Is ESPN the force behind NCAA realignment?
The above headline is from an USA Today story by Steve Wieberg and Steve Berkowitz (Is ESPN the force behind NCAA realignment?) and although we would not answer the above question on ESPN’s role in realignment with an affirmative “YES” that ESPN is “the force” behind conference realignment it is our opinion that very few things happen in major college football right down to if and when the conference commissioners go to the bathroom without ESPN having a say in almost all things that happen in college football and basketball these days.
To most Americans that watch college football ESPN is a cable channel and TV network (ABC) that brings college football and college football news into their homes and what goes on behind the scenes is of little concern and as long as the cable or satellite bill is affordable and easy to pay each month with most folks really caring less about all of the goings-on behind the scenes between the conferences and the networks…..BUT….there is no doubt that what is said on ESPN and other cable channels and networks is driven by an agenda that sometimes is in the best interests of the schools, players coaches and fans and sometimes not in their best interests.
ESPN is a gargantuan organization that from the above USA Today column we learn will spend….
“As a TV rights holder, ESPN is a business partner to a wide array of conferences and schools (its total college outlay will average more than $700 million annually by next year).”
….$700 Million Dollars a year just on college athletics which is a stunning number considering that ESPN didn’t even exist when many of us here at Coaches Hot Seat were in high school 30 plus years ago.
In the Wieberg and Berkowitz USA Today article on ESPN there are a lot of quotes from ESPN’s vice president for college sports programming Burke Magnus who nicely sums up ESPN’s position on realignment and anything else that could rock the boat in intercollegiate athletics when he says….
“We haven’t been advocates of change in this realm because our business interests are best served by stability.”
…which really drives home the point later in the USA Today article by former Big 12 commish Dan Beebe that…
“”They’re businesspeople. They’re going to tell you what it’s going to take for you to be on their network and how much they’re willing to provide for that.
“If you’re all about the money — and it seems like we’ve shifted more and more to the commercial side — and that’s the route you want to go, that’s the way you’ve made your bed.””
No truer words have ever been said because what ESPN is really all about once one gets beyond what is actually on the air at ESPN, the ESPN shows, ESPN movies, ESPN films, ESPN SportsCenter and everything else is one very simple thing which is money and that money thing is driven by one very simple formula:
Return on Invested Capital or ROIC which in plain English means (from Wikipedia)…
“Return on invested capital (ROIC) is a financial measure that quantifies how well a company generates cash flow relative to the capital it has invested in its business.”
…which in even plainer English relative to ESPN means that for ESPN’s parent, the Walt Disney Corporation, ESPN is a cash cow that generates huge profits for its parent company relative to the amount of invested capital it costs to run ESPN and those big profits that ESPN generates are driven by increases in ad revenue and by manageable fees paid for sporting events like college football and the college football postseason which in even more plainer English means that in our opinion the conferences and schools are still not get anywhere near top Dollar for their products, which would be the teams and players which are watched by tens of millions of fans across the country and the world.
Here is a recent article that details the ESPN Money Making Machine:
The Money-Making Machine Behind Disney’s Success Is ESPN (Of Course), Brad Cohen, Sportsgrid.com
Yes, it is always easy to make lots of money when you are paying “X” amount for a product and you are making “Y” amount for that product with “Y” being much larger than “X” which in intercollegiate sports parlance means that ESPN and other networks are paying a lot less for the right to televise college football, even at what seem like very large amounts of money that ESPN is shelling out, than what college football is generating in ad revenue and subscription fees with the SEC Conference’s current TV contract being the best example of a network making out like a bandit because of the amount that ESPN is paying the SEC (call it “X”) is a lot less than what ESPN is making (call it “Y”) on the SEC’s college football product.
How much is the SEC Conference’s “Y” product actually worth even building in a large profit for ESPN?
Well, on Kristi Dosh’s Business of College Sports website (although Kristi recently signed on to work for…ESPN…who else in the new Sports Business Blog. Congrats to Kristi on that because she is one hard working woman) the SEC is now receiving from ESPN…
$2.25 Billion from ESPN over 15 years or $150 Million Dollars a year (CBS pays the SEC about $55 Million Dollars a year for the rights to carry SEC games which is another story for another day).
OK, so the SEC is getting $150 Million Dollars a year from ESPN and even building in a large profit for ESPN what is the SEC’s “Y” product actually worth?
Try another $75 Million Dollars a year….at least with annual increases of at least 3 to 5 percent! (Not counting the addition of Texas A&M and maybe Missouri to the SEC Conference)
But don’t forget what ESPN college sports honcho Burke Magnus said in the USA Today article…
“We haven’t been advocates of change in this realm because our business interests are best served by stability.”
…which in plain English means…
If we can lock-up the SEC Conference for 15 years at $150 Million Dollars per year….
And we (ESPN) will make a bloody fortune and the folks at the SEC will think they are making a bloody fortune when in fact they are leaving Tens of Millions of Dollars on the table each and every year!
Now consider for a moment another few paragraphs from the USA Today article on ESPN and conference realignment about the Bogus and Un-American BCS:
“In lower-echelon conferences, there’s a different kind of discomfort.
Weber spent 15 years as president at San Diego State, many of them chafing at the BCS and a format that separates college football’s haves from have-nots.
Football’s six marquee leagues — the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — automatically place their champions into a BCS bowl game, where the payouts to conferences of affiliated teams reach as high as $26 million-plus.
The five lower-echelon leagues in the NCAA’s bowl subdivision must hope one or two of their teams meet minimum-ranking criteria to qualify for a BCS bowl. San Diego State and the Mountain West Conference fall among the non-automatic qualifiers (or non-AQs).
That dividing line is based partly on the leagues’ and their member schools’ historical performance on the field — and partly on their attractiveness to TV.
San Diego State and others in non-AQ leagues are effectively branded as second-class, Weber says, raising the question of “the role that ESPN plays in the general positioning of your university.”
He prefers to scrap the BCS and set up a major-college football playoff to which all leagues have access, something the Mountain West has formally proposed.
Weber regards ESPN as “a co-conspirator” with the BCS in frustrating previous efforts in that regard.
He says the network fears the exorbitant rights fees a major-college football playoff could fetch and the possibility of losing such prime property to a higher-bidding rival.
Counters ESPN’s Magnus: “We don’t determine the format. We leave that to the stewards of the sport.””
Here’s the problem:
The “stewards of the sport” are little more than patsies that are like lambs being led to slaughter when it comes to dealing with the large cable operations and networks because the “stewards of the sport” have NO IDEA how much money is really being made on their product and more importantly how much money they are leaving on the table by not negotiating hard with ESPN and the networks to obtain Top Dollar for their product.
Even worse the “stewards of the sport” have been played like a .50 cent violin bought at garage sale as it pertains to the current college football postseason which has been sold as one thing, nice little bowl games for the “student-athletes” to play in, but in reality is something much different, a cash cow for ESPN that is nothing but a Massive Rip-Off for intercollegiate athletics because a legitimate postseason in college football would generated untold Billions of more Dollars for intercollegiate athletics which rightly scares the Hell out of “some” in the media because they would finally have to pay Top Dollar for the college football postseason instead of the absurd low amounts of money they are paying for the Bogus and Un-American BCS and some silly bowl games.
Yes, that sound you hear is lots of laughter in the closed offices of the cable companies and networks that have convinced the patsies otherwise known as the “stewards of the sport” that lord over college football and believe they know what they are doing when in fact they are getting massively ripped-off by people in the TV business that know lambs when they see them and we all know what happens to lambs when they enter a ring with very hungry lions otherwise known as hard-nosed business people…..right?
They get slaughtered!
