you paid for

Today, in fun with numbers:

  • The Pac-12 distributed an average of $25.1 million to each school in 2014-15.  Larry Scott, its commissioner, earned almost $4.05 million in total compensation for the same fiscal year.
  • During that same period, the Big Ten paid its eleven longstanding members around $32.4 million.  Jim Delany’s compensation for that time was $2.6 million.

I never thought I’d live in a world where Jim Delany was a relative bargain.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

“The program is really about economic development.”

Maybe it’s just me, but as far as creative financing goes, this sounds like it’s got Georgia Tech written all over it:

For years, sports teams have tried to defray the multimillion-dollar costs of their new stadiums by asking fans to pay thousands for personal seat licenses that entitle them to buy season tickets.

Flávio Augusto da Silva is taking the concept further. In what may be the first deal of its kind, Mr. da Silva, the majority owner of Orlando City of Major League Soccer, is asking investors from Brazil, China and elsewhere to pay $500,000 each for a stake in the stadium he is building near downtown Orlando. In return, the foreign investors receive annual dividends, two season tickets and something even more valuable: a green card that allows them, their spouses and sometimes even their children to live and work in the United States.

The visa offer is legal, and it uses a 25-year-old federal program, known as EB-5, that is under renewed scrutiny in Congress. Created in 1990, the program was intended to help pay for infrastructure projects in rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods. After bank lending dried up in the last recession, developers turned to the program to finance hotels, condominiums and other projects from Manhattan to Miami. As a result, the number of EB-5 visas awarded grew to almost 9,000 last year, from fewer than 100 in 2003.

Green cards, infrastructure projects and poor urban neighborhoods?  That pretty much checks every box Tech could point to for money to spruce up Bobby Dodd Stadium.  Now, if they could only figure out a way for coaching salaries to qualify as infrastructure projects…


Filed under Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Money for nothing


Proving that Notre Dame has company when it comes to shelling out tons of money for failure, Southern Cal wants you to know it’s definitely no slouch in that department.

The University of Southern California’s soon-to-be departing athletics director, Pat Haden, was credited with more than $2.9 million in total compensation during the 2014 calendar year, according to the university’s new federal tax return.

The figure almost certainly makes Haden the nation’s highest-paid college athletics director. It represents a more than $400,000 increase over the total pay reported for him in 2013…

In addition to the information about Haden, the document also shows that USC paid more than $2.4 million in severance to former football coach Lane Kiffin, who was fired in October 2013, and that then-current football coach Steve Sarkisian was credited with total compensation of just under $3.7 million. Sarkisian was fired in October 2015.

So paying out more than $6 million to two flops entitles you to almost three million large.  Shit, sign me up for some of that sweet action.  Honestly, I’d be willing to do that for half.

Ah, I love the smell of entitlement in the morning.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Tuesday morning buffet

A little of this, a little of that…


Filed under Big Ten Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Just keep those checks rolling in, please.

Read this ESPN piece – and think about it being an ESPN piece while you read it – and ask yourself two questions:  (1) is Bob Bowlsby the canary in the coal mine; and (2) if he is, does he realize it yet?  I mean, this is pretty doom and gloom stuff here:

But as one industry insider who worked directly with programming and distribution before recently leaving for another job in the industry indicated, there’s also plenty reason to be pessimistic a Big 12 network could ever get off the ground.

“I believe the days of conference networks have kind of come and gone for the most part,” the insider said. “The SEC Network feels like the last one to me. No cable or satellite distributor wants to pay for another network, not in this environment.”

Customers moving away from subscription are part of that environment.

“I feel that the Big 12 network is an uphill battle,” the insider said. “Nobody in the industry wants to spend money right now in the satellite or cable distribution world. Nobody wants to dance in this climate. That is the biggest issue with a [Big 12] network.”

Before you brush that off as a case of someone working the refs, consider the TV deal Conference USA is taking.

Rights fees for C-USA television are expected to fall from about $1 million per school to between $300,000 to $400,000.

Although TV revenue will decrease, MacLeod said the number of C-USA games that will be televised will increase.

More games for less money… such a deal.

As the ESPN piece indicates, the Pac-12 network has fallen woefully short of expectations.  The jury is still out on where the ACC is headed, although in any case, it looks like it won’t be top-tier in revenues, either.

Regardless, the ACC does not appear positioned to match or surpass the Big Ten or SEC in annual per-school distributions. Most recently available tax returns, for fiscal 2013-14, show the Big Ten at $26.4 million per school, the SEC at $20.9 million – that doesn’t reflect the SEC Network – and the ACC at $19.3 million. The Big Ten and SEC project future distributions of more than $40 million and $30 million, respectively.

