Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Now here’s a branding I can get behind.

Attaboy, Tulane.  If you’re gonna sell beer at games, do it the right way.

Tulane Athletics announces a partnership with NOLA Brewing Company to launch a new Helluva Hullaba-brew, Green Wave Beer.

Emblazoned with the angry wave and Green Wave marks on the 12 oz. can, the beer is currently in production and set to be available at Yulman Stadium for Tulane’s football home opener on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Grambling State. Green Wave Beer will also be available in local restaurants and grocery stores starting in the fall.

“Tulane Athletics is excited to extend the Green Wave brand with our very own beverage,” said Jana Woodson, Associate Athletics Director, External Relations at Tulane. “We are excited for our alumni and fans to enjoy this new beverage and support our new partnership with NOLA Brewing.”

How hard a strategy would this be to emulate at UGA?  You’ve got some great local breweries in Athens, a fan base that would lap up a Bulldogs-themed brew like crazy and an opportunity to make some money… ah, hell, what am I thinking here?  Even if they decided to do something like this, they’d screw it up by slapping a Dawg logo on some swill like Miller Lite and selling it for twice the price.

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Filed under I'll Drink To That, It's Just Bidness

Let the big Dawg speak.

Quite the dividing line here:

Georgia is holding two August events in the state for Bulldog fans that will feature some of its head coaches but not football coach Kirby Smart.

Men’s basketball coach Mark Fox, gymnastics coach Courtney Kupets Carter, baseball coach Scott Stricklin and football staffer Mike Cavan will take part in a panel discussion Aug. 9 in Valdosta.

Fox, women’s basketball coach Joni Taylor, men’s golf coach Chris Haack and Cavan, Smart’s special assistant, will be on the panel Aug. 10 in an event in Columbus.

The events are characterized by the school as an outreach program. They were organized by the UGA Bulldog Club, are being called “Dawg Days” and will be emceed by radio voice Scott Howard.

“These events will be open to the public and focus on allowing current Bulldog Club members the chance to interact with UGA staff members and educate UGA Fans who are not involved on how to support UGA Athletics,” according to an announcement from Georgia.

Smart will be a part of a separate donor event July 19 in Atlanta’s Buckhead that is invitation only and organized by the president’s office. He attended four similar events this spring in Charlotte, Nashville, Jacksonville and Houston.  [Emphasis added.]

“… and educate UGA Fans who are not involved on how to support UGA Athletics”?  Oh, I think we’ve already got that part figured out, homes.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Trickle down economics, amateurism-style

A rising tide lifts even student-athletes.  As much as administrators and coaches?  What, are you kidding?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Have they got a tailgating deal for you.

I mentioned the tailgating deal that Alabama recently entered into.  There’s a follow up on some of the specific contract terms at Al.com worth sharing.  Even McGarity might find some of them of interest:

— Perhaps the most interesting one was No. 16. The university wants no part in turning the Quad into a battle ground or a nonpartisan zone. It reads: “There are to be no opposing team logo’s (sic) displayed.” The second part of the listing seems like it would be harder to enforce. “No opposing team boisterous chanting or cheering will be allowed.”

— The uniform look of the tents in the middle of the quad isn’t a coincidence. The school “requires tents to be ALL WHITE.” (It’s in all caps in the contract). They can be no larger than 20×20. The company offer packages with tents of 10×10 and 20×20.

— “There shall be no alcohol exposed within the tailgate area,” reads the entirety of No. 14 of the list of contract specifications. Reading between the lines, it’s the red cup rule.

— The contract also states that the company can arrange for catering for delivery. And in bold lettering, it states “Bama Dining is the University’s caterer of choice.” (Bama Dining is the official food service provider on Alabama’s campus)

— No loudspeakers or any kind of amplified sound is not allowed. As with similar rules, the company is responsible for enforcing the rules set by the school by supervising the area its tents cover.