Hey, besides helping college athletic departments negotiate contracts with these flunky coaches’ agents so that colleges don’t agree to stupid contracts like Houston Nutt’s $6 Million Dollar buyout (we would not have signed a contract with Nick Saban for a $6 Million Dollar buyout so why does Houston Nutt have a buyout so large? Because of very stupid negotiators at Ole Miss is why!) we also could represent the conferences and a new postseason structure for college football to make Damn sure that the conferences, the teams and the entire game were getting Top Dollar for their product instead of getting royally ripped off which is going on right now.
We would show up to the meetings with the cable companies and networks with two pieces of paper:
1. One piece of paper would be for our own private viewing and it would show what the cable companies and networks were making on the product we were negotiating for which we could figure out with a couple of hours of work.
2. The second piece of paper would be what we wanted from the cable company and/or network for them to secure the rights to televise the product we were negotiating for and in the case of the SEC it would be the proverbial either take it or leave it and we would then put a 60 second timer down on the table and tell them that when the bell goes off they will no longer be able to negotiate for the rights to SEC football and basketball.
The real problem is that right now there are way too many people in positions of power in college football that are showing up to these TV negotiations without any understanding of what the cable companies and networks are really making and that naïveté is costing intercollegiate athletics Hundreds of Millions of Dollars each and every year and let’s not even talk about the Absolute Stupidity of the current college football postseason which the cable companies and TV networks love because it allows them to royally rip-off intercollegiate athletics to the tune of Billions of Dollars because the American Public and REAL Americans would rightly see that a 16-Team Postseason Tournament would actually be legitimate and would thus generate much larger TV audiences and thus would be…
Worth a Helluva Lot More Money
Which the cable companies and networks really don’t want to pay as long as they have pasties in the “stewards of the sport” positions, that would be the conference commissioners and a few college and university presidents (not all anymore thankfully) that are being played for chumps and laughed at for being so stupid to support the Bogus and Un-American BCS which still exists because a few Piece of Crapola running the bowls are getting wealthy and the cable companies and networks are buying the current college football postseason on the cheap which all of the above makes the “stewards of the sport” look…
Very Stupid indeed!
And take it from us….the “stewards of the sport” in college football are adding Hundreds of Millions of Dollars to the bottom-lines of a few publicly traded companies BECAUSE they are such big patsies and they have NO IDEA what their product is worth and what a legitimate postseason in college football would really be worth! (Since we are shareholders of these media companies that makes us happy but why are the “stewards of the sport” making the shareholders of the media companies wealthier when all they are doing is costing intercollegiate athletics Hundreds of Millions of Dollars every year? Damn good question!)
Yes, send in the “stewards of the sports” otherwise known as the lambs….to slaughter!
West Virginia Sues the Big East
Instead of West Virginia suing the Big East…
West Virginia files lawsuit against the Big East, AP
…if we had been running West Virginia University we would have just notified that Big East that because of the recent actions of other Big East schools and the inaction of the Big East Conference over the past 18 months since conference realignment became a big issue that West Virginia was withdrawing from the Big East to begin play in the Big 12 beginning in 2012.
No doubt, the above action would have led to the Big East suing West Virginia University, but from what we have read about the incredible incompetence of the Big East Conference and its leadership over the past 18 months we are confident that once all the depositions were done and a jury heard the case that any sane person would rule that the Big East was allowed to unravel by its own leaders and that West Virginia had ever right to protect itself and its student-athletes and move to the Big 12 starting in 2012.
Beyond a court ruling that would force the West Virginia to play games in the Big East over the next couple of years we would like for someone to explain to us how West Virginia could be forced to send its football, basketball and other sports teams to play games against other Big East teams which leads to West Virginia to just going ahead and planning to play in the Big 12 in 2012 and sending their teams to those games against Big 12 teams and force the Big East to try and stop them from doing just that.
Short of a court order forcing West Virginia to play Big East games which some good lawyers could stop from happening just by producing the evidence of what has happened and what has not happened with the Big East Conference over the past 18 months, there is no reason why West Virginia could not join the Big 12 in 2011 or that Syracuse and Pitt could begin play in the ACC next year also.
West Virginia should say “Adios” Big East and head to Big 12 Country…although West Virginia in the Big 12 makes about as much sense as Boise State in the Big East…which is NO SENSE.
