Dissolution is Not a Solution to Break a Grant of Rights Agreement

It has been a whirlwind for the past three weeks since the Big Ten announced that it was expanding with USC and UCLA. I have a lot of thoughts on what the Big Ten will (or more likely, won’t) do in terms of further expansion, the fight for the upper hand between the Pac-12 and Big 12, and how conference realignment may impact the playoff.

At the top of my mind, though, is the ACC Grant of Rights agreement (the “GOR”) and how that document is holding the league together. As a reminder, the GOR entails each school of a conference granting control of its media rights to that conference for the term of the agreement. The real potential mass hysteria from conference realignment is the prospect of partial ACC member Notre Dame and/or full members such as Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina bolting for the Big Ten and/or SEC.

Several years ago, I examined the Big 12 GOR agreement and concluded the following:

[T]he GOR’s strength isn’t that it’s an ironclad complex agreement that doesn’t include any loopholes. Instead, it’s an arrangement that is a triple-dog-dare to schools that want to attempt to challenge it since there isn’t any reliable precedent about how to calculate damages. This is proverbial Russian roulette in a practical legal context – the damages could be more than you could imagine… or they could be less than what a normal exit fee would have been. That makes it a great moot court exercise for people like me and other writers in the peanut gallery, but a dangerous contract to challenge in real life. Lawsuits that are brought on principles other than money, such as constitutional challenges filed by the liberal ACLU or conservative American Center for Law and Justice, can afford to tackle these types of ambiguous arrangements. However, conference realignment is almost entirely about money, which means that the great risk of trying to challenge the GOR (even if there are viable legal arguments against it in theory) is likely going to be enough to dissuade any school from leaving a conference that has that type of contract in place.

Essentially, the only realistic way out of a GOR is for a departing school to offer a conference a crap ton of money far beyond a standard exit fee and hope that the conference accepts that offer. Note that a conference doesn’t even have to accept such offer and can simply continue to own that school’s media rights until the end of the GOR term. This means that the notion of “breaking” a GOR is a misnomer because it implies that the departing school has any control over getting out of the agreement (even if it’s willing to pay a massive amount of money). Instead, it is the conference that has the power to waive or not waive the GOR obligations in its absolute discretion (whether reasonable or unreasonable).

After the story broke about USC and UCLA moving to the Big Ten, Andy Staples of The Athletic interviewed an attorney that obtained and reviewed copies of the Big 12, ACC and Pac-12 GOR agreements and essentially came to same conclusion that I did: the GOR terms are almost shockingly short and simple, which actually makes them tougher to challenge in practicality.

That article did bring up one possible nuclear option to terminate a GOR: dissolve the conference entirely. The basic premise is that if the conference dissolves and ceases to exist, then any GOR inherently can’t exist and the rights would revert back to the member schools. Over the years, the dissolution of a conference is an Internet message board favorite theoretical mechanism for a league and/or its schools to get out of all types of unfavorable contracts or other obligations: bad TV contracts, exit fee penalties and, as discussed here, any GOR terms.

Of course, it would stand to reason any conference would want to make it really difficult to be dissolved and, furthermore, would want to prevent any schools with a clear conflict of interest against the league from making any type of dissolution vote. The conference bylaws would dictate what would be necessary to approve and complete a dissolution.

While I haven’t been able to obtain a copy of the ACC bylaws, the Big 12 has their bylaws freely available at its public website. The Big 12 is a great instructive example because the league has a GOR agreement and, by the fact that their bylaws are publicly available, the ACC or any other league would be able to copy them or draft similar bylaws. In a review of the bylaws, it’s clear that the lawyers drafting them fully anticipated all of those future Internet message board arguments of schools trying to avoid penalties, exit fees and specifically the GOR by dissolving the league and actively wrote their bylaws to prevent that from happening.

For some context, these bylaws were approved by the current 10-team Big 12, so this was after the threat of the formation of the Pac-16 (where Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado would have joined the then-Pac-10) and the actual defections of Nebraska to the Big Ten, Colorado to the Pac-12, and Texas A&M and Missouri to the SEC. Not surprisingly, the conference members likely wanted to ensure that there couldn’t be any shenanigans from anyone (cough Texas cough) to leave the others high and dry via a dissolution or other votes where they would have significant conflicts of interest.

Let’s dive into what it would take to dissolve the Big 12. Note that each member has a seat on the Big 12 Board of Directors for voting matters. The Director appointed from each school is its Chief Executive Officer (e.g. president, chancellor, etc.). From Section 1.52(b) of the Big 12 bylaws:

The following actions may be taken only if approved by the affirmative vote of a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors (as defined below):
***
(2) The dissolution, liquidation, winding-up, merger, sale, or transfer of all or substantially all of the assets of the Conference…

Note that those that can vote on a dissolution aren’t all members of the Big 12, but rather a Supermajority of “Disinterested Directors” of the league. What does that mean? Here are the relevant definitions under Section 1.5.2.2:

(a) The term “Disinterested Director(s)” with respect to any issue shall mean each person who: (i) is then duly qualified and serving as a member of the Board of Directors pursuant to Sections 1.5.3 and 1.5.4 below; (ii) is the Director representative of a Member that has not Withdrawn and has not been precluded from voting on the matter in question as a Sanctioned Member; and (iii) is not an Interested Director (as defined below) with respect to such issue.
***
(c ) The term “Interested Director(s)” with respect to any issue means any Director who has personally, or as to which the Member that such Director represents has institutionally, a direct or indirect material interest in the subject matter of the issue (or series of related issues) being considered by the Board of Directors, that, in the judgment of a majority of the other Directors who are not Interested Directors with respect to such issue or series related issues, could reasonably be expected to impact adversely the objectivity of such Director in voting on such issue or issues. The interests that all Members have in common as the beneficial members of the Conference (even if such interests have disparate effects among Members) will not, in and of itself, cause the Director representing such Member to be an Interested Director with respect to an issue or issues impacting all Members as the beneficial members of the Conference. Any Director who has been determined to be an “Interested Director” in accordance with the foregoing may appeal such determination only in accordance with the following: (i) such Director shall submit a written appeal to the Commissioner and the highest ranking officer of the Board of Directors who has not been determined to be an Interested Director with respect to such issue, if any; (ii) the Commissioner and such highest ranking officer (if any) shall mutually determine and promptly notify such Interested Director with respect to their (or if there is no such officer, the Commissioner’s) determination on the matter, which determination shall set forth whether such Director is deemed to be an “Interested Director” on the matter in question; and (iii) the determination made by the Commissioner and any such highest ranking officer of the Board of Directors shall be final and binding on the Director(s) appealing the initial determination by the other Directors.
***
(f) The term “Supermajority of Disinterested Directors” with respect to any issue shall mean seventy five percent (75%) or more of all persons who are Disinterested Directors with respect to such issue, whether or not each is Present at a meeting considering such issue or signs a written consent with respect to such issue.

Essentially, (a) a Disinterested Director is someone that isn’t an Interested Director and (b) an Interested Director is someone that has been determined by the rest of the league to have a conflict of interest in the applicable matter.

Another key term is that a Disinterested Director must be from a school that has not “Withdrawn” from the conference… and this is where I give kudos to the lawyers that drafted these bylaws.

Here is how a member Withdraws or, more importantly for the purposes of this discussion, is deemed to have Withdrawn from the conference under Section 3.2 of the bylaws (emphasis added in the bolded text):

Withdrawing Member. A Member (a “Withdrawing Member”) may Withdraw, or shall be deemed to have Withdrawn, as a Member of the Conference: (i) if it gives notice of the intent to Withdraw to the Conference; or (ii) if a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors by affirmative vote determines that such Member: (A) makes statements or takes actions that are determined by a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors to evidence the intent of such Member to withdraw from the Conference either currently or in the future; (B) breaches or evidences its intent to breach or not honor and fully comply with its obligations to the Conference under these Bylaws or the Grant of Rights Agreement for the entirety of the respective terms thereof; (C) if a third party offers to, or attempts to induce a Member to, leave the Conference and/or breach or not to fully perform its future obligations under the Grant of Rights Agreement and the Member does not both (1) inform the Conference of such action as promptly as possible (but in any event not later than twelve (12) hours after such action) and (2) immediately and unconditionally reject that offer in a form and manner reasonably acceptable to the Commissioner; or (D) if a Member otherwise takes or fails to take actions that are determined by a Supermajority of Disinterested Directors to be contrary to the best interests of the Conference taken as a whole.

Subsection (i) is the clear situation where a school gives notice to the conference that it wants to Withdraw. That’s easy.

It’s subsection (ii) that really serves to protect schools from any clandestine attempts by other members to get around the GOR or take other drastic measures, such as dissolution. That clause effectively gives Disinterested Directors the ability to deem a school to have Withdrawn from the league (and thereby losing their voting rights) if (a) there are statements or actions that make it appear that school is attempting to leave the league, (b) a school breaches or intends to breach the bylaws or specifically the GOR or (c ) a school fails to provide the conference with notice within 12 hours of a third party offer or inducement for that school to leave the league or breach its GOR obligations.

Thus, it doesn’t matter if a school that is trying to leave the conference provides notice of withdrawal or not. As soon as the other members suspect that a school is taking to actions to get out of the GOR specifically (much less leave the league entirely), those other members can deem such school to have Withdrawn from the league and lose its voting rights in the process.

Now, in theory, some schools could conceivably get together a call for a dissolution vote before the other members can deem them to be Withdrawn. However, in practicality, if a school suddenly says, “We’re calling a vote for a dissolution of the conference today” out of nowhere, every other member is going to instantly know that the only reason that’s happening is that school wants to leave the conference and/or break the GOR. Those other members would then invoke the clause that allows them to deem that school to have Withdrawn from the league.

Plus, even if several schools are able to get a dissolution vote passed initially, the left behind members would instantly file a lawsuit and it would invariably come out in discovery that the departing schools were acting in contravention of the bylaws prior to that vote. That would mean that the left behind members would have a strong claim that the departing schools should have either been deemed to have Withdrawn from the conference or defined as Interested Parties that should never have been allowed to vote for dissolution. In turn, that dissolution vote would be deemed invalid and the left behind schools could continue the operations of the conference and enforce any obligations, including but not limited to GOR terms and exit penalties.

To be sure, I don’t know whether the ACC has similar language in its own bylaws. If someone out there has a copy, I would love to review it. However, if the ACC bylaws have terms that are anywhere close to the Big 12 bylaws, even attempting to dissolve the conference entirely wouldn’t get rid of the GOR because the dissolution of the league for the purpose of getting rid of the GOR would be prevented in the first place.

This goes back to a basic statement to anyone that believes that a school can “break the GOR” to leave for another league: There is NO magic legal silver bullet to break the GOR. The fact that Texas and Oklahoma still haven’t figured out how to extricate themselves from the Big 12 GOR just 2 years early (much less 14 years early in the case of any ACC school wanting to leave that league since that GOR runs until 2036) shows in real life how difficult it is to end any GOR obligations prior to their contractual termination date.

People need to stop looking at the GOR as a legal issue and start examining it as a financial issue. If a school wants to get out of its GOR obligations, then it’s going to be a purely financial decision of whether paying out a massive amount of damages to its current conference is worth it in relation to any increased rights revenue from a new conference. It could very well be the case that whatever GOR damages that a school leaving the ACC would need to pay would be more than compensated by the higher levels of rights fees in the Big Ten or SEC. However, no one should pretend that a school leaving a conference is going to “break the GOR” and get out with minimal or no damages. (Image from TV Guide)

2,242 thoughts on “Dissolution is Not a Solution to Break a Grant of Rights Agreement

  1. Stew

    Absolutely and every early exit in prior conference changes has included a payout. The dollars associated with the ACC GOR in particular are so large due to the number of years left are going to make any kind of move to be so overwhelming beneficial that a university would want to go down that road.

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  2. That was a deeply informative look at the GoR situation, and I truly appreciate you spending so much time to share your research and insight..

    As a Big Ten fan (Maryland) I have been curious who we may seek to add, in addition to USC and UCLA. I had my eye on the ACC, as well as schools that remain in the PAC 12 (Oregon/Wash/Stanford). Naturally, it’d be great to have Notre Dame finally get on board, but I’m not holding my breath. If ND becomes unviable, California could serve as that 4th school.. Regardless, I still wonder whether an ACC school will get an invite to the Big Ten and go for it. Time will tell, it always does.

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    1. z33k

      We all have our eyes on UNC and UVA (and maybe Duke right now if required).

      UNC is probably the big battleground between the Big Ten and SEC.

      Key for Big Ten is to offer a new “ACC quad” in the Big Ten of Maryland, UNC, UVA, Duke to preserve rivalries.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. vp0819

        As things stand now, such a shift probably won’t happen until 2036, by which time it likely would enlarge the Big Ten from 20 to 24 members. (If Notre Dame is already in, Georgia Tech might complete the group of ACC emigres; if ND stays independent a few years longer and the B1G decides to instead enlarge its western flank to go to 20, the Irish might bump GT as member #24.)

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      2. Andy

        The general opinion among SEC folks is that UNC has a good chance of joining the SEC, but Virginia is less likely to go to the SEC but not impossible. It could be Virginia to the Big Ten and UNC to the SEC. But it sounds like it’ll be a long time before we find out and a lot can change between now and then.

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        1. Brian

          Of course SEC people say that. And many B10 people say they’ll join the B10. I tend to think they want to stay together and both go to the same place, but I have zero evidence for that.

          Nobody really knows, especially not what they’ll decide in over a decade.

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          1. Andy

            If it’s going to be over a decade, then yes, who knows what the landscape will look like then. Impossible to say.

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        2. vp0819

          Given the century-old ties between UVa and UNC, I can’t imagine them heading for separate conferences. Both are culturally better fits for the B1G, especially with their AAU status; the SEC can solve its regional needs with non-AAU Virginia Tech and NCSU.

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  3. vp0819

    College Park to the ACC: “That’s your problem.”

    I’m also interested in the UCLA/UC Regents/Gavin Newsom controversy. Could this be resolved by enabling (or should we say “forcing”) the Big Ten to take Berkeley? Otherwise, it looks as if Cal will be relegated to the Mountain Way, an ill-suited neighborhood for a campus of that caliber.

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    1. Marc

      Could this be resolved by enabling (or should we say “forcing”) the Big Ten to take Berkeley?

      Most estimates suggest that the B1G would lose money on Cal. I think the Big Ten would not agree to lose money to placate Gavin Newsom. If the Cal politicians put their foot down, then the Big Ten says bye to UCLA and invites its next best candidate, which is probably Stanford or Washington. I do not expect it will get to that.

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      1. z33k

        Yeah it’s hard to see the path for Cal to come to the Big Ten.

        Washington and Stanford as you note would likely be ahead of them and would work as replacements. Stanford at least has the annual ND game going for them, which is probably enough to put them ahead of Cal.

        The AAU/academics situation with Oregon makes them iffy. They are considerably below Nebraska on most academic prestige metrics… so it may be a hard sell given Big Ten presidents would know if Oregon’s being told to leave the AAU.

        It sucks that we have to say things like this about a great university like Cal, but this has all become a cut-throat business.

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        1. Andy

          Correct. Nebraska is currently in 14th place and does about half as much research as #13 Iowa. Oregon does about half as much research as Nebraska. Academically they are not a fit for the Big Ten. They will almost certainly be pushed out of the AAU like Nebraska, Iowa State, and Syracuse were. Probably soon.

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    2. Brian

      vp0819,

      All the experts say Newsom and the regents don’t have the power to stop UCLA. They can punish UCLA in other ways (make them share some money with Cal, reduce funding to UCLA, etc.), though.

      But really, this is political grandstanding. Newsom knows exactly why UCLA left and how much this will help them, and USC was going to leave anyway so most of the damage to Cal was unavoidable. If USC and Stanford (or UW, or UO) were the pair leaving, the P12 would still get a similarly small new deal but both Cal and UCLA would suffer. And because the B10 had options, UCLA had no leverage to “force” an invitation for Cal.

      UCLA probably should’ve been a little more open with the regents right before the move. Have a private meeting and explain the move to them, and how they had no power to help Cal in this scenario.

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  4. Nathan

    Here’s what I think is going to happen in the short term: nothing.

    – PAC-12 will stay at 10 (maybe rename themselves again) because no Big XII team will move (the money will essentially be no different, it’ll cost to much to leave, and who wants a mostly PST schedule) and any MWC team will just dilute per-school payments.

    – BIG XII will stay on the same path (onboarding new schools, departing OU & TX). I think if there’s an additional move to be made the 4 corners moving over would be it, but I still think that’s less than a 50% chance. Again, the money will probably not be all that different, and better the devil you know.

    – ND will stay independent. They’ll get a good bump from NBC. Maybe not the $75 m total they want, but enough to stay independent for the forceable future.

    – Big 10 will stay at 16. Unless ND comes there’s just nothing else available that’s worth it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t structure their new contract to end right around the time the ACC GOR ends just in case, but no movement until 2030 at the earliest.

    – SEC: see Big 10

    – ACC: are stuck with their lot in life. ESPN may throw them a small bone or two for a minor uptick in revenue, but unless they get something back why would ESPN renegotiate a contract that’s pretty favorable to them?

    Its been fun to speculate, but I think (at the P2+Other 3 level) we’re basically done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bullet

      I’m inclined to agree with you. But eventually I think Notre Dame goes to the Big 10. And sometime around the mid 2030s, we go through another, major, unpredictable round of realignment.

      I don’t necessarily think it will cost a gazillion dollars to leave the ACC early. But it would require everyone to make more money, starting with ESPN. The extra advertising for FSU and UNC in the SEC would have to exceed the drop in the ACC and the extra rights fees. I have no idea if this would be the case. The ACC would most likely make more money in this scenario, so they would be inclined to let FSU and UNC go. The ACC is undervalued, so ESPN would almost certainly have to keep the rights fees the same, which, when divided 12 ways instead of 14, means more for everyone–the 12 remaining, FSU, UNC and ESPN. But again, that is all dependent on more big matchups in the SEC making more net for ESPN. Otherwise ESPN will torpedo it like Fox and ESPN shut down Big 12 expansion a few years back and the Pac 16 idea. Then you get back to a gazillion dollars to leave early.

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    2. Mike


      – PAC-12 will stay at 10 (maybe rename themselves again) because no Big XII team will move (the money will essentially be no different, it’ll cost to much to leave, and who wants a mostly PST schedule) and any MWC team will just dilute per-school payments.

      Given all the noise from the Big 12 about raiding the PAC, I feel like they will almost have to attempt expansion. My first choice would be to invite the entire ACC, but who knows if that’s even feasible. If that doesn’t work, invite Houston, TCU, Kansas, and Iowa St (Baylor and Texas Tech if the money’s right for 16). I feel it would be extraordinarily hard for those schools to turn down a relationship with Cal, Stanford, Utah, and Colorado even if the money is similar. It would effectively turn the Big 12 into the AAC and stabilize the PAC if there is another Big Ten defection.

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    3. Nathan, I concur with your analysis. The Big ten and SEC will stay at 16 each until circa 2036 and ND will stay “independent” and try to milk $75 million out of NBC for what the network now pays $15 million/ yr. Two issues with that:

      1. Is five obligated games to ACC cupcakes plus three dedicated annual games to USC, Stanford and Navy “independence”? It sounds a lot like a school in a conference right now.

      2. Who is going to be the “shoulder buddies” with ND to elevate NBC’s sinking ND home game platform? Going from $15 million to $75 million is quintupling ND’s payout from NBC. What games from what conference will bring enough eyeballs to justify that?

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      1. Brian

        Colin,

        I mostly agree with you here.

        1. ND gets 1 of the big ACC brands every year plus 4 cupcakes. Most importantly for them, that moves their games around geographically. They also move the Navy game around a bit. But as conferences get larger, the ND schedule does look more and more like a conference schedule where you only play teams every other year, or even once every 3 years.

        2. The ND deal averages $15M per year, but is around $22M now. So it’s “only” going up 3.5 times. Also remember that the SEC’s CBS package went up almost 6x ($55M to around $300M) because it was so undervalued. ND’s deal is old and undervalued as well.

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      2. Marc

        Is five obligated games to ACC cupcakes plus three dedicated annual games to USC, Stanford and Navy “independence”? It sounds a lot like a school in a conference right now.

        They played the dedicated USC, Stanford, and Navy games before they joined the ACC. Those are games they want every year, but they could drop them if they so desired. Even before joining the ACC, they typically played 2–3 of those teams per year anyway, so the jump up to 5 was not that substantial. All they did was to drop Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, which were previously annual or nearly so.

        I always thought that ND was in a “synthetic conference,” with most of their schedule consisting of teams they played regularly—almost as if they were in a conference. Half-joining the ACC was not that much of a change.

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        1. Brian

          That’s part of why the olden days of conferences bothered them. In the B10 they’d play 8 of 10 or 11 teams every year, plus 2-3 of their other rivals (USC, Navy, maybe Stanford). That leaves very little control of their schedule, and might turn off their fans. But in an 18 team B10 that includes USC, the schedule has a lot more variety.

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        2. I know a LOT of actual Notre Dame alums (not just T-shirt fans). What a lot of non-ND people don’t understand is that independence isn’t merely about football scheduling or the NBC TB contract, but rather a core part of the school’s institutional identity. Being an independent school is essentially just right below being a Catholic school in terms of being a core institutional value. That goes far beyond football and why all of the “logical” arguments that ND is more than halfway to being a conference member anyway completely falls on deaf ears with Domers.

          Also note that the financial power of ND doesn’t come from a handful of mega-donors (a la Phil Knight at Oregon) or the administration, but rather the collective mass of the whole ND alumni base that effectively tithes donations to the school as if it were the Catholic Church itself.

          That means that even though ND might be the most elitist school in all of college football, it’s also very populist in its decision-making in the sense that it truly depends on its whole alumni base being happy. At 99% of schools, the threat of unhappy alums is generally an empty one, but it’s a very real threat at ND. The school has a fundraising operation that makes even places like Ohio State and Alabama look like the minor leagues by comparison and that money means a lot more to ND’s financial picture than any additional TV money.

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          1. Brian

            Frank,

            I’ve always felt that feelings about independence and specific conferences is a bit generational among ND fans. Nobody that was around for Yost’s behavior is still alive. Few people that were around for decisions made during the war are still alive (so feelings about Navy vary). Younger alumni don’t feel the exact same way as older alumni about these issues. Over time, you see the feelings changing. All these years in the ACC for all sports and half in for football is having a little impact on their views.

            I agree that independence is important to them, but even they have stated 3 things are more important (and none of them were Catholicism, so we’ll assume that’s an understood 4th thing). They need to keep up reasonably well financially, they need a “fair” path to a championship, and they need a committed TV partner. I’d say another one is a place to park their other sports.

            I think money and a TV partner are always likely to be there for them. But if NFL lite happens, they will have to make a choice. To win the title, you have to be in the league. You can’t have an independent in a superleague scenario. I doubt the next CFP iteration will be a problem, but the 3rd version might. If the B10 and SEC start to really dominate due to their financial edge, will ND be happy playing 5 ACC games a year if it is considered as lesser conference?

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          2. frug

            I agree with Brian. While independence is very much an identity issue for ND’s most devoted fans, their absolute devotion to maintaining it seems to have softened in recent years. I was looking at some of the ND fanboards and subreddits, and comparing them to 12 years ago, it’s shocking how much more open the Irish faithful are to joining the Big Ten. Indeed, after the USC and UCLA announcement, the official ND subreddit put up a poll asking respondents to choose between maintaining independence, joining the Big Ten, and joining the ACC and the absolute majority voted in favor of joining the Big Ten. Now that is not necessarily a fair sample of ND donors, but it certainly suggests that football independence is no longer quite the priority it used to be.

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          3. Frank: “What a lot of non-ND people don’t understand is that independence isn’t merely about football scheduling or the NBC TB contract, but rather a core part of the school’s institutional identity.”

            I think we’re all well aware of that. Call it snob factor, elitism, whatever. For years the domers have been squealing that they are a NATIONAL school, not a regional school in a conference.

            It would obviously be far more practical for scheduling all other sports if a school is in a conference, hence ND’s affiliation with the ACC. And of course the logistics of team travel are easier for any school if they belong to a local conference.

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          4. RM

            Well, good thoughts, but ND’s Olympic sports are all members of the ACC. For ND, Independence is really about football, it’s national brand and owning their scheduling despite what a few tailgating fans think.

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    4. Andy

      I think the SEC stays as is for the next 10+ years.

      The Big Ten probably adds Notre Dame and Stanford. Then stays at 18 for 10+ years.

      There will be movement with the Pac. It won’t say as it is. It’ll either expand or break apart.

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    5. PennState Danny

      I’m hoping we start referring to the FBS conferences as the Power 2 and the Group of 8.

      I also hope we stop referring to the highest level as ‘FBS’.

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      1. Brian

        Danny,

        I don’t think conference terminology will change until realignment settles down. I don’t think G8 will catch on, as the middle 3 are well above the level of the G5 at the moment. The AAC has been the dominant G5 conference for a while, but it just lost its top 3 programs to the B12. The brings the MWC back into the discussion as the top G5, but it’s still well behind the middle 3.

        If things stop as they are, it could be P2, M3, G5 but I think P5 and G5 will stick.

        If the P12 loses 8 members, then the B12 could be part of a P4 with a G5 where the P12 remnants absorb the MWC but stay a G5.

        For all this talk of a P2, the ACC is the the other conference that has been dominating the CFP title game lately. It seems a little premature to demote them from the top echelon just because they will fall further behind financially. I think the P5 (or P4) will maintain clear separation from the G5.

        When I think the nomenclature might change:
        * If in the 2030s further realignment drastically changes things
        * If after a prolonged period of the B10 and SEC running away in money, the same results show on the field
        * If structural changes to CFB (like some conferences paying players, or different numbers of coaches/scholarships, etc.) create new groupings

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  5. Marc

    I think it’s probable that the ACC bylaws have a very similar provision. The ACC would no doubt have asked what other conferences had done, and in this small world, I bet there is someone who was happy to tell them.

    It’s interesting that Texas agreed to those bylaws—or is not known to have disagreed. Those rules make it awfully difficult on the teams that leave, and it was reasonably predictable that they were going to do that some point, or at least to consider it.

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    1. Little8

      Texas and Oklahoma agreed due to timing. They were just informed that there would be no haircut due to A&M and MO leaving, but any additions would be dilutive (sort of where P12 is now). Both wanted to continue the B12 with 10 schools. Texas had it new Longhorn network and that was not compatible with other conferences. If Texas had a crystal ball that told them their on field football performance would suck for the next 10 years and that the only thing worse than LHN would be the P12N I doubt Texas would have signed. It was designed by the Little8 to prevent TX and OK from bolting and it seems to have done its job, at least up to its expiration date.

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      1. Marc

        It is hard to create a new team and make it popular. It is also hard to lose popularity once it has been acquired. College football has fan support that built up over generations, and that has tended to persist, no matter how they change it.

        College football already IS the de facto minor league for the NFL, and has been for a long time. Players have been “paid” in various ways for decades, both legally and illegally. Thus far, it has not mattered much to the sport’s popularity.

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        1. I think the true red line is whether the players are students or not. If they are, it’s still college football and will survive NIL, transfer portal, players being employees, collective bargaining, etc. If the players no longer attend the schools and the teams are merely “sponsored” by the universities, then college football is done and the popularity will crater.

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          1. Richard

            I suppose we’ll see about any of that. Paid athletes competing in the Olympics didn’t kill the Olympics. Neither did unions kill the pro sports (strikes had an effect, but any strikes do to any business). In the end, the majority of fans are cheering for jerseys with some cheering for specific athletes.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Marc,

          Attendance is down. There is mixed evidence on CFB TV ratings. Certainly some teams have lost fan support as they’ve been winning less (NE, TN, FSU, …). As the B10 and SEC pull away from the rest financially, the G5 and even other P5 fans may lose interest. The latest changes are having some impact.

