Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Big 12, FOX and Revenue

The Big 12 and FOX Sports Media Group and rumored to be close to a new pay tv rights agreement that would pay the conference anywhere between $60 million to $70 million.  My guess is those games will air on FSN affiliates and F/X.  By the movement of Colorado & Nebraska to other conferences, and the existing terms of the deals to remain the same, the Big 12 will gain roughly a 20% increase in revenue per team in 2011-12 without doing anything because ABC and FSN did not change the terms of their existing agreements.  But does the new agreement get the big three of Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M close to the number of $20 million in conference distribution?

Depends on how you crunch the numbers.  From a pure TV standpoint, today the Big 12 receives $60 million from ABC/ESPN for football on ABC, which includes the Texas-Texas A&M game if it airs on ESPN, and men’s basketball.  It then receives $19.5 million from FSN for football on FSN, which includes all other football games sublicensed to ESPN, and all other sports (women’s basketball, baseball, etc.).

The Big 12 divides up its TV revenue with an appearance based model. 50% of the money received is distributed to all conference members equally (the conference office might get a cut too). The rest of the money is distributed based on the number of appearances a school makes on TV within the conference’s TV agreements. From one ESPN article, TV appearances in football & men’s basketball are used to determine how to split the other 50%.

Since men’s basketball is included, a school like Kansas, who doesn’t appear on ABC in football as much as Oklahoma or Texas, can make up some ground through men’s basketball. We know that football drives these deals, but how much? If we say football is a base of 1, is men’s basketball .4 (ie. rights for a men’s basketball game are worth 40% of a football game)?

What also needs to be determined is if the existing revenue sharing/appearance fee model will change in any form.  Since the TV money has been equally divided, does that mean that a football game on FSN is now worth approx 3x as much as it is under the existing contract?  If the Big 12 pays $300K for a OOC game on FSN and $150K for a conference game, can we make the leap that the Big 12 will distribute $1 million for an OOC game and $500K for a conference game just to keep the appearance pool revenue at 50% of the FSN contract?  Or at least make changes to the amount that teams receive for playing on ABC?

The numbers make my head dizzy. In short, each of the big three would make slightly more than $12.5 million total from ABC/ESPN and FSN using 2010’s TV appearances in football & men’s basketball, plus the shared revenue from the TV deal.  I also included an “offset” since Nebraska & Colorado made TV appearances in 2010.  That offset was divided equally among the remaining ten teams in my projections, but since the offset is from appearances, it won’t make it to everyone’s bottom line.  I'm also making a boatload of assumptions with my numbers.  Please don't take them as gospel, my statistics background involves a couple courses in college.  But that is roughly a 75% increase in total TV revenue since the ABC deal isn't being reworked, over 300% just from FOX.

So if we’re at $13 million, how can we get to $20 million for these guys? NCAA credits from men’s basketball and bowl payouts then get lumped in. Some of that money is also distributed in favor of the teams who make the tournament and who goes to a bowl game.

In my opinion, its going to be close.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Who's In With Seedings

Here's who I got.  I know that some items could change, but Dayton is the only team that could crash the field.  If Dayton crashes the party, I'll put in a caveat at the bottom.

Here goes...

1 - Ohio St., Kansas, Duke, Pitt
2 - San Diego St., Texas, North Carolina, Notre Dame
3 - Purdue, BYU, Florida, Wisconsin
4 - Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, Connecticut
5 - Utah St., Georgetown, West Virginia, Arizona
6 - St. John's, Washington, Kansas St., Cincinnati
7 - George Mason, UNLV, Vanderbilt, Villanova
8 - Illinois, Xavier, Missouri, Temple
9 - Belmont, Texas A&M, Old Dominion, Penn St.
10 - Gonzaga, Clemson, Michigan St., Michigan
11 - Marquette, Richmond, Virginia Tech, Butler
12 - St. Mary's, Tennessee, Florida St./UAB**, UCLA/Georgia**
13 - Oakland, Memphis, Princeton, Bucknell
14 - Morehead St., Long Island, Wofford, Indiana St.
15 - St. Peter's, Northern Colorado, Akron, UC-Santa Barbara
16 - UNC-Asheville, Boston U., Hampton/UALR**, UTSA/Alabama St.**

** - First Four games

If Dayton were to win, slot them between Memphis & Bucknell.  Colorado would be out and the FF games would be Georgia vs. UCLA and UAB vs. Florida St.  Both FF at-large games would be for 12 seeds instead of one for a 12 and one for a 13.