The LSU – Alabama Game
There are all kinds of claims about LSU – Alabama being the latest “Game of the Century” and that LSU and Alabama are “much better” that ALL other teams in college football in 2011 and these claims remind us of the people that used to go from town to town in the old American West and were rightly called…
Snake Oil Salesmen
Since after Week 4 of this season we here at Coaches Hot Seat have had Alabama and LSU in the Top 2 spots in the CHS Power Playoff Poll and as one can see below we have seen no reason to move those two teams from the Top 2 ranking positions because both teams have done everything that they could have done to this point to be at the top of the polls.
What the Alabama – LSU game really shows is the Absolute Absurdity of the Bogus and Un-American BCS because if in this season the best two teams in college football are in the SEC as some claim then one regular game in early November on Alabama’s home-field should not be the determining factor in whether the winning team this week should play in a Bogus and Incredibly Stupid title game 37 days after the SEC Championship Game is played.
Please, can anyone defend such Absolute Nonsense of the outcome one regular season game in early November ending the chances for one of the teams to play for a national title?
Oh, that sound you hear are the Morons that will repeat what anyone in a suit tells them that “the regular season is the playoff” in major college football which may be the most Absurd thing uttered in America since a group of people started saying that the way to save the country was to pass a law outlawing alcohol because the American People are not mature enough to decide or not if they should get a cold beer out of the fridge and sit on the couch drinking that cold beer after a hard day of work.
As one can see from the below Post Week 9 CHS Power Playoff Poll and seeding for a 16-Team Postseason Tournament we are actually REAL Americans because like EVERY other sport in America including on EVER level of football one game in the regular season will not determine if a team will play in a Bogus title game 37 days after the regular season ends…BUT…believe it or not like EVERY other sport in America and like REAL Americans that are not complete Candy Asses (that would be anyone stupid enough to support the Bogus and Un-American BCS) we act like…GASP!…REAL Americans and have the National Championship in Major College Football settled….GASP again!….on the Field of Play!
What a Damn concept!
Oh, that would be the same Damn concept used on EVERY level of football in America including high school and college which really make the Candy Asses that support the Bogus and Un-American BCS look stupid…but…then in an America that is filling up with Candy Asses that do nothing but stare at screens all day long it makes sense that there are some out there that are willing to chuck the Principles of American Republic in the ocean especially when one considers that most of OUR “Elected Leaders” in Washington DC would sell out their own spouses and children to get one more term in office.
As to the LSU – Alabama game itself since the game is being played in Tuscaloosa we see the Bama offense scoring some points which means this match-up should come down to the LSU offense vs. the Alabama defense and whether Alabama can stop the LSU running game and make the Tigers throw the ball to move the ball, score points and win the game…..and for most of Nick Saban’s coaching career (the Auburn game in 2010 is an exception) when a team is forced to throw to move the ball and score points then Nick Saban’s teams almost always win the game.
We see Alabama winning the game over LSU and that will leave LSU in the absurd position of having 1 loss and more than likely being shut-out of the Bogus BCS title game…unless of course we get into the Absurd position that Alabama could win the SEC West and then get upset in the SEC Championship Game which in the Bizarro-Bogus BCS World would leave LSU in the catbird seat of having 1 loss and more than likely being places in the Bogus BCS title game without even winning the SEC Conference!
If you think the above is right then this is very simple:
You are NOT AN AMERICAN.
The great thing about the below Rankings and 16-Team Postseason Tournament is that Conference Championships would once again be primary to determining which teams would get a chance to play for a legitimate National Championship in Major College Football as opposed to playing in a bunch of Meaningless Exhibition Games that mean…..NOTHING AT ALL.….and don’t forget that the Bogus and Un-American BCS costs intercollegiate athletics Hundreds of Millions of Dollars EACH and EVERY YEAR and doesn’t even crown a True Champion.
Yes, it makes sense to support the Bogus and Un-American BCS……but only if you are a Communist or Socialist.