          Like

      2. Brian

        Bob,

        https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2022/07/usfl-championship-ratings-most-watched-since-opening-weekend/

        Apparently some people do watch the USFL. They average 715k viewers per game in the regular season, with 1.52M for the title game. The first 2 games of the season drew 3.07M and 2.15M.

        In the current era of television, the USFL title game ranked 46th out of the 63 total primetime shows on the “Big Four” last week, including a middle-of-the-road sixth out of the 11 on FOX — behind the previous night’s Major League Baseball coverage (1.89M), “WWE Smackdown” last Friday (2.14M), “Masterchef” last Wednesday (2.23M) and the pairing of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” (1.82M) and “Beat Shazam” (1.81M) the preceding Monday.

        The ratings aren’t great, but it takes time to develop a new fan base and get people used to football in spring. On the other hand, 13 of 20 XFL games from 2 years ago beat the USFL title game in viewers. So it’s not super-popular.

        But as with CFB, it’s very local. In part that’s because all the teams played in one city. The league wants to change that for next year, thinking fans will get more excited if the local team actually plays locally. Birmingham fans only attended their teams games (12-17k), with just a few hundred at other games.

        Locally, the game averaged a whopping 11.0 rating and 24 share in Birmingham, Ala., home of the champion Stallions and host to most of the USFL season.

        Many of the USFL’s top local markets were cities that also watch a lot of CFB, and not cities with USFL teams. One big problem for the USFL is that the NFL cities paid no attention at all (why watch AAA when the majors are in your town?).

        Like

    1. Brian

      https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34262479/penn-state-qb-sean-clifford-big-ten-commissioner-kevin-warren-discuss-improving-benefits

      Big Ten football players have had conversations with league commissioner Kevin Warren this week about giving athletes a bigger voice in the future and about improving a variety of benefits for players. Warren also spoke with the leader of a nascent players association about the possibility of having an independent group represent the players in conversations with the league.

      He said he and the other players he has spoken with have no intention of creating a union or entering a contentious negotiation with the league at this point.

      Clifford said thus far his conversations with Warren have focused on standardized medical care for players after their college careers have come to an end. He said Warren and leaders at Penn State have been receptive to the initial conversations about how to make a variety of improvements for players and former players.

      Stahl spoke to Warren earlier this week about a trio of initial topics the CFBPA wants to negotiate with the Big Ten:

      • A representative on each campus who can advocate for players during medical situations or other disputes. The representative would be hired by the CFBPA and serve an on-site role similar to the player representatives in professional sports unions;
      • Funds from the conference to purchase medical insurance policies for former players that would cover the treatment of injuries from their college football careers;
      • A to-be-determined percentage of media rights revenue for players.

      I see no problem with most of that. I see no need to provide additional revenue sharing to amateur players who get free everything (room and bard, tuition, books, tutors, physical trainers, elite coaching, elite faciltities, …), especially when most fans support the name on the front of the jersey more than the one on the back (unlike many pro fans).

      Like

      1. Little8

        Revenue sharing raises all types of issues.
        >> How is revenue shared with Basketball and all of the Olympic sports?
        >> What are the Title IX implications (I am sure women’s organizations will be suing for half)?
        >> Is the B1G (+SEC?) trying to make revenue sharing the only legal form of payment to players where they have a very large advantage (i.e., Booster payments illegal)?
        >> To stay competitive will other conferences change the D1 rules to gut the non-revenue sports?
        >> If revenue is shared that comes directly from the conference/shcool; hard to deny that is not an employer – employee relationship. As such can unions be far behind? Unfair labor practice suits?
        >> Since the majority of colleges lose money on sports will states force schools to drop sports or drop down by preventing the use of any state money or student fees to support this spending?

        Like

        1. Brian

          It does, and that’s one reason I pointed it out as a problem. Things like health insurance seem like reasonable topics for athletes to bring up.

          If they’re asking for revenue sharing, it’ll be by sport. Football players will want the football money, MBB players will want the hoops money, and everyone else gets a share of what they can make. Of course, how do you assign BTN money? Will anything shown on BTN claim it makes revenue, so athletes deserve a share? And note that they mention revenue sharing, not profit sharing.

          Women’s sports have the opportunity to earn revenue. That should be fine. Title IX is about equal opportunities, not equal outcomes. Nobody can promise that field hockey will be as popular as football.

          I doubt either would support revenue sharing. They can still dominate via NIL, plus keep their revenue.

          They might reduce the required number of sports for D-I membership, but not too much because they are trying to shrink the top level. Just having football forces multiple women’s sports for Title IX. Maybe the non-revenues get moved to a no-revenue streaming source from BTN so there’s nothing to share with them.

          That’s a legal question. It might mean that. Or they may get called employees first, with unions coming later, and then revenue sharing.

          I don’t think they’d try top prevent schools from funding all sports, but some might demand that the revenue sports must be self-supporting. Why punish women’s tennis?

          Like

          1. I question the appetite of states and student/parents to fund athletic departments in the new age of semi-pro teams. This is more about the bottom 70% of D1 rather than the SEC/B1G. About half of the 230 D1 athletic departments at public universities get more revenue from mandatory student fees than they get from television. Why should students/parents be forced to support women’s (or men’s) tennis as a condition of attending a state school that their tax dollars are paying for? Typically, these fees are $500-$1000 per year. In the worst cases over 10% of the total tuition/fees is going to subsidize the athletic department. None of this is used for club sports or recreational facilities (those are different fees typically $100-$200 per year if broken out). Even if legal it is morally obscene to tax students to pay for coaches making $1M+.

            Over 1/3 of athletic revenue comes from student fees at 27% of D1 public schools, with over 20% of revenue at 42% of the schools. Even Auburn gets 4% of revenue from mandatory student fees. Excluding Rutgers/Maryland (12%; should go down with full shares) Illinois is the worst offender in the B1G with 3%. The ACC and P12 have several schools with a high percentage of revenue from these fees (VA 13%, VT 10%, ASU 10%, UNC 9%, NCSU 8%, Utah 7%). Some of this may be due to better reporting requirements in VA/NC since most schools try to hide these subsidies (what is reported in the article is the minimum). The B12 had 3 schools at 4% but the new G5 invitees ranged from Cincinnati at 0% to UCF at 37%.

            At a minimum these athletic departments should be running with no mandatory student fees. The revenue sports need to support any other sports required for legal (Title IX) and regulatory (NCAA D1) reasons. That is why the minimum number of sports may decrease since there are a lot more have nots (<25% of public D1 are P5) than haves, and it will be far easier to change NCAA rules than Title IX. Public schools should trim their sports business to what they can support from TV, tickets, donations, etc. If the trim is announced, like Stanford did, they may get donations to keep some of the programs going. It will at least identify what the donors care about.

            I actually expect mandatory fees to increase by another 50%-100% before anything is done about them. It is just too easy for university presidents to increase them.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Little 8,

            Athletics are part of the college experience at most schools. The administration has decided that they are important to the students and the school. They have to be paid for somehow. There is pressure to keep tuition down, so they use a separate fee instead (or other revenue sources).

            Tax dollars barely pay for anything anymore. They make up a small fraction of the budget of large schools. And most of the coaches at these smaller schools are making much less than $1M. The top coach in the MAC gets $1.2M, and #2 gets $840k. Some in the MAC make less than $500k.

            Almost as much of the fee money goes towards scholarships as to coaches and staff. One problem is the NCAA requiring 16 sports to be I-A. Combine that with Title IX, and there are a lot of coaches, scholarships and facilities to pay for in order to play I-A football.

            The haves are thinking about raising what it takes to stay in the top level, not drop it. Keeping the number of sports high is one way to create separation without the optics of kicking anyone out. Make them choose to drop down as with the I-A/I-AA split.

            It is virtually impossible for a lower-level school to run an AD fully supported by TV, tickets, and donations. Consider D-I Cleveland State. They made about $2.3M in revenue, including less than $205k from ticket sales. They give out only 127.35 scholarships (split among 262 of their 359 athletes), but those cost over $3.7M. They could only support 79 scholarships from what they earn, and that’s with no coaches or staff or facilities. They would have to drop to D-III, and even then I think they would lose money if they played intercollegiate sports.

            You are essentially saying that only the P5 should play intercollegiate sports, and all other state schools should only play intramurals and club sports. What sort of blow is that to those schools?

            Like

          3. Richard

            Is it actually a blow? The fundamental reason for universities is education and research. In Canada, the U.K., in fact, nearly everywhere else in the world, college athletics are indeed just intramurals and club sports. If, as in the case of Cleveland St., very few people pay to watch the college athletes, meaning very few people care about Cleveland St. sports, why should Cleveland St. dropping down to Div III be considered a blow?

            Like

  6. z33k

    We all have our eyes on UNC and UVA (and maybe Duke right now if required).

    UNC is probably the big battleground between the Big Ten and SEC.

    Key for Big Ten is to offer a new “ACC quad” in the Big Ten of Maryland, UNC, UVA, Duke to preserve rivalries.

    Like

    1. Marc

      What will they do if Notre Dame gets the money it wants from NBC, and remains independent? The Big Ten is not going to add three teams. Either they need to add a fourth, or one of the UNC-UVA-Duke trio does not come in.

      When the former UNC president was interviewed about potentially leaving the ACC, the major rivalries he mentioned were Duke and N.C. State. The Big Ten won’t take N.C. State, but maybe they stop at UNC+Duke if they are not getting Notre Dame.

      Like

      1. z33k

        I think you take the 3 in 2032 and then have 2-3 years to talk to ND.

        If ND turns you down, probably grab Washington or Miami or Ga Tech or VA tech as #20.

        I think Washington, Virginia, UNC, Duke should pay for itself but it may be close.

        3 largest states not in either Big Ten or SEC. Plenty of large markets there.

        Is that worth a move past 18?

        Nobody can say for sure right now, so you may be right that it’s just UNC+1 in play.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Only 2 things I feel reasonably confident in saying is ND+1 and UNC+1 make financial sense.

          UNC+3 likely depends on the makeup of the 3.

          For the SEC, UNC + UVA + Clemson + FSU would probably work easily.

          For the Big Ten, it’s harder if you’re replacing Clemson/FSU with Duke +1.

          That national football tv value is an issue to justify UNC+3 without the right 3.

          Like

    2. “We all have our eyes on UNC and UVA (and maybe Duke right now if required). UNC is probably the big battleground between the Big Ten and SEC.”

      Z33k, no offense but I don’t think there is any campaign by the Big Ten to bring in any ACC schools. Frank has already explained that those schools are mummified until 2036.

      Like

    3. Brian

      z33k,

      I don’t think that specific quad is key. #4 could be Duke, but it could also be ND, or GT. I struggle to see Miami getting invited, but they would bring access to FL so it’s possible. I also doubt V Tor NCSU are B10 candidates.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I just mean that’s theoretically how you’d sell UVA and UNC on coming; they’d have a ready made rivalry to renew and yeah I’m not sure what happens with Duke.

        It’s hard to say what the value of Duke is; extra visits to NC/Mid-atlantic is nice along with rivalry with UNC especially in basketball, but doubt that’s worth anywhere near $100 million a year.

        So question is how or whether to justify it.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Sure you sell UVA and UNC on UMD already being there. And on the strength of B10 lacrosse. And on B10 hoops. The fourth in their quad could be RU if ND isn’t coming. Nobody else wants RU anyway, and being coastal they might in better.

          https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2021/03/duke-unc-ratings-low-msu-michigan-college-basketball/

          Their hoops is very valuable, especially that rivalry. The lowest rated version since 2007 still drew 1.87M viewers both times and were tied for the 6th most-watched regular season MBB games last season. #1 was OSU-MI at 2.63M, and #2 was 2.13M. The year before, Duke/UNC drew 4.16M and 2.23M. The B10 was involved in 6 of the top 10 games last year, including 5 of the top 6.

          By contrast, last year’s Duke-UNC final four game drew 17.7M viewers. It was the 3rd largest cable MBB game ever (behind 2 title games), and 5th best semifinal on any network in the past 20 years. It beat the Oscars show the previous week. The other semi drew a paltry 11.7M.

          But I agree, with UNC bringing the state, Duke brings limited financial value. But their academics are great, so maybe that sweetens the pot (or balances out also getting Miami).

          Like

          1. z33k

            It’s interesting to think about in value terms, a Big Ten with UNC, UVA, Duke, UCLA would have to basically have like most of the top 50 rated games for cbb every year you’d assume.

            Would be interesting to see just how much the basketball side of that could potentially be worth…

            And I’d assume that kind of league gets like 12-15 bids in some years to the tournament…; just insane to think about…

            Could have a run in cbb like what SEC has done in cfb.

            Like

          2. z33k

            The reason why I say this is because there’s potentially a force multiplier effect from basically monopolizing cbb.

            Say the Big Ten charges $15 million a year per school for cbb tv.

            If you add UNC, UVA, Duke and effectively monopolize the big games in cbb, maybe you could increase that to $25 million per school by making an effective monopoly of big brand cbb.

            Or $30 million. Even ESPN would want to get back into that for access to those games and would be willing to pay big.

            So yeah who knows but maybe there’s something to be said for trying to go for UNC, UVA, Duke as a trio financially.

            An extra $10 million per school in a 20 team Big Ten is $200 million which goes a long way to paying for those additions.

            Football drives the bus but a basketball monopoly of big brand games could be something that moves the needle over time.

            Like

          3. Richard

            Only if you can somehow monopolize the postseason too or change the postseason format.

            Right now, the MBB regular season just doesn’t matter that much.

            Like

          4. z33k

            MBB regular season doesn’t matter that much, but games that generate >1 million viewers still carry value.

            And if you go from owning 40% of those to 70%, you can dramatically increase the price that you charge because you’ve gone from being the largest plurality owner to being a monopoly.

            So the prices you charge when you own 40% of 1+ million viewer games might be $15 million per school, but at 70% of 1+ million viewer games, you can charge $25-30 million per school even if you’ve taken on 4 extra schools to do it.

            There’s a force multiplier effect from monopolizing the big brand games of cbb.

            I think there’s something there that may create a financial windfall from adding UNC, UVA, Duke to a Big Ten with UCLA.

            That’s a lot of big brand basketball games in conference play; probably the majority of it, i.e. a potential monopoly could develop.

            Like

          5. Richard

            Monopoly? UK, KU, Louisville, and Cuse would still exist (besides the BE and others) and they’re not joining the B10 under any scenario.

            Like

          6. z33k

            @Richard but who are they playing and how many times can those teams generate 1 million viewership games in their conferences compared to a conference with UNC, UVA, Duke, UCLA, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio State, etc.

            If you reach a point where Big Ten matchups are generating 70% of the 1 million+ viewership games, that’s basically a point at which the Big Ten can exert monopoly-like power in raising prices on its basketball tv rights.

            That’s a point at which you can charge an extra $10-15 million per team than you could before when the 1 million viewership games were more spread out and the Big Ten had <50% of them.

            ESPN would have to bid on Big Ten basketball rights, and pretty much everyone else would have to…

            Like

        2. I’ve been thinking about the hidden gem aspect of college basketball, too. I think that one of the best gambits in getting UNC is to tell them Kansas and Duke will get offers (along with Virginia).

          A league with Indiana, UCLA, Kansas, Duke, and NC will command whatever price they want from networks. And it will allow the BIG to significantly impact March Madness and the billions it brings in.

          If you are a Kansas to the BIG fan, then this is your avenue–use them to convince UNC to join.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Matt,

            It’s really hard to see how KU could bring $100M of value to the B10. Their football program is G5 level at best, and CFB is 80-85% of TV revenue. We already have RU, we don’t need to add an even worse team in the plains.

            KS is a low population state. KC is a decent market, but not huge (#34 – similar to Columbus or Asheville, NC – the 3rd market in NC). KU hoops is great, but they can’t pay for themselves solely with hoops.

            Duke has a slight chance because UNC might ask for them, they are an elite academic school (KU is barely AAU), NC has over 10M residents (KS is less than 3M), and the Duke-UNC hoops rivalry is uniquely valuable for hoops.

            UNC isn’t going to make their decision based on KU hoops. They’d also have to play them in all the other sports, and that’s a huge negative.

            Like

          2. Richard

            Yeah, the networks aren’t going to pay even a league with all the top MBB programs (and let’s be honest, the B10 isn’t adding UK, Louisville, or Cuse. . .or Gonzaga) simply any named asking price.

            MBB regular season games just don’t draw the eyeballs.

            Like

    4. Andy

      As I said above, SEC people seem pretty confident that they can get UNC, but less confident about Virginia. But it’s going to be 10 years in the future so a lot can change in either direction between now and then so who knows?

      Like

    5. Richard

      Actually, all eyes are on ND right now, and who knows what the landscape will look like in a decade when the ACC starts to break up.

      I believe there are positive externalities (network effects) from adding Stanford, Cal, UW, Miami, GTech along with ND. I’d add UVa, UNC, and Duke if possible, sure, but pretty much everyone on that list who isn’t ND isn’t on the same tier as ND.

      Like

  7. Doug

    Maybe some of the lawyers on here could comment. What if a school were able to show that during the GOR discussion Swofford/ACC made a Material Misrepresentation. Would that be a basis for voiding the contract?

    Like

    1. Marc

      It absolutely could be, but it would be a bear to prove that, and what if you lose? No school could be confident about that, and the liability if you’re wrong is in the stratosphere.

      Like

    2. z33k

      Highly doubt any school would ever be willing to allege that given the difficulty of proving the case.

      As ESPN has reported, several schools have traveled to the ACC offices to have their lawyers check the GoR language.

      Other conferences also likely don’t want to be involved in bailing out a school that tries to challenge it and instead has to pay the ACC $300+ million to leave or in damages.

      It’s why the SEC is stating openly that Texas/OU exits from the Big 12 are entirely up to those 2 schools and the Big 12.

      It’s why Texas/OU say at every opportunity that they plan to fulfill all of their contractual obligations (including GoR) to the Big 12.

      Nobody wants to get sued for tortious interference or anything else.

      And no school wants to try to challenge a GoR with 14 years left if it could result in huge financial liability if/when the conference countersues.

      Like

    3. Marc

      Bear in mind, these are sophisticated parties. They had lawyers, and good ones. They could not merely allege that they didn’t realize what they were getting into. It would have to be a material misrepresentation known to Swofford but not to the schools at the time. The odds such a thing exists are pretty low.

      Like

    4. Alan from Baton Rouge

      The “they talked fancy to us” defense is typically a loser. Everyone was lawyered up, or they should have been.

      I deal more with laws and rules, not contracts. The best I can come up with is maybe a North Carolina state judge could say that the ACC bylaws and GoR are against public policy. Not sure if there’s a public policy in NC that allows a state university to get out of a contract in order to make more money, possibly to the detriment of another state (NC State) university.

      Like

  8. EndeavorWMEdani

    If ND joins, they’ll likely come in with Stanford. Even if the Irish decide to forestall the inevitable, I don’t believe the B1G is done in the west.

    Like

        1. Kevin

          If they share I would prefer it only include post season money from the playoff and tourney. Schools need the regular season money to fund the programs.

          I use to be against all of this but when you have Kirby now raking in 11-12million I think it has to happen. Coaching pay in college is now exceeding the NFL in most circumstances.

          Like

          1. Jersey Bernie

            Using only post season money would mean that if a team does not make a bowl will not have funds to share. Even then many of the bowls really do not make much for the teams. Maybe getting the Sweet 16 will produce a little money.

            The function behind sharing is for the players. Telling them that we made a second tier bowl and will not have much money probably will not work so well.

            Like

          2. Kevin

            I am suggesting post season money is evenly shared amongst conference members. The conference would evenly distribute to the players. The reality is it won’t lead to big payouts to the players. They aren’t sharing 50% like the NFL.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Doug,

          Those are 2 completely separate things. Revenue sharing won’t prevent the current NIL chaos from continuing. Players will still be able to chase NIL deals, they’d just also get a check from revenue sharing.

          Maybe the schools will point out how much revenue they are already sharing (facilities, tuition, room and board, coaching, trainers, therapy, tutors, clothing, free advertising, …). In essence, the players are saying the schools should cut other sports, or at least their financial support, so they can get paid even more. Or the schools should stop giving money to the academic side of the school where it helps reduce tuition and fees for students. If it ever happens, they should directly blame the revenue sports players as they announce the cutting of other sports and/or a raise in tuition and fees.

          Like

          1. Richard

            The athletes, like most people, would probably prefer to be paid with money rather than with stuff like a fancy gym/locker room. And only some of them value an education.

            Like

  9. Pingback: A couple of ACC realignment myths you can stop paying attention to. » All Sports Discussion

  10. Brian

    Some in the twitterverse are reading a lot into how Andrew Marchand phrased this tweet (“If” and “its”). Jason Benetti is in Chicago and also announces MLB, but would’ve been a top option for NBC if they needed a 2nd CFB announcer team (for the “shoulder programming” games).

    Like

    1. Not sure if that means NBC is finalizing a deal with the Big Ten or that it’s out of the Big Ten race (or as you’ve noted, reading into too much).

      Separately, I’m a White Sox fan, so I see a lot of Jason Benetti. He has also had an increased presence on college football and college basketball on ESPN over the past couple of years (including many Big Ten games). Benetti is an *excellent* announcer and very deserving of increasingly more high profile roles.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Marc

      NBC has not confirmed its broadcast booth for Notre Dame football, at least not that I could find. Mike Tirico has had play by play the last few years, but he is taking over the NFL Sunday Night package from Al Michaels. It is certainly possible for Tirico to call games on consecutive days, especially as ND is only 7 weeks of the season.

      Like

      1. Brian

        Rumors say Jac Collinsworth to replace Tirico, and Jason Garrett to replace Drew Brees. But I haven’t seen anything official either.

        Like

  11. Brian

    Frank, just FYI:

    Like

    1. z33k

      How likely is it that VT or any college campus keeps the latest version (though might be older versions somewhere)?

      These days due to FOIA requests, many of these types of documents/contracts are kept only at the league office (which is immune to those requests).

      Maybe old versions of contracts (like the older ACC GoR) are kept at a random university, I’d imagine only league offices keep the proprietary information.

      Just as an example, Rutgers, Maryland and likely Nebraska don’t have their contracts to enter the Big Ten.

      Nobody at Maryland or Rutgers can tell you what those documents say unless they check with the Big Ten. Rutgers couldn’t tell the NJ media what their entry deal said.

      Like

      1. Since I posted today, I’ve had a couple of people reach out that would know better than me that the ACC bylaws are apparently truly under lock and key at the conference office (e.g. there’s a physical copy in one room, no one can make copies, etc.).

        Like

        1. Brian

          This is what camera phones are for (though they are likely banned from that room).

          Someone needs to do a caper film about some fans breaking into conference HQ to get the top secret contracts and expose them to save CFB (Oceans 14?). It’s no worse of a story than half of what Hollywood pumps out, and might be more believable (of course Disney would give them all superpowers).

          Like

        2. bob sykes

          They told you nonsense. That is not how organizations (individuals) handle contracts.Each school will (must by law) have its own copy, and so will their lawyers. So there are at least 30 or more copies out there somewhere. Access is a different matter.

          Like

          1. z33k

            @bob sykes

            That is absolutely *not* true.

            NJ media (and DC media) have sent dozens of FOIA requests to Rutgers and Maryland to obtain Big Ten documentation and nothing has turned up.

            Rutgers told NJ media they have none of their Big Ten entry contracts and don’t have any documentation on Big Ten constitution/bylaws.

            I don’t know who told you that, but none of that is true.

            The conferences have learned that the only way to shield their documents from the public is to only keep them at the league offices.

            Like

          2. z33k

            The schools can certainly go and view the documents at any time they wish; if the Rutgers leadership wants to check their entry contract then they must go to Rosemont.

            Same for the newer ACC grant of rights; only the ACC league office has that 2nd GoR contract as far as we know.

            ESPN has reported that several schools have had their teams of lawyers go to the ACC offices to comb over the GoR language.

            None of the schools have the newer ACC GoR contract in their school offices.

            Like

        3. frug

          FWIW, I do remember that a copy of the ACC’s Constitution and Bylaws were included in the lawsuit Maryland filed against the ACC when the Terps announced they were leaving.

          Admittedly, they would be over a dozen years old now, but as far as I know, it is the only time they have ever been made public.

          Like

          1. z33k

            I’d imagine also Maryland leaving is partially why the ACC must have become protective of its documents, other reason would have been the flurry of FOIA requests (i.e. newer GoR is only at the ACC offices).

            Like

          2. z33k

            @Colin

            Yeah that’s a good catch.

            They’ve succeeded to the extent that FOIA requests to Rutgers and Maryland with respect to the Big Ten have turned up nothing.

            Like

      2. Brian

        Oh, I highly doubt he’ll get it.

        But after Newsom’s rant about transparency, it’ll be interesting to see if any officials from ACC-land speak up about why nobody can see the deals trapping state schools in a terrible contract.

        Frankly, I think the B10’s lack of transparency is problematic as well. Legal, but problematic. I’d love to see a state government stir things up about these hidden contracts. It’d probably need to be the state where the conference HQ is.

        Or maybe the feds will get involved as they keep looking into college athletics. Without an anti-trust exemption, college sports are headed for even more legal issues.

        Like

        1. z33k

          I think you’re right on the transparency aspect being troubling to an extent.

          These state universities/institutions have signed away their media rights to conferences and nobody can see the conference documentation unless they go to the league offices.

          There is a troubling aspect to that. And there could be anti-trust issues related to the conferences as you mention or the Feds could come poking around the SEC and Big Ten to see what kind of power they have as the biggest conferences in terms of media $.

          Like with Rutgers, nobody knows the deal that Rutgers signed to enter the Big Ten, and the same applies to UCLA. Even the current leadership at Rutgers has said they don’t really know what’s on those contracts because an older regime signed them. Obviously they could take a trip to see, but the fact that they would have to is troubling.

          UCLA probably has no documentation despite signing some kind of entry deal and perhaps already signing a GoR from 2024 to 2030+ with the Big Ten (which would prevent them from undoing the move to the Big Ten).

          Obviously Newsom/UC regents won’t be able to get access to any UCLA-Big Ten contract since they’re all in Rosemont. It isn’t a great thing for the public when so much of this comes off as shadow deals.

          Like

          1. Marc

            I never knew before today that the schools do not have copies of the contracts they signed. It is remarkable to be bound by a set of bylaws, and you don’t even know what they say.

            Obviously Newsom/UC regents won’t be able to get access to any UCLA-Big Ten contract since they’re all in Rosemont. It isn’t a great thing for the public when so much of this comes off as shadow deals.

            I don’t think it’s widely known that the schools have no copies, since it was news to a number of us on this forum, and we are more plugged into this issue than most.

            I have to think the conference is required to grant access to boards of regents. If a school’s own board were not allowed to know what it is committed to, that has to be a problem.

            Like

          2. Marc: “I never knew before today that the schools do not have copies of the contracts they signed.”

            I believe this began about twelve years ago when people started filing FOIAs against public schools to get copies of contracts and emails for coaches, conferences, etc. Nowadays all of the contracts are on file in some attorney’s office, not at the school, and confidential emails are on private computers like Hillary did.

            Like

          3. z33k

            Yeah that’s a fair point re:access.

            Nobody knows the access rules, but I’d imagine any oversight boards (Newsom being chancellor in name probably included here) can probably get access to the documents if they head to the Big Ten offices or their lawyers head there.

            It’s hard to know because of course none of us know what the constitution/bylaws/rules of the conferences are with respect to documentation access.

            I think most of us were shocked when Rutgers/Maryland basically said that they signed all these financial distribution contracts which included hefty borrowing against future distributions and yet didn’t have copies for themselves of all those documents.

            Conferences have gotten so tight about controlling information that they stopped allowing documentation to be kept on campuses around 15 years ago…

            Like

  12. Brian

    https://www.barrettsportsmedia.com/2022/07/22/andrew-marchand-its-obvious-espn-is-easing-consumers-into-full-digital-bundle-with-espn-price-hike/

    Andrew Marchand says ESPN raising the monthly price of ESPN+ from $7 to $10 is the first step in their plan to eventually eliminate ESPN as a channel and make everyone pay them a lot for streaming.

    Marchand added that this was ESPN’s way of trying to plan for that eventual end goal.

    “It’s all about testing to see what the consumers are going to pay for,” he said. “It’s getting consumers used to the idea of paying a lot for streaming.”

    Like

    1. Marc

      The goalposts keep moving. TV used to be free (other than owning the set and suffering through the ads). Then, they got us to pay for cable, even in large metro areas where over-the-air reception was fine. Then we started paying for separate packages such as BTN. Then we started paying for streaming: most U.S. households have at least two such services (such as Netflix and Apple TV) in addition to cable.

      But there are limits. Warner Brothers Discovery strangled CNN+ in the crib because they didn’t believe a separately paid-for streaming news service could ever be profitable. Not every streaming site is going to succeed, just like the early days of the Internet when not every website succeeded.

      It’s a tough line to draw. If every network in my current package were sold à la carte, there are very few I would pay for separately. ESPN’s money-making machine was always dependent on being in basic cable, where everyone paid whether they wanted it or not.

      Like

    2. Jersey Bernie

      I do not think that the article implied the termination of ESPN as a part of cable packages. It seems as though they are collecting all of the ESPN extras and putting them in ESPN+. That does not preclude general ESPN for those who are not motivated pay for extras.

      Here is an “analysis” of the future of ESPN.

      https://www.outkick.com/espn-lost-8-million-subscribers-in-2021-10-of-its-overall-subscriber-base/#:~:text=(According%20to%20the%20most%20recent,great%20deal%20for%20sports%20fans.

      ESPN lost 8 million more subscribers in 2021, but that still leave 75 million. Projections are that by 2030, ESPN will be down to 50 million basic subscribers.

      The attached article, to the extent the analysis is accurate, is also an interesting read with regard to long term college sports rights.

      Disney CEO Bob Chapek said … about ESPN’s plans on streaming.

      “It (ESPN+) will be the ultimate fan offering. It will appeal to superfans that really love sports, and I think there’s nobody but ESPN who could frankly pull that off.”

      The author of the article, Clay Travis, says that Disney has no plan to do this, since it cannot be done. Streaming cannot simply replace ESPN.

      Now let me explain the basic math on streaming the models that Disney CEO Bob Chapek says he isn’t ready to share yet.

      Right now ESPN makes roughly $5 a month on its average ESPN+ customer. That equates to roughly $1.3 billion a year in revenue. Which sounds like a lot. Until you realize that’s less than 1/8th the revenue ESPN produces off the ESPN channel by itself. In fact, ESPN+ makes less than half of what ESPN pays for Monday Night Football every year under its new deal. (Monday Night Football costs ESPN $2.7 billion a year). Indeed, ESPN makes less on ESPN+ than it pays the NBA every year. (The NBA makes $1.4 billion a year and is going to want a massive increase in its new deal which is up soon.) It’s likely that streaming revenue for ESPN represents substantially less than 1/10th the revenue produced by subscriber fees and advertising dollars across all ESPN cable properties.

      So if you combine ESPN’s sports properties both cable and satellite and streaming revenue, it’s likely the company is doing somewhere around $13 billion in sports revenue a year right now. (That’s $9 billion a year in cable and satellite, $2.5 billion a year in advertising and $1.3 billion a year in streaming).

      ….

      Streaming at Disney is losing nearly a billion dollars a quarter.

      Okay, you say, but let’s just pretend every single sporting event available on the ESPN channels now was instead available on ESPN+, that you could actually offer that killer sports fan app that CEO Bob Chapek described last week. Well, how do you get to that $13 billion in total revenue? Here’s where the numbers become terrifying on streaming and why Disney isn’t sharing any of them as it relates to ESPN. History has shown us that hard core sports fans willing to pay for a streaming service are a relatively small market.

      ….

      My point here, and the one Chapek acknowledged by refusing to share the numbers, is it’s virtually impossible for ESPN+ to ever come close to producing the revenue that ESPN does now from cable and satellite subscriptions.

      Like

      1. So what’s the long-term consequence here? Sports rights fees have peaked, and players/owners/schools will eventually have to accept cutbacks?

        The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was getting tens of millions of non-sports fans to pay ESPN $8 a month.

        Like

        1. Christian: “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was getting tens of millions of non-sports fans to pay ESPN $8 a month.”

          Well, that ‘trick’ has been done by many other cable stations like the Big Ten Network and a bunch of non-sports programming like Oprah. The Pac-12 Network would love to be as ‘tricky’.

          Like

        2. z33k

          If there’s not enough money being generated by ESPN/FOX/NBC/CBS from subscription fees and advertising dollars against their sports contracts then yes that’s absolutely what will happen in the 2030s.

          Nobody knows the future; everyone’s signing these mega deals (NFL getting $13 billion a year once the new sunday ticket package is signed, and down the line, Big Ten/SEC getting >$1 billion a year each, and NBA/MLB/NHL minting billions).

          But nobody knows what the dollar intake will be against these contracts.

          If the cable bundle drops off faster than expected (say to below 50 million subscribers by 2035) and they struggle to raise the fees there and alternative streaming methods don’t generate enough dollars, then yes there will have to be cutbacks.

          Right now everyone’s just hoping that the transition to streaming works out and there will be enough $ generated on streaming to cover cable losses, and that enough viewers will keep watching to keep ad rates up, but nobody actually knows if all the numbers will work.

          If the numbers don’t work, then there will be cutbacks to fees and a lot of contracts will have to come down in price.

          Like

        3. There still needs to be some context here. ESPN hasn’t just been merely a moneymaker for Disney, but even up until a couple of years ago, it provided more profits than all of the rest of the *entire* Walt Disney Company *combined*. That’s pretty astounding considering how much money Disney makes on Marvel, Star Wars, theme parks, etc.

          So, ESPN is still very profitable, but it’s just not at the mountaintop levels that existed previously.

          I also wouldn’t put much weight on Disney losing money on streaming as of now – that has been the well-known plan for years as the company has built up Disney+ and its other streaming offerings. Every single other streamer besides Netflix and Amazon (the latter really more because it’s tied to the Prime ordering service) is losing tons of money since they’re all in the capital-intensive startup phase, too.

          I’m actually quite bullish on sports rights continuing to go up. We have gone through several decades with different technological changes where people have continuously proclaimed that there’s a sports rights bubble and they can’t go higher… but it still hasn’t ever popped.

          The biggest shift in favor of sports (at least to me) is actually the loss of monoculture elsewhere in society. Sports are the only programs that people watch live en masse – AKA if you are in the business of needing to sell commercials, then sports are the *only* category of programming that’s worth anything now.

          I’ll have to find the list somewhere, but I recall seeing that out of the top 100 most-watched TV programs in the US in 2021, over 90 (it might have been even around 95) were sporting events. All of the rest were news events (e.g. presidential inauguration coverage, the Oprah interview of Meghan and Harry) with the exception of the post-Super Bowl episode The Equalizer. So, the only scripted program on the top 100 was only there because it followed the biggest sporting event on TV.

          While most of those sporting events were NFL games, there were several college football games on that list. Think of it this way: the Big Ten and SEC have multiple games per year that draw higher ratings than ANY regularly scheduled prime time network TV show. Every. Single. One.

          The *relative* power of sports on TV has skyrocketed. The only people that argue against it don’t understand comparative statistics. While ratings for sports in a vacuum have gone down overall over the years, what many people aren’t taking into account is that the ratings for everything on TV have absolutely tanked way way WAY faster.

          Hence, the demand for sports rights continue to go up and up. As long as there is a market need to be able to reach a large audience of people at the exact same time (as opposed to targeted ads), sports will continue to be valuable because they’ve become the only option to reach that type of audience. There’s no such thing as a monster show like Friends or Seinfeld anymore that would regularly get higher ratings than the NFL. Now, the NFL has so much ratings power that the entire network TV schedule revolves around them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Richard

            BTW, what this list tells me is that once both the SEC and B10 expand to 22 schools (SEC with Clemson, FSU, UNC, NCSU, UVa, and VTech, B10 with ND, Stanford, Cal, UW, Miami, and GTech), the B10 and SEC should set up a B10-SEC challenge in both football and basketball.
            1 school on both sides may not participate (Iowa has the ISU game; UK has the Louisville game) but all the heavyweights would.
            Some of the Challenge games in football would be protected rivalries (UGa-GTech; Miami-FSU, UVa-UMD, heck UIUC-Mizzou).

            Would definitely get the B10 plenty of southern exposure besides money. SEC gets plenty of money too.

            It would be cool to make the IU-UK game an annual protected Challenge game in MBB too.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Fair set of points Frank.

            I guess the question I have is how does everyone else other than ESPN plan to monetize sports.

            We can see the Disney/ESPN plan coming into focus: ride ESPN as long as possible and supplement with ESPN+ as a streaming service.

            What’s the rest of the major broadcasters’ plans to handle the transition as viewership continues to fade (i.e. casual fans cut the cord and become considerably less likely to watch sports).

            Sports will become an ever growing share of the top viewed broadcasts (everything else on broadcast is basically dying or dead besides news) because everything else has comparable/cheaper options on streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+/Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, whatever and streaming services have basically taken the mindshare of scripted/unscripted programming away from television with the optionality it offers (like binging) and less commercials/etc.

            I think FOX’s move to dump their studios was a brilliant move in hindsight, the pandemic and rush to streaming by everyone else made it clear that studios were becoming a lot less valuable and the content had become commoditized.

            FOX is now just sports + news which is really the only 2 things that real-time viewers watch.

            The question to me is more how does everyone else outside of ESPN plan to handle the transition to streaming because that isn’t clear.

            Like

          3. Richard

            Zeek: Everyone else becomes sports and news as well. And infomercials.

            Oh, and reality TV shows because they’re cheap.

            Like

          4. EndeavorWMEdani

            Which is precisely why Endeavor’s focus shifted so dramatically to live events with its acquisition of the UFC, Prof. Bull riders etc. The entire pitch for It’s successful IPO (even during the pandemic) was that live events are the one sure bet in entertainment. I know I will never convince anyone here that the size of a brand trumps the size of a media market, but it’s true. With streaming, the entire country (and world) is one big media market in search of an intriguing matchup.

            Like

          5. Little8

            Because of the Dec31 Semis for 2022, 5 of the 7 from college football were playoff games. The AL-GA SEC championship and OSU-MI were the only non-playoff games to make the cut.

            Like

      2. Brian

        Bernie,

        The headline said it, and maybe Marchand said more to that effect in the podcast the article referred to.

        I have great faith in big companies to find a way to extract money from streaming customers. Between raising rates as cable competition disappears, and introducing ads, and other things, they will make their billions. Maybe the ad revenue from companies will skyrocket to compensate. But companies always find a way to take every penny they possibly can from customers.

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          Ad revenues are a key. No one who is watching live college football will turn it off due to adds. Of course, there will be the “get a beer break”, but the network will still be paid.

          Netflix is going to start experimenting with adds.

          Live sports is the one program that people are least likely to record and come back two hours later or the next day. It not as if many people will want to ignore the college season and then stream in over a couple of weekends.

          Like

  13. Richard

    Or:
    B10 adds ND, Stanford, Cal, UW, UO, UVa, UNC, Duke, GTech, Miami to get to 26.
    SEC adds FSU, Clemson, NCSU, VTech, and the AZ schools to get to 22.
    But UK (or maybe OU), Iowa, UW, and UO don’t participate in the B10-SEC challenge in football as they face in-state rivals instead.
    That still leaves 23 B10 teams and 21 SEC teams. The worst 2 B10 teams face Army instead.
    Protected rivalry games:
    Week 1: FSU-Miami (Labor Day) & UNC-NCSU
    Last week of the season: UGa-GTech & UVa-VTech.
    Weeks 2 &3 (kept open by the other 19 B10 and other 17 SEC schools) will feature the rest of the B10-SEC Challenge games.

    It would still be a heckuva TV package to sell. I’d say worth $200-300mm.

    Like

  14. EndeavorWMEdani

    THE B1G LEAGUE (by Dani Santa Monica)

    -West Pod:
    USC/UCLA,/WA
    OR/STANFORD/CAL
    -Midwest Pod:
    NEB/WIS/MINN
    ILL/NW/IOWA
    -Great Lake Pod:
    UofM/tOSU/ND
    MSU/PU/IND
    -East Pod
    PENN ST/UNC/DUKE
    MARYAND/MIAMI/RU

    (W/Kansas for BB only. Sorry CAL, no hoops for you 😇)

    …I seem it worthy!

    Like

      1. EndeavorWMEdani

        …Also, if you guys want UVA in the B1G LEAGUE, it’s up to you to kick Rutgers out. I don’t want that on my conscience!!! -Demz da’ rules!

        Like

        1. Jersey Bernie

          Why Rutgers? I will guarantee that RU brings more money to the table than, let’s say Purdue. Is anyone going to kick Purdue out?

          By the way, the B1G could expect a multi-billion dollar suit if RU, Purdue, UMd other other schools who have acted in reliance, were dispensed with. How many hundreds of millions are “bottom” sports universities in B1G investing in based on their contractual rights. How about U Minnesota? I have heard them mentioned as dispensable in the future Super League.

          As an aside, if RU were actually dropped, I could see enormous political pressure on both the NJ and NYC cable channels to totally drop the B1G network, not only at in network rates, but in toto. Only somewhere between 5 and 7.5 million TV families involved. No biggie.

          To never have been invited to join the party is one thing. To get kicked out is entirely another matter.

          NJ has a population of 9 million people, including hundreds of thousand of RU alums and students, many of whom are in key political positions in state. Many of the alums, family and friends probably do not give a d@mn about RU sports or the B1G, but would take the insult very personally. Don’t diss their state.

          You’re talking about Jersey. We do not take that crap from anyone. The state walks aground with a chip its collective shoulders and dares anyone to try and knock it off. Remember, Benjamin Franklin described NJ as a beer barrel open at both ends (NYC and Philly). That insult still stands.

          We get even. By the way, if you suddenly feel like you are now being followed, do not worry about it. It is your imagination.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Bernie,

            The B10 won’t kick anyone out. What could theoretically happen is that some B10 schools get left behind in the formation of a football superleague. If/when CFB reaches that level of NFL lite, the superleague will pick the set of schools they feel will make the most money as a group.

            Schools like PU would be at risk. Today’s RU would be at risk because of how terrible they’ve been since joining the B10. But if Schiano (and whoever follows him) can get them to be mediocre or better, that would make a big difference. Then the NYC/NJ market becomes a more meaningful factor.

            A superleague can’t take everyone and still make a big jump in revenue. Even if they go to 48 teams, some of the P5 won’t make it.

            Like

          2. EndeavorWMEdani

            Wow, get this guy down to central casting. Seriously, I appreciate the passion. Fact is, I wouldn’t kick Rutgers out even if I had the chance. After 200 years, I still think there’s ‘diamond-in-the-rough’ potential there, both athletically and in regard to viewership. If you want to be offended, it should be in regard to your home grown talent choosing to go elsewhere. As for UVA, it’s an incredible institution, but so is Duke, and I think the B1G might need the latter to reel in UNC. Whether the SEC would take Miami simply to keep the B1G out of FLA, I don’t know, but gaining a foothold in a talent rich environment with a still-potent brand that has incredible upside, would be coup for the conference. Have a great day Bernie. -You can even keep the cannoli!

            Like

        2. z33k

          Rutgers is extremely valuable.

          Nobody is kicking out Rutgers.

          Location, location, location.

          You got a school sitting in the NYC media market and it’s got hundreds of thousands of alums/fans sitting in the NYC and Philly media markets.

          That’s straight up money.

          Cable isn’t going to die anytime soon and Rutgers will continue to provide those markets to the conference.

          Like

  15. vp0819

    I can see a 24-member maximum for each conference (for men’s and women’s hoops, a 24-game league schedule — home-and-home against one permanent rival, single games against the other 22), but 26 is simply too unwieldy.

    My B1G (a non-divisional 24-member unit for football):
    ATLANTIC: Rutgers, Penn State, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke or Georgia Tech
    CENTRAL: Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Notre Dame. Purdue
    MIDWEST: Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska
    PACIFIC: Washington, Oregon, Cal, Stanford, Southern Cal, UCLA

    My 20-member, non-divisional football SEC:
    ATLANTIC: Virginia Tech, N.C. State, Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia
    GULF COAST: Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State*
    SOUTHERN: Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Arkansas
    WESTERN: Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, Mississippi*
    *Mississippi State and Mississippi would swap divisions every two years and be an annual home-and-home.

    Like

    1. Richard

      Some of the schools on the B10 list are really silly. Though the bookies probably are aware that no ACC school will join the B10 in 2022 (those odds pay out only if a school joins in 2022).
      And UW really should be listed above UO.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Heard one of the Vegas bookers say the reason the odds were set like that is because they’re just the most popular schools people like to bet on the past couple of years outside of some potentially legit choices like ND, Oregon, Washington to the Big Ten or Clemson, FSU, Miami to the SEC…

        Like Cincinnati and Oklahoma State have been good at cfb past few years so they’re more likely to get money on them than schools that are actually more likely to get bet on; Kansas just comes up a lot in the discussions as an AAU school near the Big Ten with a good basketball brand, etc….

        They’re basically taking the “dumb money” for a ride with most of those choices just being schools that are currently good at the 2 money sports (Baylor, Kansas, Cincy, OkSU etc.).

        Like

  16. Brian

    https://www.johncanzano.com/p/canzano-mailbag-deals-with-big-12

    John Canzano mailbag.

    Q: What are the chances of unequal revenue sharing? — @hmckee53

    A: An imbalanced split of media revenue feels like it is very much on the table. Minimally, it’s being discussed. I suspect Washington, Arizona, Stanford, Cal and ASU feel entitled to larger than an equal share because of their TV markets. I also think Oregon believes its brand merits additional compensation. They all have leverage right now.

    Q: Amazon’s relationship with CBS/Paramount+ is intriguing. There’s a possible avenue to network-TV there, which I assume is still important. Despite the social media nonsense (I HAVE SOURCES) why would there be any other movement before other outlets can get involved after Aug 4? — @SteinerLine36

    A: ESPN and Fox are in an exclusive, 30-day negotiating period with the Pac-12 that ends Aug. 4. There’s incentive for ESPN, particularly, to come with a strong Tier 1 offer and get the primary deal done without bidding against others. But I’d expect the streaming part of this could take additional time because the Pac-12 would want to talk with Amazon, Apple, etc. and let the market weigh in.

    Like

  17. Brian

    https://www.johncanzano.com/p/canzano-pac-12-gets-creative-as-things

    What the P12 might get in their new deal.

    The original projection for the Pac-12’s new media rights deal was $500 million a year. But that included 5.7 million Southern California TV households as part of the calculus. Split a dozen ways, it worked out to $41.6 million a year, per school.

    The new projection: $300 million a year.

    Split only 10 ways, that’s only $30 million each annually. It’s a 28 percent reduction. I’m being told that Kliavkoff is determined to be creative and claw back toward the $40 million-a-year distribution threshold.

    Could ESPN+ be the answer?

    Bob Thompson, the former president of Fox Sports Networks, offered some insight on how that arrangement might work.

    “My understanding of the way it works at ESPN is that there’s a budget for the network and then also a budget for ESPN+,” Thompson said. “ So if ESPN+ got a significant chunk of Pac-12 product it could be used to justify higher payment by combining money from the two buckets.”

    Could a “loose partnership” with the ACC and some creative thinking with ESPN help make that happen? One current Pac-12 athletic director said on Thursday, “We could potentially give ESPN+ the best content they ever had.”

    The conference coaches might not love the limited exposure that comes with streaming games on ESPN+ or even Apple TV+, but the tradeoff could be millions more in funding. Kliavkoff has to go where other conferences haven’t to find new revenue. There will be concessions weighed. Let’s face it: The conference just endured a decade of limited distribution on the Pac-12 Networks and is used to it.

    Thompson said, “Still think $40 million per school is a stretch unless they’re going to gut the Pac-12 Networks of all their football and basketball product.”

    Like

    1. z33k

      To that last part… why wouldn’t they gut the Pac-12 Networks at this point?

      It was a disaster (around 13 million subs at the moment) and has lost the South California markets which is basically 3-4 million of those subs.

      Figuring out how to resolve the Pac-12 Networks into some form of national distribution (either merge it with the ACC somehow or ESPN+ or Amazon Prime or Apple TV+ or whatever) should absolutely be on the table.

      Even if USC and UCLA had stayed there wouldn’t have been a reason to keep it as is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian

        z33k,

        Agreed. They have nothing to lose by gutting the P12N. ESPN+ (or any other streamer) would be much better exposure. They should be willing to sell all of that to Apple or Amazon for big money.

        I think people tend to forget that the P12 essentially has gotten no value out of all the games they put on P12N. Their payout should jump several million if they can get fair market streaming value for them, let alone if any network wants them. So while $40M might be a stretch, $35M per school sounds reasonable.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah they’re basically extracting around $2.5 million per school from the Pac-12 Networks as it is.

          Any streamer would give them >$5 million for that at least. Maybe they can push that to $7-8 million per school if Apple/Amazon bid against ESPN+ to toss that all onto streaming.

          Hard to see any reason against it.

          More exposure and more money; sure they lose the “100% ownership” that Scott and some of their presidents always promoted, but 100% ownership of something nobody watches is useless unless you’re getting paid.

          Maybe they don’t get that many viewers on Apple TV+ but Apple would absolutely give them a much bigger payday for the consolation of that…

          If they want more exposure than Apple TV+, take a likely cheaper deal with ESPN+ or Amazon Prime that would still probably be at least double what they’re getting now…

          Either way, there wasn’t a reason to keep it before USC/UCLA left and now it’s even harder to justify.

          Like

  18. Brian

    https://sports360az.com/2022/07/hotline-mailbag-options-if-the-pac-12-raids-the-big-12-the-apple-12-conference/

    Jon Wilner’s mailbag. I skipped other questions. I think his last answer is wrong – the $75M and $100M per school estimates do not include an expanded CFP. Everything I’ve seen is stating that just for media rights.

    Assuming the Pac-12 and ESPN don’t reach agreement during the 30-day exclusive negotiating window, has there been any indication that NBC or CBS have interest in negotiations? — @Polymorphic1019

    The Hotline agrees with your assumption:

    At this stage of the process, there is no reason for ESPN or Fox to make an offer lucrative enough that the Pac-12 signs on the bottom line in the next few weeks. (The 30-day window expires in early August.)

    Instead, we expect Kliavkoff to take the conference’s rights to the open market — a process that could take months. (It could very well end with ESPN making the best offer, but why would the network make a move now, effectively bidding against itself.)

    I haven’t seen, heard or read anything to suggest NBC or CBS would be interested in a substantial piece of the Pac-12’s inventory. Maybe one of them grabs a sub-package, but that would be it.

    With the growing gap in media revenue with the Big Ten and SEC, what are the chances the Pac-12 pursues ancillary revenue streams such as jersey patches or outright selling the name of the league to a sponsor? How creative will the conference get? — Ryan Burrows

    As creative as possible.

    I expect Kliavkoff to present the university presidents and chancellors with some options that would have been unthinkable, and impossible, a few years ago.

    But the bosses are from the world of higher education, where incremental change is typically preferred. Would they accept a new world order and approve measures — for example: alliances with gaming companies — that run counter to traditional norms of college athletics?

    As we have said repeatedly, Pac-12 survival depends, first and foremost, on strong leadership at the very top of the conference. Sometimes, leaders must take risks.

    How does the Apple-12 Conference sound?

    After all, the Pac-12 already has the infrastructure — thanks to the cutting-edge technology used by the networks — that would be necessary for Apple to buy and produce everything.

    /b>What are the odds ESPN goes all in on Notre Dame, makes it the king of a new conference and poaches the best from the ACC and Pac-12 to form a third super-league? Chances from 1 to 100? — @TomeiTyler

    Zero, but the question is worthwhile for the ground it covers.

    First, the ACC schools are locked into a Grant of Rights agreement that runs through the 2036 season, so it’s extremely unlikely that any “poaching” of the premier teams would take place.

    Second, we cannot envision a scenario in which Notre Dame joins a conference that’s not the Big Ten. The combination of potential revenue and geographic alignment, with so many Irish alums in Chicago, render all other options remote.

    And for what it’s worth, the Hotline believes the Irish will remain an Independent through their next contract cycle. That, in turn, will keep the Big Ten from expanding again in a few years.

    The Irish will only feel compelled to join a conference if access to the 12-team College Football Playoff is structured in a manner that makes the independent path untenable.

    Is it possible that people are overestimating the value of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal? — @morganloewcbs5

    Yes, sure. But it’s also possible people are underestimating the value of the 16-team league that stretches from coast to coast.

    Our understanding is each school will receive at least $75 million at the start of the contract (in the 2023-24 sports cycle), with the annual payments growing to more than $100 million in the 2030s.

    Of course, that includes a significant bump from the expanded CFP.

    Like

    1. Richard

      My understanding was $75mm/school for the non-BTN TV deals and $100mm/school all-in, with both those numbers being the average over the next contract.

      Like

      1. Brian

        If you’re talking $100M in 2024, I agree that is an all-in number. But I’m not sure if most people tried to put an accurate value on the expanded CFP when throwing that number out there.

        He referred to $100M in the 2030s, which to me is the natural escalation of the contract over a decade from $75 in 2024.

        Like

  19. Brian

    https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/34277361/acc-standing-pat-now-amid-chaos-college-football-realignment

    As much as fans dislike the concept, it sounds like both the ACC and P12 are seriously considering unequal revenue distribution to keep schools happy.

    As for the uneven revenue distribution to help keep some of the bigger, brand-name schools happy, this is an idea that has been floated since before realignment, but will now be pursued as an option that will be more seriously considered.

    Once staunchly against an unbalanced revenue distribution, Phillips said he’s more open to the idea now, as difficult circumstances dictate hard choices. But he said it wouldn’t be his first option.

    One ACC athletic director said he thought the idea had more traction than in years past, but said the league had not discussed details of any specific plan on how to divvy up dollars. While the AD was unsure if any plan could garner enough votes, one coach who’d previously been averse to the idea said he’d be open to it — if the revenue payouts were based on on-field success.

    Like

    1. z33k

      I’m still skeptical that they can come out with a formula that works best for the schools that will be the most wanted, but we shall see I guess.

      Giving out a bigger share of football and basketball postseason money to the schools that advance there is probably the most obvious solution but it’s hard whenever you go that route.

      Like

      1. z33k

        And it’s not clear you can really close the gap in any significant way compared to the negativity around that discussion.

        Giving Clemson, North Carolina, etc. an extra few million from their postseason runs in the major sports is nice, but is that closing a $50-70 million gap?

        I just don’t see it, and whenever people suggest unequal revenue sharing in those types of cases it’s a hail mary to try to hold things together.

        Like

        1. It’s a tough fine line. If it’s *too* unequal towards the top teams, then that creates a situation where the lower tier schools fall even further behind x which then drags down the overall league even further and then those top teams are even *more* motivated to eventually leave.

          I’ve been reading “The Club” about the formation of the English Premier League and it’s pretty remarkable how the way the top teams broke away from the legacy Football Association in order to maximize TV money and consolidate power along with turning very local/regional interests into a national/international enterprise is *very* similar to conference realignment.

          In any event, the Premier League has a general revenue distribution structure of approximately 50% provided equally to all clubs, 25% based on the final standings and 25% based on TV appearances.

          To the extent that there is unequal revenue sharing, that seems to be a decent framework. The TV appearances are going to be biased towards the top name brands, so that’s a way to keep them happy. However, a pure performance portion also provides an additional incentive to all schools regardless of legacy brand name.

          Like

          1. Brian

            I believe the B12’s formula was similar in that half the TV revenue was split equally, and half was based on TV appearances. In the P10, it was 40.5% of TV revenue split equally and 59.5% based on TV appearances.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Yeah I can imagine it coming about in all leagues at some point, but just going to be curious to see how it’d come about; I can’t really see the SEC or Big Ten falling dramatically behind one another and needing to do it.

            Like

          3. Brian

            z33k,

            Agreed, it’s hard to see how it could happen within the B10 and SEC. My only thought would be if a football-only superleague concept was created where the top brands of each conference get in, so there would be 2 tiers of payouts.

            Like

          4. Little8

            The P12 formula for splitting TV revenue had a component that based the amount to be split on the network the broadcast was on (National more than regional, ABC/ESPN more than ESPN2, ESPNU etc.). However, the P12 will have a problem implementing this now. Only a very strong GOR is likely to keep them together. Most of the usual suspects mentioned for giving up revenue are the schools the B12 wants.

            Like

        2. Brian

          z33k,

          You can’t close the gap entirely that way. But just making the effort can go a ways to reducing negative feelings. USC and UT got angry because they were falling behind and the conferences had imposed equal sharing. If they were still falling behind, but by less than OrSU or KSU were, they wouldn’t have been as upset.

          The gap being $50M in part depends on the expanded CFP and the P2 dominating the money.

          2019 conference payouts (pre-COVID):
          B10 – $55.6M
          SEC – $45.3M
          B12 – $40M (average)
          P12 – $32.3M
          ACC – $32M (average)

          That’s a $20M gap or less.

          The B10 and SEC are obviously climbing a lot soon, and the B12 and P12 may drop or gain a little. The ACC is slowly growing. So the gap may grow to $50M.

          But $70-79M per conference was from the CFP ($6-8M per school roughly). $12-35M per P5 conference was earned in the NCAA tournament ($1-3M per school). An expanded CFP should pay a lot more, so how that money is split will be important. If the P5 get roughly equal shares again, then the gap is tolerable because the floor gets raised. If the split favors the P2, then it exacerbates the existing problem.

          So let’s say the B10 and SEC are getting $100M all in after expanding the CFP. By then the ACC will be up to $40M at least (contract escalation), plus any extra CFP money they get. So they may be up to $50M.

          To get Clemson, FSU, and UNC to $80M each, the ACC only needs to find $90M. If everyone else gives up $8.2M on average (so they get $41.8M), they’re there. And if those 3 will stay, so will everyone else. And maybe you can even attract UW and UO with $60M per year. That hurts the P12, which boosts the ACC, and ESPN might pay a touch more for the additions.

          Likewise, the P12 could make UW and UO less likely to leave but paying them more so the B12 and ACC don’t look as attractive. They can’t stop the B10 or SEC from inviting schools, but they can make the decision to leave harder.

          Like

      2. Brian

        The P10 and B12 survived for long periods with unequal revenue. They didn’t lose teams until after they switched to equal revenue sharing (the big brands were upset from day 1).

        The postseason money is the low hanging fruit. They also used to base it on TV appearances. That doesn’t work in a world where all game are on TV, but it could be based on games on each tier/network. They could also factor in markets and brands if they so choose.

        Having an objective metric works best, because then schools can’t complain about bias inside the conference.

        Have formulas for football and MBB, then tell the schools to go earn it. If FSU can’t win games, they probably don’t deserve an outsized share of revenue. But they could use some sort of TV viewership metric (average over the season?) to give weight to fan base size and markets as well.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Yeah, it’s just that it sort of becomes a double edged sword.

          Say a “king” (or program that sees itself as a king) struggles for 5-6 years (say FSU has mostly 7-8 win seasons from 2026-2032 and is like #7 on revenue in the ACC), does that make it more likely that they try to get the heck out of the ACC?

          I sort of feel like some of these schools have to be careful what they wish for with unequal revenue sharing.

          It sounds great until you’re FSU and a coaching hire doesn’t work and you fall even further behind on revenue than you expected.

          But for a program like Clemson that’s operating at a historical peak (top 3-4 in the country for a number of years), it’s a huge incentive.

          Here’s the Big 12’s 2008-2009 revenue distribution:
          1. Oklahoma, $12,209,800
          2. Texas, $11,783,807
          3. Kansas, $11,494,441
          4. Missouri, $10,449,437
          5. Texas A&M, $10,180,582
          6. Oklahoma State, $10,026,603
          7. Colorado, $9,767,426
          8. Nebraska, $9,728,502
          9. Texas Tech, $9,195,931
          10. Baylor, $9,068,351
          11. Iowa State, $8,913,045
          12. Kansas State, $8,374,959

          It did what it was intended to do (half split equally, half based on TV appearances including non-con/Big 12 title game).

          At the same time, Nebraska was struggling to get on national TV at times due to the less appealing schedule of its division and coming off of the Callahan years.
          Nebraska was more typically around ~5th in the conference in revenue but had years like that under their unequall formula.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Yes, it’s definitely as risk. But it’d be hard for FSU to complain publicly. Their brand would keep getting them TV appearances for a while. If even that isn’t enough to carry them anymore, then they probably don’t deserve more.

            Like

          2. z33k

            I agree 100% with you Brian, but as far as realignment goes, schools are weighed based on potential so it’s hard to see how any of this helps prevent realignment.

            Rutgers for example athletically was all potential: it’s located in the NYC market and you have 350-400k alums living in 2 giant media markets NYC and Philly which account for the entirety of the state.

            FSU can be down the next 5-7 years but it’s still the 2nd most prominent school in Florida as far as football brand goes with reach that covers the whole state.

            It’s like Texas A&M more than anything; the SEC wasn’t weighing its past but rather its future. They had mostly 4-9 win seasons before entering the SEC.

            But the 2nd most prominent school in Texas means potential, and we already know FSU’s had incredible top-end runs with a couple national championships over the last 30 years.

            Nobody wants to hear it but giving money to schools based on how valuable they are in realignment is probably the only solution, but that’s a whole different can of worms if they aren’t executing on the field (see USC).

            Like

          3. Brian

            I don’t know that it can prevent realignment, but it can slow it down.

            If the gap is “only” $20M ($100M vs $80M), would FSU really feel the need to move? They know they’ll win even less in the SEC, and be little brother to UF. In the ACC they can get on a Clemson-like run and make the CFP a lot. Same for Clemson. And UNC would call it close enough that they can stay in the conference they started and dominated (in MBB) and prefer to any other home. If USC was that close, they would’ve stayed in the P12. Certainly UCLA would have. UT probably would’ve left no matter what, and OU with them.

            Like

          4. Little8

            Nebraska was the leading proponent of the unequal split when it was implemented. It paid off in the early years but bit them later. NE and MO were left out of the P16 that was floated before they went to the B1G.

            No amount of $$ would have kept Texas in the B12. They have enough cash. Texas was losing the recruiting battles with A&M (and to a lesser extent other SEC schools) due to perceived lack of exposure, not playing the best schools, etc. The extra $$ at the SEC is just a bonus. NIL will benefit both Texas and A&M in the SEC due to a lot of rich boosters. I saw a complaint from Saban toward A&M about that already.

            Like

          5. Jersey Bernie

            Regarding Saban’s complaint about Texas A&M. The top recruit in NJ has been a heavy Rutgers lean for two years. He has close ties with the program and has close friends playing there.

            Very recently TAMU is in the picture and believed to be the favorite. It is fairly public knowledge that he has been promised big NIL money if he goes to TAMU.
            He has absolutely no connections with TAMU, but money talks.

            He will be announcing today.

            It that sudden interest in TAMU does not corroborated Sabin’s complaints, I do not know what will.

            Like

        2. Marc

          I think Texas and Oklahoma were leaving the Big 12 no matter what. The conference is a Frankenstein beast and didn’t have generations of history. UT had already shown—repeatedly—that it was open to considering better offers, and so were the others.

          Even before TX and OU left, the conference had already lost a third of the original twelve and could have lost more. Does anyone doubt that Kansas wanted a Big Ten invitation and would have readily accepted it? That they stayed in the Big XII was not because of any love for the conference, but simply because the better offer was not forthcoming.

          The USC/UCLA situation is different. Unlike TX/OK, they had generations of history with their conference mates. To join the Big Ten, they are taking on a lot of logistical inconvenience, mostly just for money. There is perhaps a scenario where the Pac-12 payout, while never matching the Big Ten, was good enough to stay.

          Like

          1. z33k

            How much do you weigh payout against factors like exposure and competitors entering their market?

            Yes the decision was primarily financial, but there were 2 other factors that also loomed huge.

            1) Lack of exposure in the Pac-12 which was getting bad tv windows (good for tv money in a relative sense because those windows lack content, bad for East/Central time zone exposure) and falling further behind in terms of prominence compared to other leagues especially the SEC/Big Ten.

            2) NFL adding 2 teams to that market (along with Ballmer buying Clippers). That in my mind is an understated factor; yes the NFL has dabbled in LA at times, but when you add the first really serious thrust into that market with the SOFI colossus and the NFL moving its media hq to that huge mixed development site, you get the feeling that this is really the first time that the NFL is seriously trying to win over the LA market.

            Add in Ballmer buying the Clippers and dumping tons of money into them to build their brand with a huge new arena coming, and you have 3 major competitors (well Chargers are never going to be what the Rams will be unless they win a ton and are already behind with the Rams winning a home field Super Bowl).

            To me the Big Ten move was obvious even if the payout was only a 50% increase (say $60 million in the Pac-12 compared to $90 million in the Big Ten).

            USC/UCLA in the Big Ten gets them much more prominence nationally and locally. To LA locals, match ups with teams that have brands that matter is a big deal that can’t be discounted.

            If you didn’t attend a Pac-12 or Big Ten school, matchups against Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State should matter more than most of the matchups in the Pac-12 outside of that local USC-UCLA rivalry (which is coming along anyway).

            Like

          2. Richard

            I would have thought all that West Coast history would matter to the Trojans but note that they had threatened to leave the Pac decades ago if they didn’t get their way (over some money issue). Like the B12, the Pac has always been very unbalanced with 1-2 schools having the brands, best recruiting grounds, and by far the biggest market in the conference.

            Like

  20. Marc

    This article on SeekingAlpha is about Apple over-paying for sports rights: link.

    SeekingAlpha is an investment site, so the article is written from the perspective of whether you should invest in the stock. However, I think the principles are relevant here. Apple TV is still fairly young, and it needs content. This could lead them to pay more than other networks would.

    Like

    1. “This article on SeekingAlpha is about Apple over-paying for sports rights”

      $2 billion for the media rights to six years of women’s soccer? These people are either woke or deranged.

      Like

        1. Richard

          To build on this, the (men’s) 2021 UEFA Champions League final had a global TV audience of about 700mm, or roughly 6 times the Super Bowl.

          Like

      1. z33k

        It’s Apple, the largest corporation in the world.

        They can buy FOX with their quarterly profit and have money to spare.

        They have nearly 900 million subscribers to their subscription services along with all the phones they sell.

        $2 billion is like 4 days of profit to them.

        Like

          1. I feel like Apple is more interested in sports being used for additional a la carte subscriptions – see the MLS deal and their heavy interest in NFL Sunday Ticket – more than committing to sports on the regular Apple TV+ service itself. The Friday night MLB package that they started this year seems to be just dipping their toes in on that front.

            Amazon, on the other hand, looks like they’re approaching sports more like a main line linear TV network, which sort of makes sense since Amazon Prime Video is much more ubiquitous in household numbers. The NFL Thursday Night package and their Yankees games in the NYC market represent top line marquee brands where they’re getting exclusive games at a large scale. It doesn’t surprise me that Amazon seems to be heavy in the talks to get a piece of the Big Ten rights. As I’ve heard elsewhere, everyone from ESPN/ESPN+ to CBS/Paramount+ to NBC/Peacock is requiring some sort of streaming piece in each Big Ten bid, which makes Amazon actually look favorable by comparison in terms of money and potential household reach. It’s not so much that the Big Ten would take games off of ABC/CBS/NBC to send to Amazon, but rather comparing Amazon to ESPN+/Paramount+/Peacock.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Frank,

            That doesn’t mean much. Peacock live streams all the NBC games, plus exclusively streamed the spring game. It also got 1 OOC game last year (Peacock does not get a game this year).

            There’s a big difference between wanting to also stream the games they broadcast, and wanting a package of games that will only be streamed. Amazon can only do the latter, but all the networks may only be asking for the former (since BTN already gets spring games). Or maybe they also want an OOC game or two (can’t get 1 from everyone in 3-4 weeks).

            Like

    2. EndeavorWMEdani

      To this point I think the industry has really admired their restraint. Instead of partaking in the content gold rush that, let’s face it,, has created a mountain of content too few people want to watch, they have cultivated a stable of water-cooler darlings and a hit in Ted Lasso. A quality over quantity approach reminiscent of early HBO. The Netflix collapse has made Wall St jumpy, but I think they’re taking the same reasoned approach with their live sports investments. What better way to attract streamer-weary consumers to your nascent service than a global magnet like soccer, and a domestic obsession like the NFL. Once upon a time everyone thought Ari wildly overpaid for the UFC. Five years later it’s in the black and printing money. Apple knows exactly what they’re doing.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Apple, with their immense war chest, can afford high start-up costs, as long as they believe the investment will ultimately be justified. Nobody hits a home run in every at-bat, but Apple is probably in a position to take risks others would not. They also have a track record of getting these bets right far more often than not.

        This is why I suspect there will be college football on Apple, even if it inconveniences fans who must pay for yet another service. For the right package, Apple will pay more than almost anyone else would.

        Like

        1. EndeavorWMEdani

          I’ve always felt that, if any streamer was going to go all in on a B1G package, it would be Apple. Having overheard two seemingly legit execs talk up an Amazon/B1G deal has me second guessing. 😕 I ‘m eager to see how this all unfolds.

          Like

          1. z33k

            As Brian mentioned the problem is exposure.

            The Big Ten and others that can get exposure at premium rates (i.e. deals on broadcast at those premium rates) will place a priority on that.

            If you can’t get the exposure at that rate, then it’s worth considering throwing it to Apple for the most money possible even though TV+ exposure will be arguably the lowest of the bidders.

            That’s the situation the Pac-12 finds itself in and it’s why Apple TV+ buying the Pac-12 Networks rights is a possibility given the Pac-12 Networks only has 13 million subscribers (before USC/UCLA leave with the market that has 3-4 million of those subs).

            At that point, give the rights to Apple TV+ for 3x the payout that the Pac-12 Networks is giving because you have low exposure anyways.

            Like

          2. EndeavorWMEdani

            Yeah, no amount of money is going to get Apple or Amazon one of the prime B1G packages this go ’round.

            Like

          3. Richard

            I suppose it depends on what “prime” means. Amazon may pay as much as CBS or NBC to get the 4th pick of B10 games each week (which in the expanded B10 will usually still be a pretty good matchup).

            Like

      2. EndeavorWMEdani

        If you want to really get into the weeds, one reason I’m so bullish on Apple TV is their recent content deal with Skydance Studios (Dave Ellison’s passion project). A personal favorite of mine which, after a rough start, are now churning out hits including Top Gun Maverick (w/Paramount), and REACHER for Amazon. They even (wisely) hired John Lasseter (Pixar) after his #Metoo ousting from Disney! -‘Woke’ they are not, 😂 yet Apple loves their hit/miss ratio and are going to benefit from it. Good for them.

        Like

      3. z33k

        The mega cap tech companies are playing a different game.

        They have such enormous businesses that dabbling in content is a small bolt-on business to them.

        Apple buys content pretty judiciously but can afford to miss on everything because their bundle is so powerful (~900 million subscribers to their subscription services in aggregate).

        It’s easy when you print $25-30 billion a quarter in profits on average; that’s an entirely different scale. Disney is worth around 6 quarters of Apple’s quarterly profit. Fox is worth less than a quarter.

        Amazon is the same (as is Google), getting into businesses like music, tv, etc. are just bolt ons to their main business/bundle.

        It’s a different game at their scale. Amazon has >200 million Prime subscribers but has all sorts of other things attached to Prime compared to something like Netflix or any other streaming service. The same is true of Apple where TV+ is just one tiny part of their massive sub business.

        Like

        1. EndeavorWMEdani

          So your point is a 2.5 trillion dollar company can afford all the content they want? -You don’t say! I assure you their content officers lose just as much sleep over making poor decisions as every other executive in the Apple ecosystem.

          Like

          1. z33k

            It’s everybody else that should be losing sleep.

            I posted above, but I’m not sure anybody except Disney/ESPN has dedicated future strategies for how they’re going to make things work out and even there I’m not sure they can keep up financially if the mega cap tech try to push the envelope and blow up the cable/pay tv bundle by overbidding for sports.

            In 30 or 40 years, it’s really easy to imagine sports mostly just being on ESPN+, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, and YouTube Premium.

            Maybe Microsoft jumps in by buying FOX for $20-25 billion (chump change to them) and merging it with their XBOX Game Pass into some kind of media subscription bundle.

            I don’t see how CBS, NBC, and even FOX can keep up financially if the big tech companies try to snag all the rights later on; or maybe the mega cap techs just buy the broadcasters, it wouldn’t cost all that much.

            FOX is worth $20 billion as a corporation but just the broadcast channel would probably be $8-10 billion. Same goes for CBS or NBC. Those are tiny numbers at the scale the tech co’s work with…

            Like

          2. Brian

            z33k,

            I think the big tech streamers will eventually buy the networks so they can offer bundles like Disney’s.

            Like

    3. Brian

      Marc,

      I have no opinion of their investing advice, but I’m not sure the analysis of Apple’s move into sports streaming is entirely correct. Unlike other sectors where you can build from the ground up, I’m not sure that approach would work for Apple in sports streaming. I think they do need to overbid for certain rights to get the rights holders to be willing to move large amounts of content to streaming. Other rights they may have to overbid in order to win – rights holders often choose not to take the highest bid if they don’t think the exposure is sufficient.

      Whether getting into sports streaming is the correct decision or not I leave to the experts, but I think Apple’s approach to doing it makes some sense.

      Like

      1. z33k

        As somebody who spends most of his days on valuation of businesses, I don’t agree with much in that article.

        Sure you can make the argument that they’re overpaying in the short-term (and have to in order to secure rights given the relative lack of exposure on Apple TV+ as compared to broadcast or other streaming services like Prime).

        But the mega cap tech companies are all about hoovering up market share to enhance the moats around their main business (and the bundles they’ve build around them). They take a long-term view on stretching their tentacles into other businesses adjacent to their main businesses.

        Apple generates far more in profit than it can come close to investing into invading other business territories.

        The mega cap tech companies are not playing the same game as normal media businesses (and I’d include Netflix in that as well as any linear streaming business). Those businesses have to actually generate a feasible short-term and long-term business off of what they’re spending.

        Apple (and Amazon, Microsoft, Google) are more like LIV Golf when it comes to other businesses. They can just throw money at other industries to try to build something and if it works great, if not just write it off.

        Amazon is the most notorious of the bunch, but the others are guilty of it too. They can overpay for market share simply because they’re taking a much longer term view of the value they can generate by getting involved and eventually muscling everybody else out…

        Like

        1. EndeavorWMEdani

          You would think such a laissez-faire attitude would be reflected in Amazon prime’s content budget. Amazon doesn’t want to poison the well with a flood of bad content any more than anyone else. In my experience they care very much about how their money is spent.

          Like

          1. z33k

            This is true, most of Amazon’s aggressiveness in overspending is typically in outright acquisitions.

            They just closed the MGM buyout a couple of months ago, and even by Hollywood standards that was an overbuy at $8.5 billion. Sort of content related I suppose since most of that value was the acqusition of MGM’s library of 4000+ movies, thousands of tv show episodes, and a functioning studio that still produces and distributes a few hundred million dollars worth of such content.

            Would probably be worth less than half of that if it was trading publicly still though given the market upheaval of late.

            Whole Foods is another situation where they overpaid, and it’s been stagnant in revenue terms and hasn’t really made a dent in the grocery market share that Walmart has. They’re basically going in their own direction with Amazon Fresh to try to bring costs down and make it more competitive.

            And now Jassy’s trying to leave his mark by going further than Bezos did with healthcare in that new buyout they just announced of One Medical for $3.5 billion.

            I typically like the attempts that Amazon has made in all these other markets, but a lot of them haven’t stuck.

            Twitch is arguably Amazon’s most successful purchase at less than $1 billion (now probably worth at least 20-30x what they paid), but even there they’ve struggled to really grow it beyond its core competency of live streaming of gaming. It hasn’t really been able to grow beyond that in a way that would appeal to a much broader audience.

            Anyways, that’s all an aside, but I think Amazon and Apple are serious about trying to bring sports to the future by bringing all of it to streaming. They’re sort of trying to shortcut what Disney is doing with ESPN+ and just going all in on it without any transition.

            Of course given their insane profits from other businesses, they can afford to battle with money at a level nobody can match, but the exposure of broadcast is still something they struggle to combat. If they can get to the point where exposure is similar (watch Amazon’s Thursday night football numbers closely), then that would change things in a big way.

            Like

  21. EndeavorWMEdani

    All true, but purchasing a content library of time tested classics and other well established IP, which took decades to amass, is a much different proposition than what Netflix is attempting to do by building their own. They produce a lot of low grade junk,, but even high production values (a’la Ryan Murphyi) do not always equate to success. I, for one, liked the MGM deal. Deep content libraries are a vanishing commodity. I’m surprised someone hasn’t scooped up Universal.

    Like

    1. z33k

      Brian Roberts (Comcast CEO) hasn’t been willing to let NBCUniversal separate from Comcast though I think he may be more willing if the right deal comes up now that markets are extremely bearish on streaming services’ valuations.

      I’ve long thought a merger between NBCUniversal and Warner Bros would be the most logical to create a mega studio that has similar content heft as Disney with a similar broad cross-section of content: theme parks + superhero IPs in DC + premium content in HBO + all the massive IPs both studios control such as Harry Potter/Minions/etc. + DreamWorks/Illumination animation studios.

      Now that AT&T split off Warner and merged it with Discovery, I think we may see Comcast do something similar and spinoff and merge NBCU with Warner Bros Discovery.

      Or Comcast may try to swallow WBD in total though I think there’d be huge antitrust issues if Comcast tries to own both studios without a spinoff like AT&T did.

      That’s the deal to watch for in the medium term.

      Would create a worthy challenger to Disney.

      Like

      1. I would put Paramount into the merger target mix, too. They would also seem to pair up well with Warner Bros. Discovery as their TV properties complement each other and it would power the HBOMax platform further.

        Like

        1. z33k

          Paramount’s interesting, they’re sort of caught in a bind right now where it’s hard for them to be a controlling actor due to their poor balance sheet weighing down their market cap; they’re more at the whim of what others want to do since they’d be the takeover candidate in most of these situations. They can really only target the much smaller scale players (Lionsgate/Starz or AMC Networks) if they were to look for acquisitions, but none of those move the needle. Not clear Shari Redstone wants to sell yet either.

          I think a big part depends on what Warner’s leadership wants to do; the reality is that everybody except Disney and Netflix are relatively subscale.

          Disney and Netflix can at least mount a fight financially with the mega cap tech co’s in terms of content spend/acquisition.

          Nobody else really can, Comcast is as large as Disney but NBCU is just a fraction of Comcast; probably around $60 billion market cap if separated from Comcast cable.

          Warner’s the most free to merge because it doesn’t have a broadcast network given the current rule preventing any company from owning more than 1 of ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC. That really makes Warner like the Notre Dame of this discussion if it we were discussing realignment.

          But AT&T left them with a pretty heavy debt burden and Discovery’s previous merger with Scripps did the same; the combo has a poor balance sheet.

          NBCU has the cleanest balance sheet of the lot because Comcast paid a cheap price for it and probably wouldn’t load it up with debt in a spinoff scenario; all that is partially why I think NBCU-WBD makes the most sense.

          Paramount eventually probably ends up getting bought by someone but they’re the most likely target of a big tech company that wants broadcast exposure to work alongside streaming (Apple makes the most sense but who knows how anti-trust enforcers would view it).

          Like

    2. It feels like Netflix missed their opportunity to buy a legacy studio during the period prior to April when their stock valuation was sky high.

      Granted, they still have a subscriber base of 220 million households that even Disney will take several more years to reach (if they ever are able to do so).

      I agree that Netflix’s largest weak spot is a lack of franchises. Disney obviously has that in spades with Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and animation library, but the only one Netflix has seemed to be able to generate is Stranger Things. We’ll see if they’re able to create a larger universe of spin-offs from that show beyond the main cast and storyline. (In my mind, a prequel focused on the Vecna/Henry character and the formation of the Hawkins Lab makes a lot of sense.) Bridgerton and the Shonda Rhimes shows aren’t my personal cup of tea, but they certainly get my wife’s demographic well. Otherwise, though, Netflix doesn’t seem to have any franchise-worthy titles, which is really the key to having any type of consistency in a historically boom and bust business.

      Like

  22. Bob

    Frank, thanks for the detailed GOR breakdown. If the ACC bylaws and GOR contract are the same as the B12 it seems like things will hold for the duration (or at least until the financial settlements are within the realm of practicality). As you point out, it becomes a financial calculation not a legal exercise.

    Hypothetically it would seem a single school that is “Disinterested” could claim the rest of the schools are “Interested” if they called for a vote to dissolve the conference, merge with another conference, or otherwise attempt to get out of the GOR, or leave someone behind. Schools like Wake, Syracuse, BC, and/or Pitt that are never going to the B1G or SEC could claim the others are “Interested” and scuttle things.

    Like

    1. Brian

      Just wait until CFB jerseys are like soccer jerseys, with the school names not on them to make room for the sponsor’s name. Maybe they’ll even stop putting numbers on the front, too.

      Like

  23. Marc

    Mandel has a fresh analysis of the Pac-12 and Big XII TV value: TV numbers show Pac-12 might be healthier than we think (for now).

    Mandel looked at ratings data that Andy Staples recently published, which includes games since 2015, with the shortened 2020 season excluded. As the article is behind a paywall for most readers, I will summarize the key points:

    “Losing USC and UCLA is not as catastrophic as losing Oklahoma and Texas.” The Longhorns and Sooners are the very clear #1–2 in the Big XII, with everyone else pretty far behind. But over the period Mandel looked at, USC was only slightly higher-rated than Oregon, and UCLA was 6th in the Pac-12.

    Neither Texas nor USC were winning big during this period, but the Longhorns averaged about 0.5m viewers more than the Trojans. Texas and/or Oklahoma were featured games on Fox or ABC far more often than USC or UCLA, which gave them more opportunities to draw in high ratings. But of course, the networks’ choice of featured games is not random: they know what people will watch.

    Mandel looked at the remaining Pac-12 and Big XII teams’ TV ratings with the departing schools’ games removed. The top six, and 8 of the top 10, are Pac-12 schools. Oklahoma State, the highest-rated Big XII school, is pulling in fewer viewers than Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Washington State, Colorado or Utah — and only slightly more than Cal.

    Seven of the bottom 10 are Big XII schools. The exceptions? Oregon State and the two Arizona schools. You can see that rumors of the Big XII poaching the Pac-12 are very likely nonsense. By the way, Kansas is dead last in this data set, and by a very wide margin. Their games have fewer than 1/4th as many viewers as Oregon, Stanford, or Washington. You can forget about the Jayhawks ever making it to the Big Ten.

    Outside of the Big XII’s top two programs, many of their games tend to be “relegated to the ratings graveyard that is FS1.” The Big XII also lands frequently on ESPN2, which is not as bad as FS1 but not as good as the main ESPN network either. The Pac-12 gets many more of its games on ESPN, due to late starts when no other Power Five conference is playing. Those games almost always pull in >1m viewers, due to the lack of competition.

    On top of all that, 30 Pac-12 games per year are now stuck in the purgatory that is the Pac-12 Networks. Those games constitute a huge reservoir of unrealized value with no counterpart in the Big XII.