When it comes to cash flow, the reality may simply be that the P5 is really more of a P2+3, not because Delany and Sankey are so much more savvy than Bowlsby, Scott and Swofford (not to say they aren’t), but because the former two are sitting on larger pools of college football-crazed fans.  Which is to suggest that if the Big 12 is looking for real bang for the buck, it’s not going to come from the likes of Cincinnati or Houston, but from raiding a major program or two from another P5 conference.  Is that likely, or is losing a Texas or Oklahoma to the Big Ten or SEC, both of which can afford the asking price, more likely?

Aside from that, here’s the other longer term consideration.

So while ACC revenue has doubled within four years, it needs more. Not as much as the Big Ten and SEC necessarily – if money were everything, the Big Ten would have a helluva lot more than one men’s basketball and two football national titles in the last 25 years – but an infusion, and the largest source figures to be media rights.

Right now, in terms of competing, money isn’t quite everything, although it certainly helps.  Should Jeffrey Kessler get his way, though, what happens in an era when conferences are competing with each other over player payment?  Those extra millions per year are gonna come in mighty handy.

In the meantime, I guess you can hope John Swofford’s right when he says,

“I’ve been hearing forever that rights fees and television dollars are going to level out or go backwards,” he said, “and I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now. It’s never happened. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but there’s not much history to suggest that it will happen. …

Somebody’s in for a surprise.  We’ll see if it’s the conferences or ESPN.


Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

“… he took us from the 18th-best bowl in America to the seventh-best bowl.”

Man, whaddaya think – they’re running a charity at the Alamo Bowl?

There are many different ways to frame Derrick Fox’s compensation of nearly $600,000.

Valero Alamo Bowl board members like to say the target for Fox’s compensation is the 75th percentile of all bowls, reflecting the game’s standing as one of the best in the nation.

Another way to frame it is to say that for putting on an annual football game, Fox, the bowl’s chief executive and president, earns more than San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, San Antonio Water System President and CEO Robert Puente, UTSA Athletic Director Lynn Hickey and San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper.

But here’s perhaps the most poignant way to frame Fox’s compensation: He has made considerably more than the bowl has given away in scholarships.

That was true in 2004-05 when the Alamo Bowl gave away $52,000 and Fox hauled in $279,230, per tax records. It was true in 2009-10, when the bowl gave away $110,000 and Fox’s compensation jumped to $419,045, again per tax records. It was true in 2014-15, the most recent tax records, when the bowl gave away $432,500 and Fox earned $578,216.

Fox won’t discuss his compensation, but he’s got no problem pumping his good works.

He got himself into hot water speaking before Congress in 2009, when he said, “Almost all of the postseason bowl games are put on by charitable groups” and that “local charities receive tens of millions of dollars every year.”

Not only were a good number of the bowls privately owned, but reporters found the 23 existing nonprofit bowls gave $3.2 million to local charities on $186.3 million in revenue.

But Fox said something more granular. Asked by U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, about how much “money” from the Alamo Bowl goes to “classic charities,” Fox said, “There are several hundred thousand dollars that will go out to local organizations.”

“Whether it’s Boys & Girls Clubs, whether it’s Kids Sports Network, you name it. There are a number of different organizations who benefit from the bowl as well.”

Tax records show the scholarships but not the other philanthropy. When I asked Fox for clarification or supporting documents for the statement, a bowl representative sent me a list that included more than $400,000 in donations from 2008. This is in addition to scholarships and payouts to participating football teams.

The list did include donations to Kids Sports Network, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the food bank and others. It also includes more than $330,000 in “tickets.” Got it? Tickets, not actual money that helps keep these nonprofits going. There’s a difference.

Nice gig, if you can get it.  But let’s talk some more about greedy student-athletes, okay?



Filed under It's Just Bidness

Money talks.


I’m sure Laremy Tunsil won’t talk about it anymore.  Hugh Freeze would prefer not to talk about it.  The people in the Ole Miss athletic office will reluctantly talk to the NCAA about it.

Lindsay Miller, on the other hand, can’t shut up about it.

Miller claims Tunsil’s academic records were altered. He said [Tunsil’s mother Deseree] Polingo used to receive Western Union deliveries of money from Barney Farrar, Ole Miss assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations. An apparent reference to Farrar was made in the year-old text messages on draft night; when Tunsil asked the Ole Miss administrator for money, he responds, “See Barney next week.”

I know it’s easy to hide things on the receiving end of a Western Union transfer, but I was under the impression that there is a paper trail on the front end.  Assuming what Miller says is true, wouldn’t cash have been a safer means of taking care of her?  Of course, the NCAA can’t subpoena Western Union, but it can sure look around Farrar’s records.

How many times do you figure Miller has spoken with NCAA investigators by now?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA