Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Paying it forward

According to this study, “Just 10 athletic departments gave more money back to the campus than the departments received in subsidies, according to an examination of the colleges’ financial reports.”

No, Georgia’s not one of them.

On the plus side, at least the school’s not paying for the $30 million IPF.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

$5 million doesn’t go as far as it used to.

But at Ohio State, it will get you on the door of the athletic director’s office.

College athletics – if it isn’t for sale yet, just give ’em time.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

“They [Nike] can flip the game.”

This really does have a “what took you so long?” flavor to it.

Nike is well into launching a national seven-on-seven league, CBS Sports has learned, that has the potential to further change the face of recruiting, NCAA enforcement and college football.

That’s mostly because it’s Nike that’s doing it.

Part of the new Nike initiative includes a sponsorship deal with Marriott and possibly a similar deal with an airline to transport players, according to a source.

Players would be required to pay up to at least $1,000 to participate. A team of approximately 25 players would spend their offseason practicing and playing in two tournaments.

Five cities are involved: San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Kansas City.

Sound commercialized to you?  Take Sonny Vaccaro’s word for it – it is.

“The world has changed,” said former shoe executive Sonny Vaccaro. “There are no more virgins. The virginity is over now.”

Amateurism romantics, this isn’t good news for you.  You can tell yourself all you want that what’s on the front of the jersey is all that matters, but when Nike disagrees with you, you’re on the losing side of the argument.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

There’s excess. Then there’s wretched excess.

Take this as one of those “when life throws you a fastball down the middle, you’ve got to turn on it” moments:  Auburn lets recruits play Madden on its $14 million dollar scoreboard.

Robin Williams’ comment about cocaine comes to mind about now.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, General Idiocy, It's Just Bidness

If you’re the SEC, pleading poverty isn’t easy to do.

From the latest chapter of “Miz Scarlett, howevah could the poah schools find the money to pay those greedy student-athletes?” comes this financial tidbit:

The return, which the conference provided Thursday in response to a request from USA TODAY Sports, also shows that SEC had $527.4 million in total revenue for a fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2015. That was the first fiscal year in which the conference began receiving money from the formation of the SEC Network and from the new College Football Playoff.

Over half a billion dollars.  In one year.  That’s a 60% increase over the preceding fiscal year.  In six years, SEC revenues have more than trebled.

I asked sarcastically in the comments how SEC schools could afford to get in an arms race over COA stipends.  At this point, does anyone really wonder about that?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

The reserve fund thanks you, Kirby.

Both new coordinators are making less than their 2015 counterparts did… in Mel Tucker’s case, a lot less.

Think how many support staffers they can hire with the money saved!


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Cord-cutting, $8 a month and college football’s future

There’s a survey making the rounds that doesn’t contain a lot of happy news for Mickey’s Empire.

A survey of 1,582 consumers commissioned last week by BTIG Research found that 56 percent of respondents would remove ESPN and ESPN2 from their cable packages to save $8 per month, which is about the cost cable subscribers pay to receive the networks. Broken down by gender, 60 percent of female respondents and 49 percent of male respondents said they would remove the sports networks to save money.

“Even more interesting, results did not vary by age, with Millennials, Gen X’ers and Boomers all similar, adjusting for the survey’s margin of error,” BTIG Research’s Richard Greenfield wrote in a story about the survey results.

B-b-b-b-but I thought everybody loved sports!

Feed that information into ESPN’s existing trend lines…

Seven million U.S. households have dropped ESPN in the past two years, Disney said in a federal filing submitted in November. Its subscription base is down to 92 million homes, the lowest in nearly a decade, and the operating profit Disney expects to receive from ESPN — its most profitable cable channel — is expected to flatten this year, leading to a cost-cutting mandate from Disney.

… and it would appear that Disney is caught between a rock and a hard place with its business model.

To combat these losses, Disney chief executive Robert Iger has said ESPN is prepared to offer a direct-to-consumer subscription service, in which consumers would pay for ESPN programming by itself without subscribing to a cable package. However, this plan also presents a certain amount of risk. As The Post’s Drew Harwell noted last month, if 30 percent of ESPN’s current subscribers shifted to paying for the network via an online service, Disney would need to charge about $20 per month to make up for the revenue from lost cable subscribers.

BTIG Research also asked about this in its survey, and its results were similarly bleak for ESPN and Disney. The survey found that only 6 percent of respondents would subscribe to ESPN and ESPN2 at $20 per month, with 85 percent indicating they wouldn’t and 9 percent saying they weren’t sure.

“The reality is that ESPN would likely have to charge dramatically more than $20/month/sub in a direct-to-consumer model, given the dramatic reduction in penetration rates,” Greenfield writes, pointing out another strike against this plan: Many consumers wouldn’t subscribe to such a package on an annual basis, instead turning it off or on depending on the time of year (NFL fans only subscribing during football season, for instance).

Now, as the linked article goes on to note, talk is cheap and ESPN controls a ton of live sports programming, so if that’s what you want, you’re going to have to pay the piper, within reason, of course.  And therein lies the rub:  it’s an easy call when you’ve got the rest of the country subsidizing your sports hunger, but how much are you willing to pony up on your own?

And the obvious question to ask at that point is what happens to our buddies running college football – you know, the captains of industry running their own conference broadcast networks – get told that the next ESPN contract won’t be so lucrative?  Here’s one thought:

The future impact of cord-cutting may be far more dramatic. Where does that leave college football? The sport’s present sugar daddy ESPN, at the very least, will be shelling out far less. The same cord-cutting that harms ESPN may kill off the viewer-less conference TV networks as constituted. College football may see a finite, diminished revenue pool, concurrent with increased business costs as it resolves its amateurism conundrum and perhaps deals with increased insurance premiums as medical research continues.

Projecting specifics is murky. But, the broad direction is clear. College Football will operate more like a business, optimizing itself to create revenue (rather than just distributing it). We can expect far greater centralization and collective action. Many of the sport’s lovable little inefficiencies may be cast aside.

Without cable, college football would be attracting viewers, not trying to collect what amounts to a college football tax over the largest population footprint. The focus would move toward producing the most quality games possible. That impetus could precipitate radical changes to scheduling and the way the sport is structured.

Eh, maybe.  First off, there’s an implication there that the Scotts and Delanys running the show are capable of strategic thinking.  If so, that’s something they haven’t demonstrated before, mainly because they’ve had the luxury of a broadcast market that’s been on steroids for the past decade.

But second, if there’s one way to make me skeptical about visions like this, it’s to say “perhaps with Notre Dame”.  Notre Dame football doesn’t need a conference now.  It has its own TV deal; more importantly, it has its own TV deal on NBC.  It isn’t beholden to cable.  If Notre Dame is good now, that’s certainly not going to change in an era of cord-cutting.  In fact, it would be monumentally stupid to give up that advantage.

You know who else has that advantage?  The SEC.  Uncle Verne and Gary are free.  But what happens when the current CBS deal expires and bold leadership dictates that all football product moves to the SEC Network?  I guess we’d find out then how much Phyllis from Mulga would be willing to pay every month to listen to PAWWWLLL’s dulcet tones.

You don’t think the SEC would be dumb enough to make itself that vulnerable?  Hey, this is the conference that expanded to fourteen schools to get out of a bad TV deal.  It’s quite capable.  After all, that’s what passes for strategic thinking.


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