    Mandel thinks the Pac-12 should add to its inventory by expanding with San Diego State; he does not guess at who their +1 would be. He does not suggest that they take any Big XII schools. Oklahoma state would be the clear #1 choice, but all of the potential #2’s are problematic. Based on ratings in the data set, it would be TCU, but the Horned Frogs played above their historical average during that period. It’s not clear they would be worth having if they revert to the mean. After that, you’ve got West Virginia, Baylor, and Iowa State. The Big XII exit fee may very well be too high a barrier, even if the Pac-12 wanted these schools, which it probably does not.

    Like

    1. Marc

      By the way, I do not think Oklahoma State would accept a Pac-12 invitation. Even if they make a tad more in the Pac-12, they would lose most of their Texas access and play a lot of games two time zones to the west. It seems like a bad trade-off for them.

      Like

      1. Mike

        IMO – Oklahoma St is down the list of PAC candidates. I can easily see them not making the cut. In any sort of PAC Texas play, I don’t see OSU being additive.

        If I were running the PAC my list would be:

        1. TCU
        2. Baylor
        3. Houston
        4. Tech
        5. Kansas
        6. Iowa St.

        I’m not sure the PAC presidents will take Baylor. San Diego St plus TCU, Tech, and Houston might be the move.

        Like

        1. Mike: “If I were running the PAC my list would be:

          1. TCU
          2. Baylor
          3. Houston
          4. Tech
          5. Kansas
          6. Iowa St.

          Seems like BYU would be # 1 on any PAC list of B12 schools. That bias against Mormons is probably a lot less of a problem nowadays.

          Like

          1. Mike

            I’m not sure doubling down on Utah is going to be additive. Also, Utah’s entire branding strategy is the power conference school in SLC/Utah. Utah will desire as much space from BYU as possible. Best case scenario for Utah is to weaken the Big 12 to the point BYU has to go independent again.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Colin,

            I doubt their stance on BYU has changed one iota. The only difference is that 2 of the guaranteed no votes will be leaving. Utah will do everything in its power to keep BYU out, as will Cal, Stanford, and UW. Probably UA, UO, ASU, and CU as well. Research school don’t mix well with religious schools that interfere with certain areas/lines of research and what can be taught/said on certain scientific topics. The lack of inclusiveness is a tough political sell, too. It’s also why Baylor would be hard to get approved.

            Besides, as Mike points out, UU already brings the state of Utah and the SLC market. That takes away most of BYU’s financial value. The LDS population is heavily concentrated in Utah, and to a lesser extent in the rest of the mountains and west. The P10 already has UT, WA, OR, CA, AZ and CO schools.

            Like

          3. It’s not a bias against LDS per se, but there are still policies at BYU that just won’t fly with the leadership at most (all?) of the Pac-12 schools. The only way that BYU gets into the Pac-12 is if everyone of value in the Pac-12 is already gone and it’s really just the MWC with a different name.

            If I’m running the Pac-12, I’d go after 3 Texas-based schools (TCU for sure plus 2 out of Baylor, Houston or Texas Tech) and Kansas to get to 14. If it’s a 6 school expansion, it would be taking all 4 Texas-based schools plus Kansas and Oklahoma State. Unfortunately, I think Iowa State is in trouble here. On a pure TV ratings basis, Oklahoma State has been the most consistent draw in the Big 12 outside of UT and OU, so that’s one area where the Pac-12 might hold their nose on the academic front.

            One thing that I would NOT do if I was either the Pac-12 or Big 12 is stand pat. This isn’t the time to be worried about the next TV contract, but rather which league is standing when conference realignment produces another earthquake. I strongly felt that the Big 12 made a mistake in simply staying at 10 schools for the last decade on the guise that it was best for the TV contract. As a league, they would have been better off integrating schools like Cincinnati and BYU into the conference for the past several years and building up those brands further.

            History says that partnership talks that break down between conferences eventually result in one raiding the other. Putting aside the jokes about the Big Ten/Pac-12/ACC Alliance that was obviously thrown out the window with the USC/UCLA expansion, the ACC and Big East had a bunch of merger and partnership discussions in the late-1990s. The ACC then began to think that the Big East was looking to poach from them, so the ACC enacted a plan to strike the Big East first by targeting Miami and it then went on for several years afterward until the Big East football league was effectively killed.

            In essence, these partnership discussions give each league free due diligence on what all of the schools are worth in the other league. Who knows when it will happen, but at some point, the Pac-12 is going to raid the Big 12 or vice versa. TV money only comes with power conference status, so preservation of that power conference status is a baseline survival need here even if the short-term TV contract doesn’t benefit.

            Like

          4. Brian

            Frank,

            I just don’t see the value in getting the 2nd tier TX schools, nor do I see enough value to them to justify paying the B12 exit fee. The only way for the B12 and P12 to gain significant value is to consolidate the most valuable schools and drop the dead weight. Both have too many schools of low value.

            Maybe these 14 get together (or drop Cal and UH to be at 12)
            UW, UO, Stanford, Cal, CU, UU, ASU, UA
            OkSU, TT, TCU, Baylor, UH, KU

            WV is a better brand, but makes no sense for travel (add them in when the ACC can also join in). KU is in for hoops, like Cal is in for CA access. No doubling up with BYU, KSU, WSU, or OrSU. No long trips with UC or WV. ISU just doesn’t bring value.

            As for the B12 expanding earlier, that would only make sense if they knew UT and OU were going to leave, and if the other schools still had the votes to add them. UT and OU would’ve voted no, so the other schools would have to override their votes (How many have to approve?). In reality, the other schools were trying to keep UT and OU happy so they wouldn’t force an expansion those two opposed.

            P12 expansion needs to make financial sense. Can you convince Cal (and Stanford, and UW, and maybe others) to be in the same conference as a Cal State school? Do they want non-PhD schools in their mix? After that hurdle, maybe SDSU and Fresno State make sense to get back into SoCal. I don’t see Boise or BYU or schools outside the footprint making sense.

            Like

          5. @Brian – Oh, I get it and that’s probably how the Pac-12 schools are thinking right now: they’re just looking at the immediate TV contract value.

            My argument for Pac-12 expansion is more global: there’s a pretty good chance that, at some point, the current Power 5 is going to turn into a very clear Power 4… and the Pac-12 needs to do everything that it can to make sure that it’s one of those P4 leagues as opposed to the Big 12. (I’d say the exact same thing in reverse for the Big 12.) For as much as we talk about TV money, if that power status goes away, then that TV money goes away entirely.

            Obviously, the devil is in the details. If the Pac-12 schools would suffer a 50% paycut per school with expansion, then sure, there’s no way that’s going to happen. However, if the TV contract stays the same or even if there’s a 10% paycut per school with expansion but it means killing off the Big 12 as any type of conceivable threat even if Washington and Oregon leave in the future, then that’s a different value proposition to me.

            In fact, it goes back to the core prisoner’s dilemma situation between the Pac-12 and Big 12: the Pac-12 is more valuable than the Big 12 if its stays all together, but if any single Pac-12 schools moves, then the league probably collapses and the Big 12 becomes more valuable.

            What’s holding the value of the Pac-12 back isn’t its brands, but rather its lack of stability here (e.g. it wouldn’t just lose value without Washington and Oregon, but rather be destroyed as a league entirely). Effectively, the Pac-12 might be wise to “pay” for some stability in the form of those reinforcements even if that doesn’t really raise (or maybe even slightly decrease) the per school TV value. It’s akin to your health – you can have all the money in the world, but it’s pretty irrelevant without your health. Likewise, in conference realignment, you could be maximizing your TV revenue at a certain size, but if your membership is unstable, that TV revenue could go away at any moment.

            Like

          6. Richard

            The problem is that most of the schools are low-value, or low-value enough that there isn’t clear deadweight to be dropped. In football, KU is clear deadweight, but they are a king in basketball so still bring obvious value. When the vast majority of the schools are pretty close to each other in value, there’s not much you can do there. UW and UO aren’t going to be able to form a conference just by themselves.

            And you can’t overrely on a few years of near term data either. For example, Cal hasn’t done well lately, so hasn’t gotten eyeballs, but if Cal did as well as Stanford has, they’d definitely get more viewers than Stanford.

            Like

          7. Brian

            Frank,

            I think both the B12 and P12 should just be trying to prep for 2036. That’s when the P5 may drop to a P3 or P4. I don’t think adding B12 schools who are a poor fit for the P12 offers stability, it just means they’re likely to leave in 2036 if the ACC offers them a penny more. At least adding SDSU and Fresno would be schools that aren’t likely to defect. The B12 may regret having schools like UC, UCF and WV which would all rather be in the ACC.

            It may take the ACC losing some key schools in 2036 and backfilling from the B12 to force the B12 and P12 to merge as a member of the P4. Forming the “best of the rest” conference in 2036 is their shot at being a P3 conference.

            Like

          8. Brian

            Colin,

            Even if that list was basically accurate (which it likely isn’t), you can’t generalize desirability to conferences. The B10 looks for different things than the SEC, the B12 and the P12 want different things, etc.

            BYU might look good on paper, but that doesn’t mean they are attractive to the P12. First, already having Utah (and most other western states) greatly reduces the value of BYU. Second, the academic/cultural differences between BYU and the P12 are huge.

            Like

          9. Brian

            Richard,

            Don’t forget that this data removes ND games. Stanford gets those to boost their ratings value even if they are bad. Cal doesn’t get that advantage. So I’m not sure that an equally good Cal would top Stanford overall.

            Like

          10. frug

            @Frank

            I strongly felt that the Big 12 made a mistake in simply staying at 10 schools for the last decade on the guise that it was best for the TV contract. As a league, they would have been better off integrating schools like Cincinnati and BYU into the conference for the past several years and building up those brands further.

            That might have been the best thing for the league as a whole, but Oklahoma and Texas would never have allowed it. They had too many other options to justify taking a pay cut just because it helped the rest of the conference.

            Now the PAC is in a somewhat different position (mostly because Oregon and Washington don’t have guaranteed landing spots elsewhere meaning they have to be a bit more cautious) but you still have to factor in the reality that what is best for the conference is not necessarily the same as what is best for the all its members.

            Like

    2. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Excellent article. Given the lack of competition and good ratings for Pac after Dark, I can see ESPN expanding Pac after Dark to include Friday night. B12 of ACC could use a 7p Friday slot.

      With the expanded SEC taking up most of the best ABC/ESPN slots, an expanded Pac after Dark may be as good as it gets for the Pac, outside of a random #6 Oregon v #14 Washington game during an unusually weak SEC weekend.

      Like

      1. bullet

        The Pac 12 schools hate that. They have been complaining and trying to reduce their number of games at that time. And hardly anybody in the eastern time zones watch those games. I used to like to watch the 10:30 games when I was in the CTZ, but in the East, you don’t even get to halftime until after midnight.

        Like

        1. Brian

          Part of that is because all their networks put games then. Some teams had more than half their games that late. I counted 8 one year for Arizona.

          Like

          1. Mike: “Doesn’t Arizona have to have home night games because of the heat?”

            That is why domed, air-conditioned Allegiant Stadium in Vegas totally changes the dynamics for UNLV.

            Like

    3. Mike

      I will give the Big 12 credit, they have really driven the narrative that the Big 12 is poised to raid the PAC any day now. Even if the Big Ten comes back for additional schools, the PAC will still have better academics and brands. I highly doubt that there is one Big 12 president who wouldn’t jump at the chance to be associated with Cal, Stanford, Washington, Utah or Colorado. That doesn’t even take into account Colorado paying millions to leave a much better Big 12, nor does it account for Utah’s entire branding strategy against arch rival BYU.

      IMO – If there is any raid, it will be the PAC raiding the Big 12

      Like

      1. Richard

        Yep, I just don’t see the per capita payouts for the Pac, B12, and ACC to be different enough for any poaching to go on between those 3 conferences, especially when you consider that the costs of wrecking traditional rivalries, extra travel costs, and buyouts will eat in to any extra revenue difference.

        Like

      2. Marc

        I will give the Big 12 credit, they have really driven the narrative that the Big 12 is poised to raid the PAC any day now.

        As these stories are totally unsourced, we don’t know where they are coming from. It could be one or two very delusional boosters.

        Like

        1. bullet

          Not correct. Some of it is based on the Navigate analysis which showed the Pac 12 with USC and UCLA just a little ahead of the nBig 12 in revenue. Navigate is a media consultant.

          Like

          1. Brian

            https://nvgt.com/blog/p5-payout-estimates-12-team-cfp-expansion/

            That’s true.

            I linked the most recent version of their analysis that I’ve seen. It’s a big change from the version 2 weeks earlier, because the latest version assumes a 12-team playoff with unequal revenue sharing. The prior model assumed 8 teams

            * Our initial model estimated that 63% of payout goes towards base payments to conferences and the remaining 37% goes towards conferences in NY6 bowls and playoff games, which was also assumed in this new model.

            * To allocate non-base payouts, we looked back at the last 11-years (2011 to 2021) of college football performance and assumed the proposed 12-team playoff rules are used for participation to estimate the number of teams included in the playoff each year:
            ** P5 Champions are included in the playoff.
            ** Highest Ranked G5 conference champion is included in the playoff.
            ** Remaining 6 playoff teams are at-large bids.

            Teams per year
            SEC – 3.8
            B10 – 2.2
            P12 – 1.6
            B12 – 1.5
            ACC – 1.4

            Those numbers differ greatly from the counts based on the CFP era (2014-2021)

            It’s important to note that this does not include the move of USC and UCLA, but does include the changes coming to the SEC and B12.

            Navigate doesn’t explain their work in detail, they just show some numbers and list basic assumptions. There are a lot of things to question about their results.

            You see the B10 jump in 2024 (new TV deal). Then the SEC in 2025 (UT + OU). Everybody jumps in 2026 with the expanded CFP.

            But this lets us compare some things:
            B10 growth (total payout in millions of $)
            2022: 57.2
            2023: 58.9
            2024: 73.0 (would’ve been 60.7 – so $12.3M bump from new TV deal)
            2025: 75.2
            2026: 92.5 (would’ve been 77.4 – so $15.2M bump from CFP)
            2027: 95.3

            SEC growth (total payout in millions of $)
            2022: 54.3
            2023: 56.0
            2024: 57.6 (shouldn’t the new ESPN deal start here?)
            2025: 74.9 (would’ve been 59.4 – so $15.5M bump from new members, TV deal)
            2026: 107.8 (would’ve been 77.1 – so $30.7M bump from CFP)
            2027: 111.0

            The report assumes 3% annual growth when nothing else changes.

            You’ll see that the report basically has the B10 and SEC being even by 2025 outside of the CFP. The SEC jump from expansion is only $3.2M per school larger than the B10’s jump due to just a new TV deal.

            So what happens with USC and UCLA joining the B10? Navigate hasn’t estimated those numbers yet. But if this talk of $1B or more for the new TV deal is correct, just the TV would be $71-75M per school. That would push the B10’s total to $80-85M before CFP expansion.

            As for the other P5s:
            * ACC just barely jumps the P12 in 2023 thanks to wider ACCN carriage, with B12 $5M ahead.

            * New P12 deal in 2024 almost catches the P12 up to the B12 (USC and UCLA still included)

            * B12 doesn’t drop at all despite losing UT and OU in 2025 as they start a new TV deal

            * P12 takes the lead in 2026 due to CFP expansion, with ACC next and B12 last (but all very similar)

            Obviously the USC/UCLA move will change these numbers. I’m not convinced 2025 will work out that evenly for the B12.

            Like

      3. greg

        I will give the Big 12 credit, they have really driven the narrative that the Big 12 is poised to raid the PAC any day now.

        it is pretty incredible how the narrative is that the B12 is solid and P12 is shaky. The B12 is solid because…. they added four G5 teams? That seems to be the root of it.

        Both leagues have their rights coming up for bid. I don’t see how the B12 gets a higher per-team payout than the P12. The continuing P12 team ratings beat the continuing B12 team ratings, and that doesn’t include the lower-rated G5 teams they’ve added.

        When the USC/UCLA move happened, the P12 rushed to open their 30-day negotiating window. It seems like they rushed to open the window to get to the open market and see what is out there. That 30-day window is about to end, so in a week or two there may be some big news.

        Like

        1. Mike

          It seems like they rushed to open the window to get to the open market and see what is out there. That 30-day window is about to end, so in a week or two there may be some big news.

          Unless ESPN (or FOX) makes a “godfather” like offer (and they really have no reason to at this point) it will probably be longer then that. The PAC will have to solicit bids and get an answer from the serious bidders on the expansion question. Wilner noted that the PAC will know where it stands financially (i.e. what ball park its in) a few months from now. Until then we’ll get to enjoy the weekly “Arizona applied for Big 12 admission today” rumors.

          Like

        2. Marc

          It is pretty incredible how the narrative is that the B12 is solid and P12 is shaky.

          Much of the reasoning is that the Big Ten could raid the Pac-12 again. The Big XII’s supposed stability is directly tied to its mediocrity. It has no remaining teams that other leagues are likely to want.

          Hence, a team joining the Big XII could be reasonably sure that the league’s composition won’t get worse, but it is probably not getting better either. The Pac-12 could conceivably get worse, e.g., Notre Dame joins the Big Ten with Stanford.

          Like

          1. Seems like the Pac-12 has four relatively solid candidates for expansion, all within their current footprint: San Diego St, UNLV, Boise State and BYU. Note that UNLV is now playing in the new NFL Allegiant Stadium.

            It’s hard to see Colorado going back to the Big XII. Just a few years ago, they paid a hefty exit fee to get OUT of the Big XII. Would they get a refund?

            Like

          2. Mike

            Much of the reasoning is that the Big Ten could raid the Pac-12 again.

            IMO – being in a league where promotions come from is a selling point.

            Hence, a team joining the Big XII could be reasonably sure that the league’s composition won’t get worse, but it is probably not getting better either.

            That’s not the worst case scenario for the Big 12 teams, but that’s pretty close. Every one of them desires to be 1) Either a Big Ten or SEC team or 2) A third league with a similar paycheck.

            The Pac-12 could conceivably get worse, e.g., Notre Dame joins the Big Ten with Stanford.

            If that were to happen, by every metric, the PAC would still be a better conference.

            Like

          3. Brian

            Colin,

            I disagree. Once you do the analysis, those schools aren’t great choices. Remember, they need to bring about $30M.

            SDSU is the best of the bunch, as it gets them back into SoCal. But San Diego is a much smaller market than LA, and SDSU a much smaller brand. A big problem is that SDSU is part of the Cal State system, and thus can’t offer PhD programs by themselves (SDSU does offer some PhD programs with another school – either a UC school or a private school). Fresno State has the same issues.

            UNLV brings the #40 Las Vegas market and the #33 state of NV (3.2M), but that’s it. It’s terrible at sports, and the pro sports teams will crush UNLV for attention. UNLV is also a mediocre school (#249 in USNWR). UNR is the slightly better flagship, but it’s market is tiny.

            Boise was a junior college until 1965. It started its first doctoral program in 1993. It is only an R2 school and ranked in the 300s. Also Boise is tiny and so is Idaho. All BSU has is a decent football brand, and that’s slipping.

            I explained BYU’s issues above. It brings no new market, and the LDS influence over teaching and research is a deal-breaker.

            The P12 may value SoCal enough to take SDSU. Maybe Fresno gets in by the same logic. I don’t see BSU, BYU, or UNLV having a chance. Personally, I don’t think any of these schools bring the value the P12 needs. They are better as a P10. If someone else leaves (like Stanford as ND’s +1), then add SDSU to return to 10.

            Like

          4. Marc

            I am pretty sure BYU is not making $30m for its independent TV contract, and they play a pretty good (almost P5-level) schedule. Estimates I have seen are between $4.5–6.0 million.

            Like

          5. bullet

            By competitive metrics in the revenue sports, the Big 12 is clearly superior. The nBig12 may be the best basketball conference. The Pac 12 has not even been #6 in recent years. In football, the nBig12 schools have done better. The R8 have better average football attendance than the Pac 12 WITH USC and UCLA. With the 4 new members, they are only a little behind.

            How that translates into TV $$s is hard to say.

            Like

          6. Brian

            bullet,

            Yes, I don’t think anyone disagrees the B12 has been better on the field and the court lately. Of course, some of that success came from OU and UT.

            The “best” hoops conference changes from year to year. The B12 isn’t definitively better than everyone else like the SEC has been in football.

            Attendance is nice, but means little for TV value.

            The big markets in the P12 mean a lot to TV. The bigger brands in the P12 mean a lot, too. And apparently the late night TV windows do as well.

            Remember, even a terrible ND team gets millions of viewers every game. It’s not fair, but success and viewership do not track together all the time.

            Like

        3. bullet

          In Mandel’s article the P10 beat the R8. In pretty much every other one I’ve seen they are pretty equal or maybe a little better for the R8. Now the 3 AAC schools come out near the bottom in every analysis, but its hard to compare them in the AAC with the AAC TV contract.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Basically, the P10 has done better in every analysis I’ve seen that ignores games against ND and the teams leaving their conferences (and B10 and SEC). The R8 does better if you don’t ignore all those games.

            I think it’s really that simple.

            Like

    4. Jersey Bernie

      That makes it sound vaguely as though UCLA got its invitation to the B1G as a piggyback to USC. If Gov. Newsome somehow stopped UCLA, if the B1G took Stanford instead of UCLA, it would not be much of a loss to the B1G.

      Obviously travel to two LA schools is a lot easier than a trip to LA and SF. Other than that UCLA may not offer much more than Stanford.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Most expansions are in pairs with an obvious #1, which in this case is USC. I agree, if you sub Stanford for UCLA, the Big Ten is certainly no worse off, and it might even be better.

        Newsom is not going to prevent UCLA from going to the Big Ten. Even if he had the power to do so, it would be financially ruinous. I think he is peeved that he didn’t get to weigh in on the decision. Once he sees the numbers, he will realize there is no better alternative.

        Like

          1. Brian

            I don’t think he really had an end game in mind when he started this. I’m not even sure if he was angry before Cal and/or Stanford donors started calling him and demanding to know what was going on. Then he was angry because he wasn’t in the loop and felt embarrassed, so he threw a temper tantrum. I’m sure an aide quickly explained to him the financial benefits to UCLA, but that wasn’t really the point anymore.

            He may have had an initial reaction that he could pressure people into taking Cal along, but I’m sure he was quickly disabused of that notion. The B10 couldn’t care less what Newsom thinks. Neither could USC. He can pressure UCLA, but they knew their actions were legal (I’m sure they studied that in detail before signing). They also know that punishing the academic side of the school would be terrible optics for him.

            It’s a bit ironic that he is so upset about the business of college sports now, after he pushed for the NIL law in CA.

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        1. Brian

          Marc,

          UCLA erred by not being a bit more open with the BoR. They could’ve held a private meeting to explain the move at the same time they were signing the deal. Give the regents some numbers and explain that USC was leaving regardless, and that would tank the P12 TV deal all by itself. If UCLA didn’t go, Stanford or UW would (don’t need proof) and then both UC schools would suffer. Newsom likely wouldn’t have been at the meeting (he usually doesn’t attend), but afterwards he couldn’t complain they regents weren’t told.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Agreed, they’re going. They only question is if they get taxed or punished by the regents now, or if the administrators just get chewed out.

            Like

        2. bullet

          UCLA is far superior long term to Stanford. They are like Miami. When they are good, everybody watches. If conference commissioners were to do a top 20 draft, UCLA is probably in, even if you excluded academic snobs. They’ve just had a long dry spell since the 90s.

          Like

          1. Brian

            I don’t know. At some point it’s not a dry spell, it’s your new place in the pecking order. UCLA had 9 consecutive winning seasons in 80s, 6 total in the 90s, 5 in the 00s, and 4 in the 10s. They have a 0.577 W% (38th best). Who’s #37? Stanford.

            Plus Stanford opens another major market in CA, while UCLA is double dipping in the same one as USC. If RU serves the B10’s purposes in NYC, certainly USC can do so by itself in LA. For the B10 including USC, I think Stanford actually brings more value.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Not sure it’s as clear as that Brian.

            LA (and whatever pull UCLA has throughout Cali) is like Texas, it’s such a gigantic market that having 2 schools out there is fine.

            Not sure you get the full value out of the LA market with just 7 USC home games out there. Adding another 7 UCLA home game is worth it.

            It’s increased exposure that’s probably needed when you consider how far away that part of the country is and detached from the rest in terms of exposure/time zone/etc.

            That’s 8-9 Big Ten schools visiting there annually. That’s huge value on an annual basis that I don’t think you get from just having 1 flag planted out there.

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          3. z33k

            And of course, many of us assume that Stanford is likely to be ND’s partner if they ever join the Big Ten, so sort of like Stanford is just waiting.

            As far as winning/potential goes, UCLA has the ability to punch at the weight of a Wisconsin if it’s really rolling but it’s going to be hard if they’re being “showcased” with a lot of visits from big brands in the Big Ten.

            Stanford’s pretty unique among the smart schools in that they generally win the head-to-head battle for a lot of 4+ star recruits that want to go to the most prestigious place that has D1 football.

            So they absolutely have that long-term edge in place given that Stanford’s prestige exceeds the rest of the top undergrads in FBS like Duke/Northwestern/ND/Vandy/etc.

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          4. “And of course, many of us assume that Stanford is likely to be ND’s partner if they ever join the Big Ten, so sort of like Stanford is just waiting.”

            Z33k, I’ve posted this twice before but I’ll do it yet again. There is zero evidence that Stanford wants to go to the Big Ten or that they would do so if invited.

            Like

          5. Brian

            z33k,

            Fine wasn’t the question. I don’t object to having UCLA. The question was whether it was more valuable than Stanford.

            UCLA football is an afterthought in LA. Sending Iowa out there to play won’t change that. LA is a bandwagon town – UCLA has to win big for anyone to care.

            And while you’re getting this extra LA exposure, you’re getting zero exposure in SF. There are a lot of B10 alumni there, too. Is double exposure in LA better than the top CFB brand in LA plus SF exposure?

            And I’m analyzing all of this on the current plans. If ND will bring a P12 +1 later, then we can debate whether another CA school (Stanford for you, UCLA for me), or UW would make more sense. But I’m not looking at this move assuming I know the next one. We have no proof Stanford would even say yes.

            Like

          6. m (Ag)

            The UCLA brand value is interesting. I think it does have the 2nd most value in the Pac 12 for the Big Ten/SEC. I think the buildup to the LSU/UCLA game among casual fans last year was bigger than it would have been if LSU was playing Utah or Oregon, even though those schools are better at football right now. Checking an article for last year, that game got 3.22 million viewers, a solid number given it was against Georgia/Clemson (8.86 million viewers), both of whom were seen as stronger national title contenders.

            When determining the value of the “leftovers” in the Big 12 and Pac 10 to TV networks we rightfully judge how they do when they’re not playing the big brands…they won’t have those teams as conference members. But when judging the value of schools to the Big Ten or SEC that’s not very important; we want to know how they do vs. big brands. Of course, that gets tricky because you have to somehow account for the audience that the other big brand brings.

            If the governor of California does sabotage UCLA’s Big Ten entry, I wouldn’t be surprised if the SEC offered UCLA/Cal as a package. I’m not 100% sure they would get an offer, but I’m confident Alabama/Tennessee/Georgia/etc. vs. UCLA would get ratings and have additional recruiting benefits to SEC schools.

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          7. Brian

            By itself, UCLA is very valuable. That’s not the question. The question is how much additional TV value do the bring beyond what USC brings. All I’m saying is that Stanford brings about the same value as UCLA, because Stanford opens a new market and UCLA doesn’t. It’s not a huge stretch based on the value estimates from that expert..

            Like

      2. Brian

        Bernie,

        I didn’t read the article, but of course UCLA rode USC’s coattails into the B10. USC is the football brand, and football is 80% of a TV deal. USC by itself brings the LA market for TV purposes. UCLA is a fading hoops blueblood and a great school in a big market. USC demanded them as a partner (so they didn’t have to have 2 locked OOC rivals), and the B10 was happy to say yes. But honestly, Stanford might actually bring more value.