Sounds to me like if Georgia were interested in adapting something similar, it could both maintain most of the Michael Adams-imposed restrictions that currently exist and turn a few extra bucks.  Add in a contract provision requiring the service provider to assume responsibility for keeping the designated tailgating area clean and you’d have a real win-win on your hands.  At a price, of course, but what’s new about that?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Whoa, oh, Alabama

You gotta spend money for them to make money.

Now there’s a shock:  tailgating at Alabama is turning into a pricey affair.

Meticulously arranged in perfect rows of plastic canopies, the Quad on Alabama’s campus becomes its own temporary city on football Saturdays in the fall.

Unlike the densely-packed hodgepodge tapestry of the Grove at Ole Miss, this is the model of uniformity as required by the University of Alabama.

It’s also a big business — for both the school and the private company that choreographs the whole thing every week.

These prime tailgating spots aren’t first come, first served like elsewhere in the football mad SEC. Schools like Alabama bid out the rights to this select real estate between the Denny Chimes and Gorgas Library.

The Tailgate Guys, an Auburn-based company that’s expanded to a dozen schools, now has the contract. It bought Tuscaloosa’s Game Day Tents after last season and got the exclusive rights to Alabama’s Quad and Presidential Park, a small plot behind fraternity houses a block from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

With it, prices have changed for the 2017 season.

Gone are the basic packages that fans like Billy Stewart’s group used for years. Instead, the high-end offerings with taller price tags replaced the $1,000 season-long package Stewart shared with friends. He estimated a comparable setup with as many as nine tents would cost somewhere approaching $30,000 for the 2017 season.

Whoa.  This sounds like a familiar complaint.

“They’ve just gotten to the point where everything is about money and they’re squeezing,” said Stewart, a Chattanooga resident and Alabama alumnus. “They’ve already squeezed all the rank and file.”

Tailgate Guys president Parker Duffey said this was a move they all but had to make.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said, “but at the same time, it definitely is in the best interest for the system out there.”

If by “system”, he means his company and the school, he’s got that right.

The business model for this evolving industry isn’t as simple as rolling out the tents and setting up tables.

“A significant percentage that goes back to the school,” Duffey said. “It’s definitely a good thing for the school. They earn some healthy revenue on that.”

A look at the contract the tent company has with the University of Alabama offers some insight into how this business works — and perhaps why $1,000 tents for seven home games might not help the bottom line for UA or the Tailgate Guys.

After amendments were made for 2017, the Tailgate Guys pay a total of $76,000 per game for the right to sell the packages. That adds up to $532,000 a season to break even just on the land.

The university also gets 30 percent of the Tailgate Guys sales over $1 million for the spots on the Quad and nearby Presidential Park. That percentage Alabama receives doubled from 15 percent to 30 percent before the 2016 season. The per-game rate also went up $10,000.

Jeez.  The only thing that’s honestly surprising about any of this is that Butts-Mehre hasn’t monetized the primo tailgating experience in Athens yet.  To me, that seems like a lot of money to leave off the table simply because Michael Adams hated tailgaters, but what do I know?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Roll ‘dem bones.

When you hear Mark Emmert decry a stated position by the organization he heads as “what often seems to be a hypocritical stance”, you’ve got to believe there’s some money at the end of it.

And you would be correct about that.

The possibility of sanctioned NCAA events being held in Las Vegas took a potentially huge leap Tuesday when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a controversial New Jersey gaming case.

The NCAA is among the plaintiffs fighting a New Jersey law passed in 2012 that would allow sports gambling in the state. The NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, as well as the Department of Justice, have sued arguing continued implementation of the 25-year-old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

PASPA was passed in 1992 to halt the spread of sports betting in the country. Such action is banned nationwide except for Nevada, which was “grandfathered” an exemption. Delaware, Oregon and Montana have the option of limited sports betting.

The Supreme Court could hear arguments as early as this fall, according to reports.