Now on to the way REAL Americans would settle the National Championship in Major College Football.
“Candy Asses Debate…..REAL Americans Decides Championships on the Field of Play”
Post Week 9 Coaches Hot Seat Power Playoff Poll and 16-Team Postseason Tournament First Round Games
Below is the fifth Coaches Hot Seat Power Playoff Poll of the 2011 College Football Season which will be used to seed a 16-team Postseason College Football Tournament with the Top 7 Conferences From the 2010 college football season (using the Sagarin Conference Ratings) getting automatic seeds into the Tournament and the 4 remaining Conferences sending their Champions to Play-In Games in order to gain entry into the Tournament. The remaining spots will be filled with 7 At-Large Team seeds which are chose by the below poll but in the real world would be chose by a committee similar to the NCAA College Basketball Selection Committee:
Automatic Conference Champions in the 2011 College Football Postseason Tournament: SEC, Big 12, Big East, Pac-10, ACC, MWC, Big Ten
Conference Champions that would have to play each other to get into the Postseason Tournament: Sun Belt, C-USA, MAC, WAC
Wildcard Teams: 7 Wildcard Teams
Post Week 9 Coaches Hot Seat Power Playoff Poll
* = Predicted Conference Champion – # = At-Large Team
1. Alabama* (8-0)
2. LSU# (8-0)
3. Stanford* (8-0)
4. Boise State* (7-0)
5. Oklahoma State* (8-0)
6. Oregon# (7-1)
7. Oklahoma# (7-1)
8. Houston* (8-0)
9. Nebraska* (7-1)
10. Arkansas# (7-1)
11. Clemson* (8-1)
12. South Carolina# (7-1)
13. Virginia Tech# (8-1)
14. Penn State# (8-1)
15. Kansas State (7-1)
16. Michigan (7-1)
17. Cincinnati* (6-1)
18. Michigan State (6-2)
19. Wisconsin (6-2)
20. Georgia (6-2)
Projected Conference Champions not in Top 20
WAC Champion – Nevada*
Sun Belt Champion – Arkansas State*
MAC Champion – Toledo*
We now use the above Power Playoff Poll to seed a 16-team college football postseason playoff tournament, although we would prefer that a committee similar to the committee for the NCAA basketball tournament be used to pick the 7 wild card teams and then seed the 7 Conference Champions and the 2 teams that win the Play-In Games in the postseason tournament.
Conference Play-In Games – Saturday December 10, 2011
Toledo vs. Houston
Arkansas State vs. Nevada
First Round Games – Friday/Saturday December 16-17, 2011 – (Higher ranked teams host first round games)
Winner of MAC (Toledo) – C-USA Conference (Houston) Champions Play-In Game
Alabama – SEC Champion
Penn State – #7 At-Large Team
Oklahoma – #4 At-Large Team
Cincinnati – Big East Champion
Oregon – #2 At-Large Team
South Carolina – #5 At-Large Team
Nebraska – Big Ten Champion
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Boise State – MWC Champion
LSU – #1 At-Large Team
Palo Alto, California
Virginia Tech – #6 At-Large Team
Stanford – Pac-12 Champion
Clemson, South Carolina
Arkansas– #4 At-Large Team
Clemson – ACC Champion
Winner of WAC (Nevada) – Sun Belt Conference (Arkansas State) Champions Play-In Game
Oklahoma State – Big 12 Champion
Which of the above games does ESPN College GameDay go to? Yes, it is an embarrassment of riches to choose from but our guess for where GameDay goes for the First Round Games is….
Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the Boise State vs. LSU game – Now that would be a Helluva interesting football game to watch!
Great 8 – Second Round Games at Four Regional Sites – Friday/Saturday – December 23 – 24, 2011
Final 4 – Third Round Games at Two Regional Sites – Saturday – December 31, 2011
National Championship Game – Saturday – January 7, 2012
Can you say…
Legitimate National Champion in Major College Football?
With the above Postseason Major College Football Tournament why…..
YES YOU CAN!