        One set of P12 estimates said USC + UCLA was worth $200M out of the P12’s $500M. It also said Cal + Stanford was worth $90M. My guess is that USC is worth $150M of that $200M, and that Stanford is worth more than half of that $90M (bigger football brand). Combined, I think USC + Stanford is worth about the same $200M.

        You are right about travel, and UCLA maintains a big rivalry for USC. It also guarantees schools a trip to CA essentially every year. And UCLA brings that hoops brand. But having Stanford and USC may have some value in terms of eventually landing ND, plus it lands the SF market.

        Like

        1. I think there’s been a bit of underrating of the value of UCLA in the media. While I agree that USC is the more valuable brand due to football, the LA market is so massive by itself (larger population than every state other than Texas, Florida and New York) that being able to *monopolize* the LA market with the USC/UCLA combo has synergistic value beyond just having USC there. It’s similar to the SEC now having the Texas/Texas A&M combo – even though there are other Texas-based schools in the Big 12, the reality is that getting UT/A&M effectively means that the SEC owns the State of Texas and that’s a valuable enough market by itself that it’s more than worth it to take both schools. This isn’t like Texas previously demanding to bring Texas Tech with them – I honestly believe that if UCLA approached the Big Ten for membership alone, the league would have taken them within two seconds.

          On basketball, it always perplexes me when I see UCLA named as a supposedly fading basketball blue blood. They just made a Final Four in 2021 and had a run of three straight Final Fours in the late-2000s. 99% of schools would trade for that recent on-the-court record in a heartbeat. I think UCLA boosting the overall value of the Big Ten basketball package isn’t being taken into account enough in a lot of quarters – the Big Ten is able to monetize basketball better than other leagues because of the BTN and we may see hoops become a more important part of streaming packages going forward.

          Like

          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            Frank – while I think USC/UCLA is by far the best add the B1G could have made, but “owning” the LA market (2nd largest DMA) is really not comparable to owning the state of Texas (2nd largest state).

            USC will never be as popular as it was during the Pete Carroll early 2000s when they were the only real football game in town. With the Rams, Lakers and Dodgers all recently winning championships, at best USC football is #4 in a huge, but bandwagon market. When USC was last the toast of the town, there was no NFL competition.

            I’m guessing that UCLA football is below the Angels, Chargers and maybe even the Clippers in fan support. When LSU opened the 2021 season against UCLA at the Rose Bowl, the Tigers brought about 30k fans. What little homefield advantage UCLA had was due to a last minute campaign to hand out free tickets to any LA County public school student.

            Also, LA lacks the sometimes unhealthy obsession with football that afflicts so many in Texas. I would guess that UT football is only behind the NFL Cowboys in a state obsessed with football. If the Longhorns are behind the NFL Texans, its probably not by much. Throw in #4 Aggies and the #5 Sooners, and that’s locking down a market/state.

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          2. @Alan from Baton Rouge – Oh, no doubt that LA is not like the State of Texas in terms of football fandom.

            What I do think its important is that the history of LA college football fandom is quite favorable compared to many of the largest urban metro markets like NYC, Chicago, DC and their neighbors to the North in the Bay Area. I’ve never been someone that is as hung up on the pro/college sports fan separation or ranking within markets – the Big Ten Midwestern footprint is a clear example where NFL and college football fandom coexist at an extremely high level for both (and for that matter, the State of Texas is like that with the Cowboys and its support for UT/A&M, too).

            Chicago has 5 pro sports teams, but I’d put up the fandom for the clear #5 team (my White Sox) against the #1 teams in the vast majority of pro sports markets. To the extent that Notre Dame has any home market, it’s Chicago, but it would be clearly #6 behind all 5 pro sports teams here in a ranking… but that would belie the still super high interest in ND in this market and the sheer number is huge due to the population size here. In the case of LA, the Lakers and Dodgers are two of the most iconic franchises in their respective sports (e.g. what the Cowboys are to the NFL) and the Rams just won the Super Bowl – I don’t really see an issue with USC being ranked behind them. We could only wish that, say, Rutgers even had a chance to be the #4 team in the NYC market behind the Yankees, Giants and Knicks. If that were the case, the Big Ten would probably be looking at a $2 billion or $3 billion per year TV contract.

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          3. Brian

            Frank,

            The key is that we’re discussing USC and UCLA as a pair. UCLA by itself has more value than UCLA adds as USC’s partner.

            I don’t buy that college sports can have much power in LA. LA, like Miami, is all about bandwagon fans for winning teams. If USC is winning big, it’s huge in LA. UCLA has never been at that level in football, but presumably would have a similar effect (though they are the Clippers to USC’s Lakers). A dominant UCLA hoops team would be popular, but that is Lakers’ territory first and foremost. A good Lakers team trumps coverage of UCLA hoops every time.

            For your SEC in TX analogy, I’d adjust it:
            USC in LA = UT + TAMU in TX
            UCLA football in LA = TT + TCU + UH + Baylor in TX

            “I honestly believe that if UCLA approached the Big Ten for membership alone, the league would have taken them within two seconds.”

            I agree 100%, because in that case they’d be bringing the B10 into LA. But USC does that even more powerfully, leaving the added value of UCLA diminished.

            “On basketball, it always perplexes me when I see UCLA named as a supposedly fading basketball blue blood. They just made a Final Four in 2021 and had a run of three straight Final Fours in the late-2000s.”

            UCLA only has themselves to blame for that. Wooden set their bar so ridiculously high, they can never match it. So UCLA will always be down from their peak. And LA fans would rather watch the Lakers anyway. There was also that down period of about 12 years before 2021, and quite honestly I’ve stopped following MBB lately so I couldn’t tell you that UCLA made a Final Four recently. There were bigger events going on at the time.

            “I think UCLA boosting the overall value of the Big Ten basketball package isn’t being taken into account enough in a lot of quarters – the Big Ten is able to monetize basketball better than other leagues because of the BTN and we may see hoops become a more important part of streaming packages going forward.”

            MBB is only 20% of the media deal. It takes a big change in that to be noticeable in the overall deal, and you have to make sure it doesn’t hurt the football side. Plus, B10 MBB is already really valuable as far as MBB goes. How much can UCLA boost it? We recently saw how the B10 had 6 of the top 10 games last year. I think the year to year fluctuations will trump any noticeable gain in value from adding UCLA. The B12, Big East, and ACC are all tough leagues.

            Like

          4. z33k

            Bringing in brands isn’t just about the home market though.

            USC and UCLA play well across the entire West (in football/basketball respectively) due to their 100 years in the Pac-12 and its predecessors.

            It’s true that the Big Ten will never own Cali/LA to the extent that the SEC is getting Texas into its footprint, but the brand power is a big part of the story and that’s the extra eyeballs you should get in crossover matchups.

            Every matchup involving those 2 is going to basically be a national matchup; how much does that matter?

            It’s like 2 Pac-12 schools playing an entire crossover schedule. Over time obviously that will mitigate, but the Big Ten having 2 schools way out West is a bit different from any of these conference moves and I’m not sure it’s clear how the ratings will look in the long-term.

            Like

          5. Brian

            z33k,

            How much is a MBB brand worth? Fewer people watch the regular season anymore, and those who do will watch whatever games ESPN puts on. UCLA was highly ranked last year, but played in no top 10 viewership games despite playing #1 Gonzaga. Plus hoops is only 20% of the TV deal, so any change in its value gets diluted.

            Like

          6. z33k

            Fair point Brian, but I think MBB has potential if the Big Ten takes UNC, UVA, Duke in its next round.

            That’s probably a point at which the Big Ten has enough brand power to measurably raise prices on MBB for ESPN/CBS.

            Maybe it’s just enough to pay for 4 more additions but it’s interesting to contemplate I suppose.

            I think if you have enough brand power, maybe you can make the regular season sorta matter enough.

            Like

        2. bullet

          One simple fact on the value of UCLA. USC and UCLA BOTH got guarantees that they would get at least $17 million on the initial Pac 12 contract. Since it was more than that, the guarantee was moot. But the whole Pac 12 recognized UCLA’s value.

          Like

          1. Brian

            The promise was basically that they wouldn’t make less on the new deal with equal revenue sharing than they did on the old deal. But TV deals normally jump considerably, and the P12 had been undervalued for a long time, so that wasn’t much of a promise. The P12 made the promise because they wanted unanimous acceptance and both USC and UCLA wanted a safety net.

            UCLA was also a bigger CFB brand in the past then now. Every year of losing lessens them. They just ride their home market for value (see RU). And UW used to benefit from the unequal sharing as well, then their football fell off after Don James and they switched sides on the issue.

            For 1946-2000 (55 years) UCLA was #15 in W% (0.638)
            1946-2011 – #22 0.615
            1946-2021 – #20 0.604 (Southern Miss, AR, and Miami(OH) dropped below them)
            For just 2001-2021 – #56 (0.525)

            I’m more than happy to say UCLA is worth an extra $17M per year. I guessed they were worth $50M. But Stanford is also worth about $50M in my eyes, so it’s a wash.

            Like

    5. Brian

      The response of B12 fans to this is interesting. Andy Staples also got slammed by B12 fans for his similar analysis.

      B12 fans make one valid point, that much of the P12’s advantage is due to TV windows. In other words, the P12 after dark time slot is boosting the P12 averages. But I don’t get their point. Is the B12 going to start playing at 10:30 ET? Unless the B12 expands into CA, that doesn’t seem like an option. Even then, they’d have limited inventory compared to the P12.

      This leads back to that internet analysis broken down by network and time. A follow-up tweet by another person turned it into a table with school averages on each network, then converted that into a Z-score. I just looked at 3 things: ABC average (normalized from 0 to 1), ESPN/Fox average (normalized), and secondary networks averaged (normalized). I average those 3 values and ranked the schools.

      Rank School Ave
      1 UO 0.96
      2 FSU 0.93
      3 UL 0.83
      4 UW 0.79
      5 Clem 0.78
      6 OkSU 0.78
      7 VT 0.77
      8 Miami 0.77
      9 WSU 0.76
      10 Bay 0.76
      11 Stan 0.75
      12 TCU 0.74
      13 ASU 0.74
      14 UU 0.72
      15 UVA 0.70
      16 KSU 0.70
      17 SU 0.70
      18 WVU 0.69
      19 Pitt 0.69
      20 GT 0.68
      21 OrSU 0.67
      22 BC 0.67
      23 ISU 0.64
      24 NCSU 0.63
      25 Cal 0.61
      26 BYU 0.59
      27 CU 0.58
      28 TT 0.57
      29 AZ 0.56
      30 Duke 0.55
      31 WF 0.55
      32 Cin 0.54
      33 UNC 0.53
      34 UCF 0.50
      35 KU 0.46
      36 UH 0.41

      A lot of these schools are pretty similar. That’s the main takeaway.
      P12 average = 0.71
      ACC average = 0.70
      Current B12 average (8) = 0.67
      New B12 average (12) = 0.61

      P12 – 1, 4, 9, 11, 13, 14, 21, 25, 27, 29
      B12 – 6, 10, 12, 16, 18, 23, 28, 35, 26*, 32*, 34*, 36*

      The P12 has a slight edge, mostly driven by UO. The new B12 members hurt the average, but they were playing G5 opponents then. KU really hurts the B12 average – it’s be 0.70 without them.

      And note that football struggles in NC (best is #24 NCSU, with Duke second).

      Like

      1. I think fans of a school are going to be naturally biased toward whatever narrative serves best for their school and/or, by extension, their conference.

        Granted, it’s interesting that suddenly the late night Pac-12 games are now supposedly an advantage when so much of what we’ve heard about the undervaluing of the Pac-12 over the past few years is their lack of Eastern/Central Time Zone games. In fact, I’ve heard many Big 12 fans point to the Eastern/Central Time Zone footprint reason as why the league would be worth more than the Pac-12 now and a reason for the Four Corners schools to bolt.

        To me, those arguments directly contradict each other. People can’t simultaneously argue about the superior value of ET/CT games on the one hand but then critique the Pac-12 for getting “artificially” higher ratings for late night West Coast games. If anything, the time zone differences ultimately balance out – the inability for the Pac-12 to realistically have 12 pm ET games is balanced out by their ability to have late night games.

        Like

        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank – I think the argument is Pac after Dark on ESPN with no competition is better than being stuck on ESPN2 up going up against the two SEC and two B1G games.

          Best time slots going forward. All times Eastern:

          1a. Primetime – ABC (mostly SEC)
          2b. Random primetime – FOX (mostly B1G) and NBC (ND)
          2a. 3:30p – ABC (SEC)
          2b. Noon – FOX (mostly B1G)
          3. 2:30p – NBC (Notre Dame)
          5. 3:30p – CBS (B1G?)
          6. Noon – ABC (mostly ACC?)
          7a. 3:30p – ESPN (mostly ACC?)
          7b. 3:30p – FOX (B-12?)
          9. Primetime – ESPN (ACC/Pac?)
          10. Pac after dark – ESPN
          11. ESPN Friday night primetime (ACC?)
          12. Pac after dark – ESPN Friday edition
          13 – 15. ESPN 2 noon, 3:30 & primetime

          16 – 17. Any ESPNU or ESPNNews broadcast
          18. Any FS1 broadcast

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        2. Marc

          A few years ago, the P5 leagues could squint at each other from a distance, and plausibly argue they were near-equals. OK, not quite equals. The Pac-12 had this big disadvantage that they couldn’t play at noon, and their after-dark games were not watched in most of the country.

          Fast forward to today, and the P5 are not equals anymore, and anyone claiming they are would be laughed out of the room. In a battle to become the clear No. 3, the after-dark time slot is suddenly an advantage the other two haven’t got.

          Like

        3. Brian

          Frank,

          Sure, fans will cherry pick the data/argument that supports them. And there is some truth to both sides here, as Alan points out. A bad time slot that is exclusive to you may be better than a good time slot slammed with better games. Being #1 at 10:30 trumps being #5 at 12 or 3:30.

          Part of it is also that P12 fans loathe the late games, so everyone accepted their complaints as valid and came to think of those as bad. It doesn’t mean the data actually supports them. The P12 fans are correct that the late slot puts a ceiling on their ratings, but they didn’t think about the fact they got to avoid going head to head with the B10 and SEC. Their bigger issue was P12N games. We really won’t know what P12 schools can draw for ratings until those games are available to more than 10M people.

          When the B12 has UT and OU, ET time slots are an advantage. Once those two leave, B10 and SEC games will crush the B12 competition during the day and primetime. Then those ET windows are a bad thing. It’s one reason some B12 fans suggest expanding out west – so they can show late games. But that makes no sense if most of your fans live in TX and other CT states – they won’t watch the whole game either. The P12 is uniquely situated to use those windows.

          Like

      2. bullet

        That analysis excluded so much data I don’t know how valid it is. Ask yourself, is UNC really below NCSU, Duke and Wake Forest? Is WSU #3 and OSU #5 in the Pac 12? Is Louisville ahead of Clemson? If UVA really #15 overall? None of this passes the smell test. Maybe it makes some sense for the most part in who is top half and who is bottom half, but not much more than that.

        Like

        1. Brian

          bullet,

          I think it’s more valid because it excluded those games. We know ND, UT, OU and USC would skew the ratings. We also know that postseason games do. OOC games against big brands from the SEC and B10 do as well. The OSU-TCU game (over 7M viewers) was a prime motivator for why people excluded B10 games, for example. That game was not representative of TCU’s drawing power in the B12. There were still about 50 games in each conference that were included (and conference games count twice – once for each school), which is a decent sample size. But yes, small sample sizes are a concern. But to get a larger sample size, you’d introduce other issues (TV options change over time, etc.). I don’t think counting mirror games would reduce the error.

          I think the problem is that you keep reading the wrong things into this data. Remember what those numbers are, and more importantly what they are not. They are not an ordinal ranking of which schools draw the most viewers. They are normalized viewers in each of 3 categories averaged. They attempt to rank how well these schools did relative to the network their games were shown on. One big factor missing is that they are not adjusted for the number of games in each category. Being a weak draw on ABC will still pull many more viewers than a strong draw on ESPNU. That is not rewarded in this list.

          So could UNC being lowest in NC make sense? Sure. If they did relatively poorly compared to other ABC games while others did okay on lesser broadcasts. That’s why my takeaway was that CFB in NC doesn’t do well, not that any one school didn’t do well. For total viewers, you can look at Mandel’s data.

          WSU plays a fun type of football, and often had the late night window. I can believe they were #3 on this list. And look at how small the differences are between many of these schools. My data shows OrSU #7 in the P12, which seems fine to me.

          UL looks like an outlier, but this includes the years of Lamar Jackson when UL was a top 10 team and playing exciting football. They also got the ratings bonus of playing Clemson and FSU every year, something Clemson can’t get.

          Is UVA #15? Out of 36? As in, mediocre? Yes, I can believe that. #14-22 are all basically tied. Basically, they topped BC and the NC schools. Duke and WF can’t be surprises to be low, so it’s just UNC and NCSU.

          UVA:
          2016 – played UO OOC
          2017 – made a bowl, played BSU and IN OOC
          2018 – briefly were ranked, played IN OOC
          2019 – won their division
          2021 – played IL and BYU OOC

          Recall that games against Clemson, FSU and Miami are included for the ACC. Who played them how many times could skew the ACC results somewhat. I think UVA had 3 ABC games that counted in this analysis (2 vs VT, 1 vs #2 Miami). UNC had 3 (1 vs Cal, 1 vs WF, 1 vs #1 Clemson). That Cal game hurt them – it drew 930k viewers. That’s terrible for an OTA network.

          None of these lists are intended to be definitive rankings. And they certainly aren’t predictive.

          Like

    6. Andy

      I didn’t read the Mandel article, but I’m very dubious of these tv ratings analyses. There was one making the rounds that had total garbage data, where every game on the SEC Network was being counted as 0 viewers because they don’t report ratings. That’s absolutely absurd. Missouri, for example, played 9 out of 13 games on the SEC Network. All of those games got counted as 0 viewers. They averaged over 2 million viewers per game in the remaining 4, but somehow their average was counted as only 400k viewers. Which is completely wrong. In reality it was over a million viewers per game on average. I just don’t think a lot of quality analysis is being done on tv ratings. Very flawed.

      Also, reality is, your ratings are largely just a matter of what channel they put you on. When Missouri was on ESPN or CBS they averaged about 3 million viewers per game. When they were on ESPNU it was about 500,000. I’m sure the same is true of all schools, I’m just using Missouri as an example because that’s the one I looked at. So anyway, the teams that get on ESPN, CBS, ABC are getting the best ratings. The ones on ESPNU, BTN, ESPN Network, FS1 are getting lower ratings. That’s really all there is to it. There’s no magic to it. Missouri had a couple of top 10 seasons about 8 years ago and got on ESPN and CBS a lot. Their TV ratings ranked very high nationally. They’ve struggled lately and are on the lesser networks more so they haven’t gotten as many viewers.

      Like

      1. Marc

        Also, reality is, your ratings are largely just a matter of what channel they put you on.

        But the channel you’re on isn’t random. The networks get to choose the games they want, and they are not stupid about it.

        Like

        1. Andy

          Right. They pick the teams that are ranked high. When Missouri was top 25 or top 10, they got on ESPN and CBS all the time. When they went 6-6 they were mostly on SEC Network and ESPNU. So formula is you win, you get on the big networks, you get good ratings. In that order. That’s pretty much all there is to it.

          Like

  24. Mike

    PAC starting to push back on the Big 12

    https://www.johncanzano.com/p/canzano-delusion-aside-the-big-12

    I’ve looked hard at the Big 12 in recent weeks, trying to figure out whether a merger with the Pac-12 made sense (Answer: nope). I also examined the Big 12’s TV markets and wondered if there was a no-brainer target for the Pac-12 to poach (Answer: nope).

    I also don’t think the Big 12 is a strong candidate to lure away any of the remaining Pac-12 universities. When I asked Pac-12 athletic directors about the possibility of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and ASU leaving, I was told another round of defections was unlikely as long as Oregon and Washington remained in the Pac-12.

    One current AD said: “I don’t know where all this ‘the Big 12 is better’ stuff is coming from. You wouldn’t trade our troubles for theirs.”

    Like

    1. Little8

      After the initial B1G invites to USC/UCLA the folks at Oregon and Washington were already packing their bags in anticipation of a B1G invite. If the PAC lost 4 teams they would be much weaker. That fear is why the other PAC schools were looking at the B12, induced as much by OR/WA as anything the B12 said. As the invites did not come and the fear died down any movement in either direction became unlikely. Even though the B12 GOR is expiring their exit fee is not. Besides having to pay a big exit fee, any school leaving would forfeit their share of the TX/OK exit fees.

      Like

      1. largeR

        I read everything on here but did not realize that exit fees do not expire with the GOR. Is this true of all conferences, some, or just the Big 12? Does anyone know the exit fees for the individual P5? I assume the SEC has none!

        Like

        1. Marc

          Yes, that’s correct. An exit fee is a conference rule that remains in place indefinitely unless changed. As it is merely a rule, it can be amended or rescinded whenever a sufficient number of members want. In contrast, a GOR is always for a specific term, linked to a media deal.

          I am pretty sure the Big Ten and the SEC do not have exit fees, because they are not worried about anyone leaving.

          Like

          1. SEC now has a hefty exit fee after adding Texas. It’s almost like they don’t trust the Horns.

            “The SEC bylaws now assign a $30-45M exit fee (depending on circumstances) and at least two years’ notice to withdraw from the conference. Per the report, those new provisions were added to the bylaws back in January of 2021, so they’ve been in place for almost a year now.”

            https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/sec-football/sec-reportedly-adds-hefty-exit-fee-waiting-period-to-leave-league-to-conference-bylaws/

            Like

        2. Mike

          Most conferences have them. I do not know if the Big Ten still has one. I thought the SEC still had a $50 yearly membership fee and no exit fee.

          Like

        3. Brian

          largeR,

          Click to access bylaws.pdf

          When the B12 rewrote their bylaws in 2012, everyone agreed to be a member for 99 years or pay the exit fee.

          The ACC charges 3 years worth of distributions, and I don’t think there’s an end date to that deal. The GOR is the far bigger penalty.

          Many conferences have some sort of exit fee based on when you announce your exit, being little or nothing if you announce at least 2 years in advance. Mostly this is from the smaller conferences tired of needing to backfill on short notice.

          I don’t think the B10 or SEC have exit fees. Those are for conferences people want to leave. they do have GORs, though.

          Like

  25. Jersey Bernie

    Frank, in the NY market, you left out the Mets and the Jets, each of which would ahead of any college team. NY has 9 pro teams. Two football teams and one hockey team in NJ. One hockey team back on Long Island. Two baseball, two basketball and one hockey team in NYC.

    Remember the Bills are the only football team in NY State. That is frequently commented upon in the NY area. In fact, a few month ago some idiot fan sued the Giants and Jets for claiming that they are NY teams when they are not. Yes, anyone can filed suit for anything. (Or as someone said a million years ago in law school, one can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardy.)

    That probably leaves RU with a small outside shot at being #7, ahead of the hockey teams and maybe the Nets. I did not say that they were #7 yet, but it is aspirational (maybe) and a long way off. Being #7 in a market with 7.4 TV homes would be beyond huge. (By the way, the 7.4 million does not include the Philly market which covers South Jersey, with more than a million TV homes just in NJ. The RU market is really somewhere between 8.5 and 9 million TV homes.)

    Since I now live in FL, I find the FSU and UCF numbers fascinating. UCF now has the largest undergraduate student body in the US – over 60,000. The Orlando media market is in the top 20 and growing very fast. I can attest to that growth since I am now in that market.

    With all of that and a few great seasons, the UCF numbers are terrible. One problem is that they are number three among college teams in the Orlando market, behind UF and FSU. That will probably never change unless UCF wins a couple of national championships.

    FSU on the other hand does not really seem to have suffered that much from their recent mediocrity. Texas A&M bought Jimbo Fisher with a $75 million ten year deal that FSU could not match. (And that was before TAMU was in the SEC). There was and is tremendous anger toward Fisher at FSU. He is viewed as being a traitor.

    Since Fisher has gone, FSU coaches have been mediocre or worse and when the time comes to fire a coach, there is terrible hand wringing about the cost of buyouts.

    SEC teams have no such worries. If they want to fire a coach, there is plenty of money.

    This coming season, FSU had the number one ranked high school player in the country ready to sign, before Deon Sanders NIL money brought the kid to Jackson State. The number 1 player in the country was just what FSU needed to turn around to being a king again.

    The standard assumption around here is that if the current FSU coach (Norvell) does not work out, FSU will ask Deon to come home and be the next coach.

    Like

    1. Marc

      The TV appeal of a school—or the lack of it—tends to persist over many years. That is why FSU outrates UCF, even though their recent results suggest it should be the opposite.

      UCF has played football only since 1979, has been in FBS only since 1996, and didn’t attend its first bowl game until 2005. They simply have not had the many decades it takes to build up legions of fans whose parents and grandparents were fans too.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Also hard to overcome the natural prestige that flagships carry in terms of carrying the banner of a state.

        Some states are large enough that multiple schools can carry the flag; but FSU is always going to have that aspect going for it versus UCF; there’s always going to be the aspect that a school that represents the whole state is more prominent/prestigious than a directional school that represents just a city/region of the state.

        Like

  26. Bob

    @ Frank – Your comment earlier that “there’s a pretty good chance that, at some point, the current Power 5 is going to turn into a very clear Power 4… and the Pac-12 needs to do everything that it can to make sure that it’s one of those P4 leagues as opposed to the Big 12.” is on point. I would say the same thing about the ACC long-term. There is probably going to be a Power 2 and Next 2 eventually. How much power the Next 2 have will depend on how large the B1G and SEC get and what the Next 2 look like as far as membership.

    If the B1G and SEC remain at 16, I’d be very curious to get everyone’s take on what the “best” Next 2 conferences would look like. If everyone not in the B1G/SEC was a free agent what would the optimal Next 2 look like?

    Like

  27. Mike

    Wilner’s now pushing back. I wonder if there is some confidence building among the PAC teams

    Like

    1. bullet

      Wilner sounds more wishful than confident. https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/tv-ratings-suggest-the-pac-12-has-an-advantage-over-the-big-12-but-will-the-conference-come-out-swinging-this-week/ar-AAZWNro He talks about Mandel’s numbers, but ends like this:
      “…Where do things stand?

      Our sense is that Pac-12 presidents and chancellors would like a compelling reason to stick together and are waiting (perhaps weeks, maybe months) to determine whether that reason exists.

      Based on media markets, football brands and TV ratings, it’s not obvious that the new Big 12 holds a significant enough strategic advantage over the new Pac-12 to spark a mass migration.

      USC and UCLA will double their revenue in the Big Ten.

      But would Oregon agree to send its teams to play UCF in Orlando for a few extra million dollars per year?

      Would Arizona trek to West Virginia for money that won’t transform its budget?

      More than three weeks into this storm, we don’t have enough clarity to draw conclusions.

      Perhaps the Pac-12 will provide some this week….”

      Like

  28. Alan from Baton Rouge

    I think the only move among the ACC, B12 and Pac that moves the needle is a full-on merger between the Pac & ACC. That gets you a 24 team conference on both coasts that can utilize 2 Friday and 4 Saturday time slots and the ACCN gets carriage on the West Coast. The All Coastal Conference would include one King (Clemson), two former Kings (FSU & Miami), another Baron (Oregon), and a bunch of Knights (AZ State, Cal, GA Tech, Louisville, UNC, NC State, Pitt, Stanford, Utah & Washington). There would still be a lot of Peasants though.

    Maybe that gets them to $50M per school? Limiting cross-country travel in all other sports other than conference tournaments could minimize travel costs.

    Like

    1. Mike

      I’ve been thinking that too. How do you envision it working? As I see it, if the PAC invites the entire ACC* Big 8 to Big 12 style, they could take everything to the open market. I’m sure ESPN would be less than thrilled about losing their undervalued ACC content in a merger and will probably tell the PAC they won’t be bidding (or not bidding aggressively in the hopes it won’t happen) on the new Costal Conference. Is there another network willing to make financial guarantees for it to work? Who’s going to put up $1.2 billion (24 x your $50 million) a year for the Costal?