The NCAA has placed only one championship event in Nevada (1991 women’s basketball West Regional) citing sports gambling concerns.

“This is more than huge,” former UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood said of the Supreme Court’s consideration. “This opens up all kinds of possibilities.”

Livengood is now a consultant for Las Vegas Events, a management company interested in bringing events to the city.

The NCAA was thought to be moving toward allowing events in Nevada but was stymied by the New Jersey battle. In other words, the optics would be bad if the association was suing New Jersey while cozying up to allowing games in Nevada/Las Vegas.

Who the hell can afford optics these days?  Certainly not the NCAA, if it wants to keep shelling out the big bucks.  There’s at least one thing that happens in Vegas that doesn’t stay there.  Emmert isn’t about to miss out on that if he can help it.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

“So ’23, ’24, that’s what everybody thinks about.”

Death, taxes and conference realignment.

Realignment appears to be in sleep mode. For now. But the potential for realignment — and the strategy for when it surfaces again — never completely leaves the radar of college sports’ power brokers. That’s why they’re thinking about 2023.

Why 2023?

I presume that’s a rhetorical question.  Why does anything that’s crappy for fans happen in college football?  No, you don’t get any guesses.

… It starts with expiring TV contracts. The ACC and SEC both have long-term media grant-of-rights agreements, running through 2035-36 and 2033-34, respectively. But the other three Power 5 conferences have agreements ending roughly around the same time (the SEC’s Tier 1 deal with CBS runs through 2023-24). The Big Ten last summer opted for a shorter agreement with Fox and ESPN, which runs through 2022-23. The Pac-12 deal expires after the 2023-24 sports year, and the Big 12’s ends the following year.

“Conferences have expanded primarily to take really good football schools to enhance their football footprint and strength, and also to help their [television] networks,” Aresco said. “The question down the road will be whether any conferences want to add schools that they feel will strengthen them in football, whether it’s because of an upcoming rights fee deal, or they feel it would strengthen their conference network….

Traditional rights deals aren’t the only reason 2023 matters. By then the traditional rights deal itself might be obsolete. Conferences recognize that fans are consuming content, including live events, in different ways. This shift will continue to impact current distributors like ESPN, Fox and CBS, and could bring different companies into the distribution market, like Amazon, Google, Facebook or Twitter.

Leagues like the Pac-12 are counting on it, especially because its own network has yet to produce significant revenue for members.

“I don’t think anyone knows exactly what the landscape will look like, or what health ESPN or Fox will have in 2023 when we’re negotiating, or how significant a player Twitter or Facebook will be,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said last month at the league’s spring meetings. “My sense is that there will be more competition. There will be more and different types of players.”

Oh, goody.  Another chance for the Jed Clampetts of the P5 conferences to be acclaimed geniuses.

Assuming there’s still a P5 in a decade, that is.

… Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger shocked boosters with a surprise announcement at a happy hour Kansas City gathering.

Zenger boldly presented a $300 million stadium renovation project that will include an indoor practice facility. That rocked the fundraising arm in athletic departments from coast to coast.

In a vacuum, this would be surprising news. Per USA Today, $300 million is more than three times Kansas’ current athletic revenue. Per that same database, $300 million for this one project is also $108 million more than Texas A&M’s total athletic revenue, the largest in the country.

This is Kansas, a basketball school, winner of exactly one FBS game in coach David Beaty’s two seasons. The program as a whole hasn’t won more than three games since 2008.

There’s something else going on here.

“It brings us into the level of playing field that you must be at to be a Power Five university,” Beaty said.

Read that quote carefully: This is as much an all-in financial commitment as it is as a buy-in for KU to have a seat at the table in the next round of conference realignment.

At least you’d better believe that’s how Zenger is selling it to boosters.

A $300 million bet on surviving a conference blowup?  When they say follow the money, this is what they’re talking about.

Oh, yeah, it’s coming.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, College Football, It's Just Bidness