      If the ACC invites the PAC, then ESPN gets to be the sole bidder. To make your $50 million number ESPN would be shelling out an additional 1 billion dollars a year (current ACC is 17 million * 14 full members = 238 million) to bring all 24 up to $50 million. That’s a pretty big bump for some potential UO/WU/ASU/UU/CU vs UM/FSU/Clem/UNC cross over games.

      *Ignoring the risks of anyone ending up in the SEC/Big Ten

      Like

      1. bullet

        I don’t think mixing apples and oranges creates diamonds. Pac and ACC just don’t mix. The ACCN is not the BTN or SECN. Might be a case if 2+2=3,5,

        The only potential value would be market power from having a combined negotiating position. But with the ACC locked up until 2036, that is a negative for the Pac.

        Like

    2. Brian

      Alan,

      Or they could just include the 14 schools you named (football-only?), and get paid a lot more. How much value do the other 10 bring?

      Like

        1. Brian

          True, but they also can’t get $50M per school with that lineup. But the top 8 ACC schools can apparently dissolve the conference, then get the P12 to do the same and have those 14 form a new conference.

          The bigger issue is that the top ACC brands would get taken by the B10 and SEC. The ones that are left aren’t valuable enough to get paid $50M per school either.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Yeah agreed, I think it’ll be cleaner if they push this to 2036, say the Pac-12 signs a 12 year tv deal + 12 year GOR.

            2036 is when everything can change for both the ACC/Pac-12 to try to maximize the tv revenue.

            Like

  29. z33k

    There’s a reason we’ve never seen a full merger in the modern era of FBS.

    Leaving behind the least valuable schools is a necessary requirement to create additional value for the remaining schools.

    Every conference move the last 30-35 years has been about that. If there is an ACC absorption of Pac-12 schools it will look like the Big 12 formation where the Big 8 and 4 Texas schools joined together leaving behind the remaining Texas schools.

    I hate to say it but I don’t see how all 10 Pac-12 schools are involved if the ACC decides to go West.

    The Big Ten in the past month just took USC/UCLA in a move out West; even somebody like me who favored such a move thought it would be upwards to 4 or 6 schools. Instead the absolute revenue per school maximizing move of 2 schools to take the LA market/plant a flag in California was the Big Ten’s choice.

    The ACC is desperate to maximize value for itself; I don’t see how they go far beyond the absolute revenue per school maximizing move here given the tough situation they’re in looking out to the mid-2030s when several schools may get Big Ten/SEC offers.

    The only move here for the ACC is Washington/Oregon and maybe 2-4 others to reduce travel costs on both sides. If I’m looking explicitly at revenue maximization, I’d only take Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State or Arizona, Colorado, Utah. Maybe if Stanford requires Cal, you take Cal and drop Utah.

    Either way, this is survival of the fittest, put the financial numbers together and maximize the revenue per school just as the SEC and Big Ten did. That means leaving behind 4 of the Pac-12 schools.

    You don’t want the Pac schools playing 9 games against each other, you want them playing 5 games against each other and then 4 crossover “national” games. This is the same reason why the Big Ten won’t take more than another 1-3 schools out West; the crossover games between brands is where the money is.

    Like

    1. Marc

      For a moment, let’s ignore current media deals, and just look at intrinsic value. Brian’s stats suggest there is not much difference among the Pac-12, Big XII, and ACC legacy schools. This means there is probably not the huge bump the Pac schools would require to accept the drawbacks of being minority members in a conference three time zones away.

      Long-term, the ACC might not want these schools either. We are only talking about it as a back-door to get ESPN to re-negotiate the ACC’s terrible media deal, and nobody even knows if that would work (legally).

      I’d only take Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State or Arizona, Colorado, Utah.

      If we are talking survival of the fittest, then why are the bottom ACC schools getting a golden ticket while Washington State gets kicked to the curb. WSU’s numbers are far better than Wake Forest’s.

      Like

      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Because it’s easier for a Pac school to get out of the PAC’s deal than it is for an ACC school to get out of the ACC deal.

        Like

      2. z33k

        Because the ACC has a 14 years left on its GOR and everybody thinks there’s no way to toss out schools.

        Go that route and the best of the ACC are all out anyways. Might as well enjoy the last 14 years left on that ride?

        Like

      3. Marc

        Well, the whole point I am trying to make is that the parties are exceedingly unlikely to make such a deal for 14 years, even if they could get away with it legally (which they probably cannot).

        Like

  30. EndeavorWMEdani

    Disney came within a hair’s breadth of purchasing the UFC back in ’16, before a sleepless night (of snapping tibias no doubt) convinced Iger to pull the plug. Fast forward six years, and they’ve ended up paying their nixed offer in licensing fees. With live entertainment now taking center stage in the streaming wars, will they now make amends by pulling the trigger on the WWE? Is Goofy ready to take the Superman Punch of Roman Reigns? I actually heard today that Netflix might take a swing at it 😂. That would be hilarious.The times, they are a changin’, and college football isn’t about to be left on the streaming sidelines. -WHO’S WITH ME!…….(crickets)

    Like

    1. Brian

      Ouch. That’s terrible, if true. But they can still go to open market and hope someone else drives that up. Clearly it shows Fox has no interest.

      But from a B10 point of view, that says that maybe even more of the P12’s value was in USC and UCLA. So the B10 should expect an even bigger payout.

      Like

  31. z33k

    All of this has gotten me thinking, like Brian/Marc mention above, what if the endgame here is a 3rd “football driven” superconference.

    What if Washington/Oregon commit to stay in the Pac-12 through 2036. They line up their deals and sign a GOR to match the ACC.

    Then in 2032-2033 when the Big Ten/SEC start poaching schools from the ACC, the remaining football brands group up and create a new conference that starts in 2036.

    That’s a really long-term plan and obviously nobody at any school can think that far ahead, leadership at the presidential/AD level will likely turn over 2 times at every school between now and then.

    But still, if they want to give themselves the most optionality maybe that’s the play.

    If the Big Ten/SEC leave behind schools like Washington, Oregon, Miami, Clemson, Va Tech, NC State, Pitt, WVU, etc. you have the makings of a decent “3rd superconference”.

    Assuming none of these end up in the Big Ten or SEC
    Miami, Ga Tech, Clemson, NC State, Va Tech, Pitt, WVU, Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah and maybe call over Cincy or OkSU or Texas Tech or TCU or Houston if you need to fill spots and try to plant flags in markets.

    It’s hard to get that many people on the same page, but I think if the Pac-12 lines up its next deal to end around the same time as the ACC, that’s a possibility.

    At the end of the day, schools are going to ask themselves “why are we subsidizing Wake Forest or Oregon State or Kansas State” if we’re falling way behind the Big Ten/SEC. Maybe that Frankenstein “superconference” can’t keep up with the Big Ten/SEC but everybody will be pulling their share in there.

    Like

  32. bob sykes

    Notre Dame’s MBB is in the ACC along with all its other sports except hockey (B1G). Suppose Notre Dame gets a new contract with NBC for $75 million for its football, that probably freezes them in the ACC until 2036.

    Is there any compelling reason for the B1G or SEC to expand beyond their current 16? Is there any reason for schools to jump between the Big 12 or PAC 10? I Will any school voluntarily join the ACC with its absurd TV contract and absurd GOR?

    I am going to say, No. Imthink the dance is over until 2036.

    Like

  33. z33k

    ESPN lowballing Pac-12 is the only reasonable strategy for them (if true obviously, have to take everything with a grain of salt based on who and where leaks are popping up. Big 12 media blasting out the Pac-12 getting low balled serves their own rooting interest).

    1) They’re telling the Pac-12 that they won’t be financing Pac-12 expansion. Big 12 schools have $80+ million exit fee at the moment (would go down presumably if/when next rights deal comes up since it’s 2 years of rights).

    2) The ACC is targeting Pac-12 schools, and they want a renegotiation of their deal. If ESPN had bid above what they currently pay the ACC, then ESPN would struggle to tell the ACC that any additions to their conference would only be at pro-rata rates.

    3) The Big 12 media is throwing around those (laughable) Navigate figures showing them somehow in the $40-50 million range per year despite the loss of Texas/OU.

    ESPN is sending a message to all 3 with this low-ball of the Pac-12: Nobody’s getting free money from realignment this time.

    Of course, Amazon and Apple will get to have their say too; would not surprise me if Pac-12 or Big 12 go to Amazon or Apple for a hefty portion of their rights at a significantly higher price than ESPN (or FOX if they bid on the Big 12) would be willing to pay.

    Pac-12 in particular should put its 3rd tier on Apple TV+; nobody was watching it before with only 13 million subs on the Pac-12Ns, just take the Apple overpay and close out that mess.

    Ironically, ESPN’s low-ball should make it more likely in the future that the remaining brands try to create a 3rd “super” conference from the remains of the ACC, Pac-12, and maybe Big 12 later on…; that’s the only way for schools like Washington, Oregon, Miami, Va Tech, who get left behind to get any value on their rights. Washington/Oregon should push for a 12 year TV deal with Apple or Amazon (even at lower exposure but that keeps them financially competitive) and then blow up both conferences in 2036 and create a new one.

    Like

    1. Marc

      This perhaps over-analyzing it. ESPN’s exclusivity window is merely a short time when no other networks can bid. To get the Pac-12 to sign now, they’d need to offer an impossibly high figure — and why do that? Maybe for a tentpole franchise that they must retain at all costs, which clearly does not apply to the Pac-12.

      By bidding low now, ESPN does not preclude any possibilities, including paying more for expansion: they are just waiting to see what the Pac-12 is really worth. No network is going to take the entire Pac-12 away from them. It will still be there in a few months, and then both parties will have a very good idea where the market stands.

      Like

      1. z33k

        Yeah I think it’s clear that to get fuller value, Apple or Amazon may have to take the primary part of the package.

        Sort of like what happened with the Big Ten when ESPN was low-balling and they gave the primary part of the rights to FOX and ESPN took the remainder at a discount.

        With FOX not in the game, it comes down to who else bids. CBS or NBC may be open (but NBC might prefer Big 12 time windows for ND).

        I think the time is ripe for Apple or Amazon to take the lions share of one of these conferences especially if ESPN and FOX play hardball.

        Like

        1. Marc

          I have no idea how active NBC wants to be, but they have just 7 ND games a year: typically 4–5 in the afternoon and 2–3 at night. The weeks they have ND, they can put on the Pac-12 in prime time if the Irish play in the afternoon, or vice versa. And that still leaves half the season that they currently do not have any game at all.

          If NBC wants to be a destination network for CFB, they could easily have ND plus a choice of games from both the Big XII and the Pac-12. They could blanket the airwaves from noon to late night. When ND doesn’t monopolize the afternoon, NBC could have a B12 noon game, a B1 or Pac-12 3:30 game, and a night game—just like ESPN. They could even put on a Pac-12 after-dark game the weeks Saturday Night Live is on hiatus.

          Again, no idea how much of a player NBC wants to be, but the opportunity is there.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Yeah the issue is just financially, NBC and CBS have been very stingy on their contracts so far.

            They both have had incredible deals for ND and SEC respectively the entire time they’ve been in cfb. After decades of sweetheart deals, are they ready to pay a lot more for either comparable product or somewhat more for a lesser product?

            This is the first time where they have to pay actual market rates to get premium content and for NBC in particular given they’ve shuttered NBC Sports (could use USA channel I guess), it’s just interesting to see whether either is really interested in trying to compete with the much bigger outlays that ESPN, FOX and possibly Amazon/Apple will be putting into college sports.

            Like

          2. Marc: “When ND doesn’t monopolize the afternoon, NBC could have a B12 noon game, a B12 or Pac-12 3:30 game, and a night game—just like ESPN.”

            I flat-out don’t buy it. Showing games like West Virginia-UCF, Oklahoma State-Texas Tech or Washington-Cal is not going to bring viewers to NBC when the other networks are showing the best games of the Big Ten and SEC.

            Like

          3. Alan from Baton Rouge

            It’s more cost effective for NBC to show reruns of SNL than get slaughtered in primetime with a B12 matchup of WVU-OK State going against a Penn State white out game or any variety of SEC matchup.

            Like

          4. Little8

            Since there is a certain % of TV viewers that do not care for college football NBC showing SNL reruns is not only cheaper but could produce better ratings than a 3rd rate game against SEC / B1G competition.

            Like

          5. Richard

            If NBC loses out on the B10, they could add B12 games in the early slot, Pac games in the evening (either in the late afternoon when ND isn’t playing at home) or both.

            I believe ND will have to switch to 3:30 Eastern home start times if they want a TV deal comparable to the B10 payout.

            Like

          6. “If NBC loses out on the B10, they could add B12 games in the early slot, Pac games in the evening (either in the late afternoon when ND isn’t playing at home) or both.”

            I’m not sure that everyone understands NBC’s situation. If they don’t get the B10, they’ll be showing B12 and Pac games head to head with B10 and SEC games. And 50% of the time, when ND has an away game, NBC will also be competing with Notre Dame. On those days, NBC will be showing B12 and Pac against the B10 and the SEC and all of their faithful Irish fans will be tuned into whatever network is showing the ND game.

            Like

          7. Richard

            Colin:
            NBC would be paying a fraction of the costs for a fraction of the audience.

            It’s a defensible strategy.

            Like

          8. “NBC would be paying a fraction of the costs for a fraction of the audience.”

            If they wanted a small audience, NBC could show reruns of SNL and the movie “Heidi” and it wouldn’t cost them anything.

            Like

          9. Marc

            NBC would be paying a fraction of the costs for a fraction of the audience. It’s a defensible strategy.

            That’s it exactly. There is surely some price at which those games are worth showing. As long as you do not overpay, it’s a defensible strategy.

            Like

    2. Marc

      If ESPN had bid above what they currently pay the ACC, then ESPN would struggle to tell the ACC that any additions to their conference would only be at pro-rata rates.

      The Pac-12 schools are not joining the ACC regardless. Let X be a number greater than ESPN now pays the ACC. If ESPN offers the Pac-12 X on its own, then why join another conference to get the same thing?

      The only way any Pac-12 schools would join the ACC is if the sum of the parts is far greater than its constituents. As bullet put it yesterday, you’d need to add apples and oranges, and somehow come up with diamonds.

      Like

    3. Brian

      z33k,

      Those Navigate numbers are total payouts, including an expanded CFP and the NCAA tournament.

      B12:
      2022: $40.6M
      2023: $41.8M
      2024: $43.1M
      2025: $44.3M
      2026: $52.6M (would’ve been $45.6M, so +$7.0M from new deal + CFP)

      P12:
      2022: $34.4M
      2023: $35.5M
      2024: $36.6M
      2025: $42.6M (would’ve been $37.7M, so +$4.9M from new deal)
      2026: $57.5M (would’ve been $43.9M, so +$13.6M from CFP)

      ACC:
      2022: $30.9M
      2023: $36.3M
      2024: $37.9M
      2025: $39.6M
      2026: $54.3M (would’ve been $40.8M, so +$13.5M from CFP)

      From their CFP estimates, the P12 will get 1.6 teams per year, the B12 will get 1.5, and the ACC 1.4. Since they assumed that partially impacts payouts, we should see very similar CFP bonuses.

      ACC +$13.5M
      P12 +$13.6M
      B12 +$7.0M

      The B12 number only makes sense if the CFP is +$13.6 but the change in members plus new TV deal is -$6.6M. The P12 deal went up $4.9M on a smaller deal, so the B12 nominally should’ve gone up about $5.9M just from a new deal. That means the membership change was worth about -$12.5M per school (-$150M total).

      Current CFP value per school:
      ACC: $7M
      B12: $10M
      P12: $9M

      This is based on roughly equal distribution to each conference, then divided equally among members. The 14-team ACC gets less per school than the 12-team P12 or 10-team B12. The NCAA tournament pays maybe half that much. You can subtract those 2 values from the total payouts shown above to get a ballpark of the TV deal value in 2025.

      Estimated TV deals (tiers 1-3) in 2025:
      P12: $29.1M
      B12: $32.8M
      ACC: $27.6M

      That’s my rough numbers based on Navigate’s data and method.

      Remember, this includes all the changes to the B12 and SEC, but not USC and UCLA leaving the P12. I think they underestimated the P12’s TV deal growth since tier 3 should’ve taken a jump in value, but then it will drop with the loss of USC and UCLA.

      Like

      1. z33k

        I understand that financial math, but it doesn’t make sense to me outside of the fact that the Big 12 is a “power conference” in name once Texas/OU leave.

        I just don’t see what markets/brands are left in there. Oklahoma State or WVU are their biggest brands.

        BYU just a half decade ago signed their TV rights for around $5 million a year. The other 3 were part of a conference that just signed a $7 million a year deal.

        How are those schools going to be worth $30 million a year each joined to Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State.

        If I represented any media side of that negotiation table, I’d just burst out laughing if they ask for >$20 million a year per team. I’m not sure I’d even be willing to offer that much, that’d be a maximum offer

        I’d probably start at $15-18 million a year.

        Like

        1. Brian

          z33k,

          https://theathletic.com/3215360/2022/03/29/will-the-power-5-soon-become-the-power-2-unpacking-new-tv-revenue-projections-for-a-12-team-cfp-world/

          It’s not 100% clear how they do their calculations for membership changes. Maybe they explained it in The Athletic article that accompanied some of their work.

          Their basic method for new TV deals is based on how other TV rights have grown, so it’s something like +40-50% for a new deal I believe.

          I don’t know how they assigned values to each school. Did they follow their brand value work they published (with #5 OU, #9 WVU, and #10 UT)? Did they use another method?

          Others have said UT + OU was about 50% of the value in the B12. The current B12 deal pays about $28M per school ($280M). That makes it $140M without OU and UT. Then add $X for the 4 newbies. Assume a new TV deal is worth $32.8M per school ($394M). That puts the old one at about $262M (assuming 50% bump). That would make the 4 newbies worth $122M, or $30.5M per school.

          I think the keys here are the market assumptions. If Navigate says TT + TCU + UH + Baylor keeps the TX market almost like UT did, and if they get a lot of credit for Orlando, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City, then I guess it make some sort of sense. For broadcast purposes they are still in all the TX markets plus they add Orlando, SLC, Cincy, + some chunks of UT, OH and FL. My guess is that they are getting too much credit for FL and TX.

          I want to be clear that I’m not supporting Navigate’s work, I just wanted to clarify that their $40-50M numbers are for total payouts, including an expanded CFP.

          Like

          1. z33k

            Yeah I have no problem with your math.

            I just think the assumptions Navigate was using for how much of the media dollars the conference will keep are faulty.

            There’s a point where a conference is just a bunch of replacement G5 schools + 2 power brands, that’s where the Big 12 was in my opinion.

            I can be completely wrong on this, but I would venture that Texas/OU were probably worth even more than 50% of that media deal.

            I think they were literally the entire difference between the Big 12 being a little better than the AAC and where it was.

            In which case the remaining schools are worth less than $20 million a year for TV rights.

            I can (probably) be wrong but I’m just skeptical they’ll keep much of the Texas market and add all that much of the Florida market and whatever else they’re looking at.

            The amount of eyeballs on the Big Ten and SEC will make it hard for anybody else to get traction.

            We’re not used to an environment like what we’re going to see past 2024.

            Like

          2. Brian

            I think using rough math, the new B12 should be worth at least $20M.

            The old deal value the remaining 8 schools at $14M each roughly. The newbies are currently getting half that or less, but that’s at least partly because of their conference mates. They can’t be worth much less than KU football. So let’s say the newbies are worth $10M each (need time to build their brands up to median in the B12).

            New B12 value = 8*14 + 4*10 = $152M = $12.7M * 1.5 (new deal jump) = $19M

            I’ll round that to $20M, but maybe the newbies are actually worth more than that $10M. I could see a deal in the low 20s, maybe mid-20s if there’s a bit of a bidding war.

            Like

          3. Richard

            The biggest point in the B12’s favor is that TX (and the other B12 states to a large extent too, though they tend to be small) looooves football of all kinds. Just look at the 2021 B12 title game, which didn’t have either OU or Texas and has 2 teams that didn’t make the playoffs but drew nearly twice as many viewers as the Pac CCG (which has UO) and more than 3 times as many viewers as the ACC CCG.

            Though that is really the B12’s only strong point.

            Like

  34. Cornelius Pike

    The fact that OU/UT haven’t yet joined the SEC has less to do with the GOR than it does with the SEC contract with CBS. There is no language in that contract to escalate the payout from CBS for adding schools to the conference. That contract expires after 2023. In 2024 the CBS contract will be replaced by a much more lucrative ESPN contract that includes an escalator clause should the SEC add certain schools.

    If OU/UT don’t begin SEC play in 2024 it will be a sign that the GOR was strong enough to hold them back. I expect them to join in 2025 after the GOR has expired. I also expect the conference exit fee to be negotiated downward to about $20 million (current distributions suggest the full exit fee would be near $80 million).

    Like

    1. Little8

      What incentive does the B12 have to negotiate down the exit fee, especially a 75% discount? It is not like the rest of the teams are undamaged by TX/OK leaving. The B12 commissioner has already said they are open to a TX/OK early exit for a price, so it is possible that they join the SEC in 2024.

      Like

      1. z33k

        You are 100% correct.

        Right now the fee is 2 years of withheld distributions + GOR.

        Negotiating down the GOR by a year probably means adding more money even if they try to somehow negotiate the exit fee down.

        Big 12 isn’t going to give away the game here.

        Like

    2. Brian

      That CBS deal is tiny. $55M/14 teams = $3.93M. $55M/16 teams = $3.44M. You think UT and OU are not moving over that little amount? They could just agree not to take any CBS money to keep the SEC whole, since they’d still be getting a big pay raise.

      CBS won’t increase the deal for expansion because it’s for the #1 game each week. How much do OU and UT actually improve that game for CBS? And since the SEC is leaving them anyway, why do them a favor? But even CBS might pay the extra $7.86M to the SEC to keep them whole for a chance at a few UT and OU games.

      Both the schools and the SEC have said they’ll move in 2025 and have mentioned the GOR. The rest of the B12 has zero incentive to let them go early, but anything can be had for the right price.

      Exit fees often get negotiated down, but I don’t think they will in this case. It’s a lot of money for schools facing a potential drop in revenue.

      Like

  35. Jersey Bernie

    Frank, quick observation regarding Stanford and its recruiting of Olympic level athletes. With their academic reputation and insane amounts of money, it is not hard for Stanford to recruit.

    A couple of years ago, the son of a friend of mine was on the US under 17 men’s gymnastic team. Of the five top gymnasts on the team, four accepted full scholarships to Stanford. That is even better recruiting than Duke or KY basketball.

    My friend lived in Oklahoma and was, of course, offered by UOk, but there was no way to turn down the Stanford degree.

    Like

    1. z33k

      That’s not only true of Olympic sports either.

      In football, they are the clear #1 for academic prestige seeking 4-5 star recruits. It’s why they bring on 6-10 4+ star recruits every year

      They win a big share of the academically minded top talents in cfb; it’s been that way since Harbaugh.

      If you’re a college football player with high SATs/gpa that cares about getting a prestigious degree, they win that battle against ND and the rest.

      The fact is, there’s always going to be upwards to 20 of those recruits every year, the lion’s share go straight to Stanford.

      Like

        1. z33k

          Agreed for sure on that, but just from what I’ve seen of recruiting Northwestern has lost more of the 1400+ SAT/high GPA recruits to Stanford than anyone else in cfb.

          Northwestern has beat out ND for a few of them, but whenever Stanford’s in the mix, it almost always goes Stanford.

          And I fully understand that. Anybody that’s choosing Stanford against anybody else in CFB, their degree is just different.

          They’re on the Harvard, Yale, Princeton tier of schools where those 4 schools have so much prestige that it outweighs everything else.

          Like

          1. Brian

            And it’s SF weather not Chicago weather. And Silicon Valley is right there to hire you. And you don’t have to wear purple and black uniforms (probably not a major concern).

            Like

    2. @Jersey Bernie – Right – I think people that think that Stanford would use an Ivy League model for sports aren’t understanding that Stanford IS recruiting the very top of elite athletes across the board and very intentionally so. This is a school that goes after – and gets – mega-accomplished athletes like Tiger Woods and Katie Ledecky and they’re looking for potential national champions and Olympians. Heck, even in football, Stanford has won 2 Rose Bowls and appeared in a third Rose Bowl in the past decade, which is more than what USC and Texas have accomplished during that timeframe. It boggles my mind whenever I see someone suggest that Stanford would “deemphasize sports” because they clearly aren’t looking at how the school intentionally goes after the very top of the elite in every sport.

      It’s a similar thing with Duke. They recruit basketball players EXACTLY like Kentucky and are more than willing to play the NIL compensation game to the fullest. (Frankly, I think basketball is really where the NIL money is going to end up mattering more even compared to football.) They look at sports in a totally different manner than the Ivy League.

      Like

      1. Psuhockey

        I would be a bit shocked if the Big Ten didn’t take Stanford eventually even without Notre Dame. They have a great athletic department and I would imagine that every school in the Big Ten would love to partner with Stanford on research and academic projects. I understand they may not bring in the TV money but they are off the charts everywhere else especially in areas that get university presidents excited.

        Like

        1. bob sykes

          Schools do not partner in research. All research dollars at every schools is obtained by faculty members who submit proposals to research funding agencies like the National Science Foundation. Schools do charge overhead (which is a real cost), and they do skim some of it for seed research and for areas with no funding, like gender studies.

          There is a myth that schools fund research out of endowment or something, but they don’t. Schools like Stanford do not use endowment for sports, either. Almost all endowments are committed to some special project, like and endowed chair in some area. Very little of the endowment is free to use for any purpose.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Very true.

            But NSF (and others) is pushing for more collaborative projects, bringing in people/centers at multiple schools. And overhead is ridiculously large for those who don’t know – over 50%.

            Like

          2. Brian

            Oh, I also wanted to point out a source for some of the confusion.

            Stanford (and others) has endowed most (if not all) of their athletic scholarships at this point, I believe. This is through separate fundraising, not using the school’s endowment, but some fans may get confused by the terminology.

            Like

        2. Brian

          Psuhockey,

          Money gets presidents excited. In sports, that means TV money. Having Stanford in the B10 would provide trips to SF alumni (for fundraising) as well, but after that their direct financial value is limited.

          Schools collaborate on research where expertise and facilities make sense. Stanford is far enough away they don’t do a ton with many B10 schools, and being in the B10 wouldn’t change that. Most faculty are barely aware that sports exist. The people that matter in research see each other at conferences – that’s where research collaborations come from.

          Like

      2. Brian

        Frank,

        I do think it’s fair for people to speculate whether or not Stanford would be wiling to fully pay players as employees. NIL and recruiting and competing are one thing, but true professionalization is a different animal. That may be a place Stanford (and others like them) won’t go. I’m not saying they won’t, just that I think it’s a legitimate point of discussion.
        .
        After all, even the B10 has said they would de-emphasize sports before they would pay student-employees to play. It doesn’t mean it’s true, but it does reflect the fact that some schools would think about the issue. Faculties might push back. When you look at AD debt and add the price of players, some schools may not have a choice. Then you could have I-A (paid players), I-AA (unpaid players), I-AAA (I-AA now – fewer scholarships).

        Like

        1. greg

          But Stanford will not follow CFB into an “employee” model

          Doubt. Stanford wants to keep their world class athletic department running, and football pays for it all.

          Like

        2. Brian

          Peter,

          Just to be clear, this isn’t something the B10 and SEC want. They’d have the most expensive teams. Professionalism would be driven by the courts declaring that athletes are employees and must be paid. Conference affiliation will not protect from that.

          Presumably the courts would set some limits of which school must pay (D-III? I’d think not. I-AA? Probably not. G5? Maybe – they get CFP money too.), or under what conditions players become employees so schools could get beneath those conditions.

          It would be interesting to see if the court declare that CFB and MBB must pay players, if large groups of school just drop both sports (or stop taking NCAA tournament money) to avoid paying.

          Until we see the legal framework, it’s hard to say what Stanford will or won’t do because we don’t know what the law would demand of them.

          Like

          1. Peter Griffin

            I very much doubt this Supreme Court would hold that D-I athletes are employees. One justice, writing only for himself, hinted in that direction in Alston, but Gorsuch — writing for the majority — wrote that the court isn’t equipped to resolve the conundrum of amateur athletics. Equally as important is the tension between the profit that maybe 50 schools make from college football, much more modest profit that some make in basketball, and pretty much every other college sport everywhere, which lose money. And then there’s Title IX to grapple with. The courts aren’t going to resolve all of that, and all the moreso with players now profiting handsomely in some instances via NIL.
            Football players will become paid, non-student employees if/when some colleges decide that’s how they want to roll, but courts won’t make them do that.

            Like

          2. Brian

            The court makes lots of decisions that impact things they aren’t equipped to resolve. Frankly, that’s 99% of what they do. They can also choose not to hear a case a federal judge decides on this issue. Congress has the power to fix this, but they are completely useless. The NLRB almost allowed players to unionize at private schools before. That’s all it takes for the problems to start.

            There are zero schools that want to call players employees. The financial and legal ramifications of that would be staggering. It would have to be forced on them, and the courts/NLRB would be the ones that do it.

            Like

  36. Mike

    Warren in his press conference said they would announce the new TV deal sooner rather than later. That, to me, is an indication that Notre Dame is staying independent for now.

    Like

  37. wscsuperfan

    USC and UCLA will receive full revenue shares in their first year

    Like

    1. Jersey Bernie

      It makes complete sense that USC/UCLA are getting immediate full shares while the prior 3 did not. NE, UMd and RU were really strategic moves by Delany that significantly helped the three schools, probably as much as or more than they helped the league.

      NE was happy to find a new home and got an immediate increase in income. They were an available football king contiguous to B1G territory. While NE had fans, the State of NE is simply not that big, so they did not bring millions of TV sets.

      UMd and RU were a move to grab the mid-Atlantic while it was available. Those two schools alone added 40 plus million people to the footprint of the B1G, and gave Penn State a couple of eastern playmates. At the time, there were rumors that PSU was not happy with the B1G. Presumably, Delany viewed this as a way satisfy PSU while helping the league population base grow dramatically.

      UMd was in fairly serious financial trouble and was guaranteed that they would immediately make more than they did in the ACC, with much bigger payouts in the future. That was the trade off for giving up its traditional ACC rivals.

      Then there was RU, which was making about 11 cents per year for its rights in the collapsing Big East. It was very easy for Delany to promise an immediate increase. It will ultimately take RU nearly 15 years to pay off all loans and ramp up to keeping a full share (2027), but compared to the alternative, that is a minor miracle.

      RU was hoping to be saved by a life raft and wound up in a suite on the Queen Mary. If RU had even a solid mediocre football team, they probably would have started with much closer to a full share up front.

      The B1G had no reason to offer any of the three full shares up front. They each had one important thing, but not everything.

      USC and UCLA are different. They control the country’s 2nd biggest TV market and both are kings of one sort or another. USC football and UCLA basketball add to the B1G in major ways. Full shares make sense. It sure seems as if the two will immediately pay for themselves, so why try to be cheap with them.

      Like

  38. HooBurns

    “Admiral, there be whales here!”
    – Mr. Scott, “Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home”

    As FTT opined in a separate, previous posting, the B1G and the SEC have swallowed proverbial whales in USC, UCLA, TX, OK. It’s going to take time to digest and plan for the coming changes, and not just for football.

    Kevin Warren now says the B1G will only expand “for the right reasons at the right time.” Well. “Think like a university president” holds true until stepping into fantastical sums of money. At that point the calculus is driven by the cold, hard realities of profit/loss margins.

    Current projections have each school in those future 16-team conferences pulling in $100M+ each by 2030 – virtually all of it from tv revenue; streaming will only be additive. That’s become the buy-in ante.

    Put simply, the B1G & SEC have priced themselves out of the conference realignment market.

    There is not one team in either the ACC or the PAC that commands that kind of individual revenue generation, either now or in 2030. And to date, no one has produced any financial-based projections changing that reality.

    ND might make sense for the B1G, but adding a realignment partner would be dilutive; neither Stanford nor UNC nor any foursome combination changes that math.

    The B1G and SEC will stay at 16 for the next several decades, ND will stay independent, & everyone else will jockey for 3rd place.

    To paraphrase FTT, there are no more whales out there to be had, even in 2036. (On the bright side, we won’t see any alien probes hell-bent on destroying Earth because of it.)

    Like

    1. z33k

      I still think UNC is a whale because of how strategic North Carolina (population size/growth/strength of brand in state and outside) is in this game of conference realignment Risk.

      Most here would probably agree.

      And Florida State is also a whale because it delivers its whole state and is a national brand.

      Both those I think are pretty secure and will have spots in the Big Ten and/or SEC.

      The rest of the ACC I’m less sure about, Clemson is a big brand now but from a small state.

      Miami delivers a solid portion of Florida and is a national brand but also a much smaller private school than USC. But it has a good t-shirt fanbase.

      Financially you make it work by lining up the deals and making sure FOX or whoever gives you a pro-rata increase for taking those schools.

      So yeah, I still think we see movement in 2031-2032.

      I would be shocked if both Big Ten and SEC didn’t go hard at UNC.

      Like

      1. HooBurns

        Of course there’s interest in UVA, UNC, FSU, Clemson, etc. Not denying that.

        All of us here are fans who like to play Conference Realignment Risk where we’ll take a school here or that school over there. But in the end, “delivers a state” and “brand names” are just platitudes the fans are using. What matters is the amount of good ole greenbacks, particularly given where conference realignment decisions have gone.

        The SEC already has FL and SC. Given that all those TV sets already carry the SEC, please show the analysis concluding that FSU and Clemson will each bring $100M in new revenue to the SEC. Same goes for Miami – in fact, press reports indicate absolutely no one has called them to gauge their interests.

        I live in VA, within that alleged VA/NC “battleground” between the B1G and the SEC. I am not particularly worried for UVA/UNC, but clearly our viewerships are nowhere near B1G/SEC levels. I have yet to see any analysis here showing our schools will each bring $100M to the revenue table.

        I’m not the one who first speculated that there are no more whales out there. But I am saying the price for membership has gone up to being out of reach for the semi-whales – and nothing said here to date has said otherwise.

        Like

        1. z33k

          But it’s not as simple as just a raw financial calculation of a single school or schools in a vacuum as to how much $ they generate for sports.

          So much goes into this about timing, increase in value of sports rights, when the contract is signed relative to the market situation, etc.

          What evidence do you have though that expansion would stop now?

          I can guarantee you that if the ACC GOR ended now, there’d be an all out blitz for UNC (and UVA in tow).

          I’ve speculated above that financially the increase in MBB for the Big Ten may be enough to justify all 3 of UNC, UVA, and Duke.

          How? Because the Big Ten would probably approach something like 60-70% of all MBB games that have big viewership potential based on conference matchups. That’s a point where you can monopolize the product in terms of pricing.

          i.e. A 16 team Big Ten charges $15 million per school for MBB but a 20 team Big Ten charges $30 million per school for MBB because there’s no other seller that can guarantee the matchups the Big Ten would be able to with UCLA + UNC + UVA + Duke. Even ESPN would be forced to buy a chunk of that or get shut out of big game MBB.

          There’s just a qualitative difference between a seller of 40% of big MBB games versus a seller of 60-70%.

          There’s lot of ways to make this work financially and the strategic aspects of demographics and such are equally important.

          Like

          1. HooBurns

            “But it’s not as simple as just a raw financial calculation of a single school or schools in a vacuum as to how much $ they generate for sports.”

            Of course it is. The other factors you cite are important to deciding logistics and timing, but in the end teams like USC, UCLA, A&M, MO, TX, OK, UMD, and WVU abandoned “traditional rivals” and cultural relationships etc purely to enhance their future financial fortunes.

            Like

          2. z33k

            Sure, but my broader point was that the Big Ten can likely add UNC, UVA, and Duke in a way that would financially not shrink the slices of the pie (especially if that MBB product can be monopolized in part).

            Like

          3. HooBurns

            I do not think so, sorry. MBB & demographics would be part of the appeal to bring in UVA/UNC/Duke, but that’s in part because their football…. well, ain’t the strongest. (But we have good barbecue!) This is expecially true in Duke’s case.

            The math is there for everyone to see. Should the B1G add 3 more programs (2 of which would split the revenue brought in from NC) to participate in what’s currently projected to be perhaps a $1.7B pot, there is no way to not reduce the pie for everyone – unless the pitch to those new schools is a phased-in or reduced payout like UMD and Rutgers got. We’re not Maryland… no thank you.

            Like

          4. z33k

            You might be right, but I just think the numbers will work as they always have for expansion with the right schools.

            I think if you’re getting 1.6 billion from your partners, you can get 2 billion with the right schools.

            But this is all a discussion that will take place in a decade and who knows what the landscape will look like.

            I can imagine scenarios where Duke is involved as a way of getting UNC away from the SEC.

            Like

        2. Brian

          HooBurns,

          I have wondered the same thing with regards to Clemson, FSU, and Miami joining the SEC. They already have all of SC, so Clemson adds some more big games and more total inventory. The same with FSU, though also both of those schools bring a rivalry in-conference which could free up scheduling for a move to 9 games. Miami is similar.

          So the question is how much value big games bring, and is there a point of diminishing returns? Someone also has to lose these games. How many more eyeballs can the SEC get by adding schools inside their footprint? Will they gain nationally?

          Perhaps the best argument I have heard is that the SEC might add them to keep the B10 out of the south. FSU and Miami have a lot more value to the B10 than they do to the SEC. Adding access to FL for recruiting and some major markets would be valuable. I don’t see the B10 chasing Clemson, so it lessens the value to the SEC there.

          Then there’s the GT question. Is getting into Atlanta worth it for the B10? It certainly isn’t for the SEC. Maybe if one FL school gets in, GT is added as a regional partner?

          Then we get to the battleground of NC and VA. The 10.5M and 8.6M residents there carry subscriber value for BTN. The provide good recruiting for athletes, but more importantly future students. They provide regional partners for UMD, and reinforce hoops and lacrosse strength. They add multiple top 50 markets. And they’ll suck up some football losses to make others look good. They also stop the SEC from moving farther north.

          The SEC gets many of those same benefits, though they don’t need the recruiting grounds and don’t play lacrosse. But stopping the B10 from getting them may be enough reason to add them.

          So it’s possible the numbers work out, but I think this latest round of expansion has set the bar very high. ND + 1 is the one move anyone would make. All the rest are debatable at best.

          The new CFP format may clarify some things. Clemson and FSU may be able to provide extra value that way.

          Like

          1. m (Ag)

            The SwimSwam 4 seems like it may be the SEC’s most desired scenario (assuming Notre Dame doesn’t call). Get the most important schools in the large states of North Carolina & Virginia, with the basketball benefits those 2 schools bring). Then you add FSU and Clemson to 1)keep your football quality up 2) reassure football coaches that they’ll get regular trips into Florida 3) keep the Big Ten out.

            As a bonus, the new schools fit in perfectly. The new SEC would have 6 schools in states that border UNC and 4 schools in states that border Virginia. There are already some historic rivalries there, and others would be established in time.

            I still think the SEC might offer to take NCState along with UNC and Virginia, to help ensure they get picked over the Big Ten. I’m not sure NCState gets an SEC offer if UNC goes to the Big Ten.

            Like

    2. Brian

      HooBurns,

      I mostly agree with you, but I disagree about the math with ND. If the target is $100M per school, I think the B10 can count on ND bringing $150M by itself. That means the +1 “only” needs to be worth $50M, and I think several schools might fit that bill for the B10 (Stanford, UNC, FSU/Miami).

      Like

      1. HooBurns

        Fair point. I know others have said conference realignment teams always come in pairs, and history bears that out.

        But we’re in new territory here. Divisionless conferences don’t need even numbers any more. In fact the B1G stayed at 11 for a loooong time, right?

        The bonds between ND and Stanford are not historically strong (as others here also say), and there’s no indication ND would want someone else to come with them into the B1G – particularly given that would only reduce the pie for everyone.

        Respecting everyone’s views. Am just not convinced that either B1G or ND need a “semi-whale” to be part of the mix if ND decided to join one day. Thoughts certainly appreciated!

        Like

        1. Brian

          People assume a +1 for several main reasons:

          1. You cannot play a 9-game schedule with an odd number of teams. One team would have to play 8 or 10 games to make it work.

          2. Scheduling with odd numbers can be a pain. One school always needs the week off from conference play, and people generally prefer everyone gets OOC games over with early on (or at the very end). It’s doable, but even numbers can make it simpler.

          3. 17 doesn’t break into convenient scheduling pods. Neither does 19. You could do 15 or 21. It’s not that you need scheduling pods, but they have some strange grip on people.

          4. They’re so used to divisions.

          5. Fans overestimate expansion. Many are convinced the B10 and SEC want to go to 28 teams, so of course you add a +1 when you add ND.

          6. The financial math works with ND.

          Like

      2. vp0819

        I can’t see UNC joining the Big Ten (or SEC) without at least one ACC partner, either UVa (their football rivalry dates back about a century, and their game closed the teams’ seasons into the early years of the ACC) or Duke (which doesn’t give you another state, unlike Virginia, but does have MBB allure).

        Like

        1. Brian

          Agreed, they are unlikely to come alone. The B10 would probably prefer that they don’t. ND, Stanford, UVA and UNC would check a lot of boxes for B10 needs and probably be at least revenue neutral.

          Like

  39. bullet

    Warren said there would be new family members in the media partnerships. Note the (s).
    Also said they would use the 10:30 slot. I kind of expected they wouldn’t. USC and UCLA will have to play a lot of night games. Guess that is the price for full membership.
    Brett McMurphy quoted him as saying they would be in FOUR time zones in 2024. Unless he is talking about western Nebraska, which is not where Lincoln is, he could be talking about a Mountain Time Zone addition.

    Like

    1. z33k

      CBS seems really obvious.

      Their SEC deal ends just as a Big Ten deal would start.

      Basically the most obvious partner right now.

      NBC is trying to keep costs down it sounds like in its quest for shoulder programming while CBS probably would want #2 selections behind FOX and would probably get that at a decent price.

      As far as streamers go, I think a game a week could end up on Amazon.

      Like

      1. Brian

        If NBC is cost conscious, they can take lower level B10 selections. Those are cheaper than #1 or #2. More likely they are debating value, and what would fit best as a coherent CFB package.

        The streamers will probably try to force more of those terrible, hideous, never should be allowed except near holidays, weeknight games. It’s bad for students, it’s bad for high school players, it’s bad for college players, and it’s bad for the image of the conference. But it makes money, so why worry about anything else?

        Like

    2. Brian

      bullet,

      It may mean multiple networks, but it could also mean subsets within a company – like counting the streaming side separately.

      I didn’t see the 10:30 thing, but I’m not shocked. I highly doubt they use it every week. More likely USC and UCLA each play in it a couple of times per year so ESPN (or Fox) will pay for a good game then. If nothing else, USC vs UCLA could be then plus some OOC games.

      There won’t be a MTZ addition. I’m sure he’s counting western NE because it’s technically true and makes the B10 look even more national. It’s like being the “fastest growing” company because your total sales went from $1 to $3.

      Like

      1. Mike

        I didn’t see the 10:30 thing

        His full quote::

        Q. It seems like this wave of expansion kind of hinged on a couple of things that made it so that you could, for lack of a better word, forsake your regional base here in the Midwest and go national, the ability to add more Big Ten Network subscribers in California in a 10:00 p.m. time slot for football that the Big Ten has never had before. Just how big were those two factors in this decision? If you want to share a number on what the existing schools are going to realize as a benefit annually, just a ballpark figure, feel free to do that. Are those things going to drive future expansion as well?

        KEVIN WARREN: It could drive future expansion, but one of the things you said — again, back to what I said earlier — I always ask why and why not. I think sometimes later time zones on the West Coast, people looked at it as a negative, and I always looked at it as a positive. So for us in the Big Ten to be — we’re in four time zones, we will be in 2024: East, Central, Mountain, and West. So now we’ll be able to provide content all the way from the morning into the night and lead into some really incredible programming.

        So I think the value of being across four time zones for multiple reasons is really important. We haven’t finalized the financial impact, and ironically this probably will shock you, the numbers and finances associated with it are typically the last thing that I kind of consider and analyze. It’s important for me from a business standpoint, but from a decision-making process standpoint, always look at all the other reasons why because, if all the other reasons make sense, the finances will take care of themselves.

        So I’m looking forward to building a brand to be fortified and strong from Los Angeles to New Jersey and everywhere in between. So it will be an exciting time, busy time for these next two years. Thank you for all the work that you do.

        http://asaptext.com/asap_media/media/1025/1297/transcripts/123150.html

        Like

      2. Richard

        I’d expect pretty much every USC and UCLA home game that isn’t a heavyweight matchup (and thus warrant a primetime slot) to take place at 10:30 Eastern (which is still primetime on the West Coast).
        The B10 will likely schedule to make sure that the league has a home game in LA every week or nearly every week.

        Like

        1. Brian

          I don’t think they signed up for 5 late night games every year, and I think it’s a huge waste of USC’s brand. I could see their least exciting home games (2-3 B10, 1-2 OOC) being late night candidates (more for UCLA than USC), but it’s wasteful to put too many there.

          The networks can pay the P12 or MWC to fill some of those slots for much cheaper.

          Like

          1. Brian

            Within reason, yes. The B10 often includes limits on how often a school can be (or must be) put into certain TV windows, and schools have been allowed to opt out of certain things (F night home games, November night home games). I’m not sure the B10 would add these 2 schools to immediately give them the worst thing about their P12 schedules again.

            In addition, the B10 doesn’t get the full value of USC’s (and even UCLA’s) brand and their addition to the conference if they are playing when much of the B10 footprint isn’t watching. It would make much more sense to put schools like Cal and Stanford in that position than USC and UCLA. And if there were 4-6 pacific schools, it would be a lot fewer late games per school.

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      1. Brian

        To be fair, the B10 and Fox have a unique relationship via BTN. The rest are just networks who may carry games. If you mention ESPN, then you need to mention NBC, CBS, and Amazon. I think he will mention ESPN when announcing the new deals – either because ESPN is still a partner, or to thank them for past coverage.

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    1. z33k

      A pretty good profile of him, and the state of the conference under Delaney.

      Delaney was here so long as college athletics transitioned from being less formal/more amateur and having small revenues to basically being a gigantic business.

      So I’m not surprised that much of the Big Ten administration under Delaney was ad hoc with very little formal structure in terms of HR/contracts and such. Though as always his ability and timing with media deals was second to none. Brilliant choices all the way in terms of BTN/length of tv deals/moving to FOX/etc.

      I think in that sense Warren was a good choice, professionalizing the Big Ten and transforming it into a corporation with its own in house teams for a lot of business/legal activities is the right approach in my mind.

      I get that some ADs are skeptical of that like Glass who thought Big Ten should just be about pass through, but we’re at the point where building the Big Ten brand is the equivalent of promoting the 16 schools.

      The SEC took that approach first and rode it to wild success. Making it a 2 conference game elevates the Big Ten in a similar fashion.

      Of course, some of the personnel choices have clearly not worked, but some more recently seem promising.

      It appears that he gets the business side of things which is what matters over the next 10-15 years especially, so I think he can be effective.

      The fact that he was already thinking about USC/UCLA and Big Ten expansion when he interviewed is a huge plus in my mind.

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    2. Kevin

      A lot of the rumors of Warren from the ADs appeared to be true. Maybe he has changed but the fact he didn’t stop to connect with Moos is crazy. Not a big fan of empire building in the league office. As long as expenses are constrained I am some what indifferent with the approach.

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      1. z33k

        Yeah that’s the key, if it gets to the point where the corporate finances affect distributions, that’ll be a problem.

        The one thing helping the Big Ten in that respect is that it has a peer competitor in the SEC.

        Competition to stay in line with SEC payouts means that there isn’t spare cash for empire building, just what’s necessary to run the conference and the general business of college athletics.

        If there was no peer competitor, then that’d be a problem and sometimes companies run astray and build huge bureaucracies that end up wasting lots of money.

        But given the situation, I think that’s unlikely here.

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        1. Kevin

          I read recently that Warren’s contract is up in 2024 and so far the presidents have not renewed or extended. Maybe it’s early but it’s telling that they haven’t given him that vote of confidence. I am also not a believer that he is extremely involved with expansion. I am sure there is a small committee that know who the targets are and most of that work is done at the President level.

          I am sure he active with the media deal but I know there is a committee of presidents and ADs that are also involved with the deal.

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          1. z33k

            I think he’ll be extended, Ohio State in particular seems happy with Diana Sabau moving over there as deputy commissioner.

            That probably helped fix that relationship, which is one of the key ones in the conference, if not the most important.

            Reality is just that the Presidents will and should control the conference. Especially when it comes to expansion, relationships between presidents/ADs and presidents/ADs of target schools is a huge deal.

            Maryland’s Wallace Loh’s relationships with Big Ten leadership in his former role as Iowa Provost.

            The relationships between UCLA’s AD and Ohio State.

            Those things are huge in realignment and can’t be understated, that’s how a lot of these discussions start and move along.

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    3. Redwood86

      Very telling that Warren was willing to meet in person with media partners “early in the pandemic”, but not with potential senior executive hires. . . Wow.

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      1. z33k

        That is how the priorities go, I mean, the Big Ten does grant all of its media rights to BTN which then turns around and sells them.

        And of course BTN is 61% owned by FOX, so relationships with them are more important than anything else.

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      2. Richard

        Media partners pay the bills. Senior execs do not. Especially in the case of a conference, which isn’t much involved in the product side of things (the individual schools and programs do that) but is really about selling and marketing.

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  40. EndeavorWMEdani

    Obviously Stanford is endowment rich (adding another 2B this year alone), but they have always operated on a tight athletic budget, regularly touting in fundraising letters that “Maintaining 39 sports within our current model, is unsustainable.” They even dropped, then reinstated, a handful of Olympic sports a couple years back in an attempt to control their athletic department’s ballooning budget. Stanford academic prestige is paramoumt, of course, but they are also assiduous in safeguarding and promoting their athletic prowess. The B1G offers them the perfect media partner to do just that, while finding their sports in the process. I believe Stanford to the B1G is only a matter of time. As for ND, I’m not as convinced as others here NBC’s ‘shouldering’ strategy is going to beat fruit. We shall see!

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    1. I’ll say it yet again: Is there any indication that Stanford whould want to join the Big Ten, even if invited? They may not want to bring 39 athletic teams across the country to compete. They don’t need the money and they don’t need the academic patina of the Big Ten. And aren’t they now the top dog in the Pac-12 now that USC and UCLA are gone?

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        1. “Was there evidence for USC, UCLA, or UMD?”

          Entirely different situations. Team travel logistics for UMD didn’t change much from the ACC to Big Ten Eastern Div. Stanford would be dragging 39 teams across the country every year, multiple times.

          USC and UCLA came with their archrivals – each other. The Big Ten isn’t bringing in Cal-Berkeley.

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          1. Brian

            You think that is Stanford’s big concern? Playing Cal? They can easily do that OOC (and ND, too).

            13 of Stanford’s teams don’t play in the P12 at all. 2 of them would need to join the B10, but men’s indoor track & field is about meets, not conference play, and men’s gymnastics only has a few meets per year. Of the other 23 teams, many are meet-based sports as well. And they’d have at least 2 familiar faces and short trips in USC and UCLA.

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      1. z33k

        They almost cut a lot of sports recently… they absolutely would enhance the financial situation of their athletics program if possible…

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        1. EndeavorWMEdani

          Goldman just double downgraded Paramount to a sell, trimmed Disney’s price target and reversed on Warner Discovery, calling it a buy. -You moved the markets!! 😄

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          1. z33k

            The only thing I know about money is you can never have enough of it.

            All this is the same; nobody ever stopped at any number.

            Stanford’s always going to want the next billion.

            ND is the only school that has ever foregone revenue to stay in a lesser financial solution if they had a choice.
            But given the importance of independence to their donors/boosters and all that, it might be financially important too.

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          2. Z33k, ND may be the only school that has ever foregone revenue to stay in a lesser financial solution if they had a choice but that doesn’t mean that Stanford wouldn’t do the same. ND has doners to fill the gap and Stanford has pretty much the same situation with their endowments from doners. Plus Stanford is a top research school, ND is not.

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          3. z33k

            Colin, academically Stanford fits in better with the Big Ten (or Ivy League but they’re not de-emphasizing sports) than anywhere else.

            And the money would be double or so.

            If ND heads to the Big Ten, their most likely partner is Stanford. Why would Stanford say no?

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          4. frug

            ND is the only school that has ever foregone revenue to stay in a lesser financial solution if they had a choice.

            That’s not really true. UNC and UVa both could have joined the Big Ten or SEC after Maryland bolted, but chose to stay in the ACC despite lower payouts. FSU and Clemson could have joined the Big XII and made more there, but also chose to stick around. By most accounts, V-Tech, NC State, and Georgia Tech also had at least 1 other conference that was interested in them and would have given them a raise, but they too decided to remain loyal.

            Admittedly, those schools have largely come to regret the decision (mostly because they badly underestimated exactly how much more the Big Ten and SEC would be making), but they did leave money on the table.

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          5. Marc

            I believe ND is the only school that has left a substantial amount of money on the table. UNC/UVA et al did leave money on the table, but as @frug notes, they believed at the time that the difference would be a lot smaller than it turned out to be.

            One could argue that even ND was not actually leaving money on the table. They believed that joining a conference would be a non-starter for many of their donors, for whom Independence is a quasi-religion. With prominent ND alumni softening now, that argument might eventually become irrelevant.

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      2. frug

        The only reason Stanford would turn down a Big Ten invite would be if they viewed it as prelude to some sort of professionalism for athletes, which they have made clear they would never be a part of.

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        1. Peter Griffin

          This is the correct answer, and it is also why ND will insist on Stanford as a partner to join the B1G if that’s where ND decides to go. Has nothing to do with a “rivalry,” as some here seem to use as a strawman.

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          1. Brian

            Peter,

            Using it as a strawman implies they know it’s not true. I think a lot of fans (esp. younger ones) see Stanford and ND play every year, and the teams have for as long as they can remember, and they assume it’s a rivalry since it’s an annual OOC game.

            I fail to see how conference affiliation has any impact on the professionalization of college sports. When a judge declares players are employees and must be paid, and their is no antitrust exemption that would allow for limiting wages, what does conference affiliation have to do with it? The law applies to independents just as much as the B10, P12, and SEC. Maybe I-AA could still get away with not paying players, but maybe not.

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        2. Brian

          frug,

          It seems like professionalism is coming regardless, and B10 expansion has no impact on that.

          Will Stanford give up high level revenue sports? Will they drop to a lower NCAA division (or whatever equivalent governing body exists)? We’ll have to see what decisions they actually make.

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          1. frug

            I agree professionalism of sort is probably inevitable, and I think there is a good chance that Stanford could decide to drop down a level or set up a new conference/division with like minded schools like Cal, BC, Wake Forest, Duke, and (depending on how things shake out) possibly even NW, Vandy, and Georgia Tech who can not and/or will not compete using players as employees.

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          2. frug

            More to your point, Stanford may decide that moving to the Big Ten would force them to commit to professionalism whenever it comes (since the Big Ten is always going to compete at the highest level), and decide it isn’t worth it.

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          3. Richard

            Too many benefits to remaining at the highest level. If Duke doesn’t care about getting it’s players paid (via NIL) to assemble the best basketball team possible, I don’t believe Stanford would willingly take on the Ivy model.

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