How did I go about this?  Used RealTimeRPI, Sagarin (purple column) and Ken Pomeroy as of this morning, plus I did move a few teams around, but no more than one seed line.

EDIT: Made a late change because I left out Princeton, Ivy League champ.  Colorado gets dumped out because of the switch and both FF at-large games are for 12 seeds.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pac-12 Football Fridays

The Big East has used Friday for several regular season telecasts, and now the Pac-12 appears to be ready to try it out.  During the week, rumblings appeared that USC-Colorado in early November could be moved to a Friday slot and now we've seen the Missouri-Arizona St. game moved to a Friday evening start

In the case of Missouri-Arizona St., there may have been considerations made due to both Arizona schools preferring night games during the 1st month of the season.  The schools want night games due to the extreme temperatures in Arizona at that time of year.  Quite possible that ABC/ESPN wanted the game, but with several choices available for Pac-12 TV partners (Cal-Colorado, Hawai'i-Washington, Utah-USC), its possible that they could not agree on an ideal time for a Saturday game, so moving it to Friday was acceptable, particularly since they could play it in the evening in Tempe after the FIU-Louisville game.

The possible Friday move of USC-Colorado is also interesting.  Friday has been the preferred date among the few fans that have commented about it online and seems to be preferred by the administration due to the congestion around campus due to night classes.  It is still possible that the game could move to Thursday, but ESPN is inquiring about moving the game and a Thursday night game (Florida St.-Boston College) is scheduled for a 8pm start.  So unless it is put on ESPN2, I think Friday is more likely.  Network may be in question for a move to Friday and that may be the opening Friday of the NBA season and the game could be on ESPN2.

So ESPN/ESPN2 Friday schedule looks like this

9/2 - TBA (possibly Marshall-WVU or Wake Forest-Syracuse)
9/9 - FIU-Louisville 7pm ESPN, Missouri-Arizona St. 10:30pm ESPN
9/16 - Iowa St.-Connecticut 8pm ESPN/ESPN2
9/23 - UCF-BYU 8pm ESPN
9/30 - Utah St.-BYU 8pm ESPN
10/7 - TBA (possibly Boise St.-Fresno St.)
10/14 - TBA (possibly a WAC conference game)
10/21 - Rutgers at Louisville 8pm ESPN
10/28 - BYU vs. TCU @Arlington 8pm ESPN
11/4 - TBA (possibly USC-Colorado)
11/11 - USF-Syracuse 8pm ESPN2
11/18 - TBA (possibly WAC or Pac-12 game)
11/25 - Leaving this day alone since it often involves a large schedule of games
12/2 - MAC Championship @Detroit 8pm ESPN2

For Black Friday we know that there likely be a Big East-Big Ten doubleheader on ABC with either Louisville-USF or Pittsburgh-WVU, with the other on ESPN/ESPN2, followed by Iowa-Nebraska.  The WAC has often placed a late evening game here and there been some discussion that ESPN would like a late evening WAC game for that date.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Big Ten, ABC/ESPN Discussing Contract Changes

Per a report over at the great TV sports website The506.com, the Big Ten and ABC/ESPN are discussing alterations to the existing television contract.  The item specifically being discussed is that ABC's telecast windows will no longer be exclusive, meaning that the Big Ten Network could air games simultaneously as ABC does.  Currently that happens once a year, usually in the final week of the Big Ten schedule.  With Nebraska entering the conference, there will be more games available for all parties and to televise every game, there will need to be some flexibility.  There is some great discussion of what ABC could get from the conference if it were to drop exclusivity:
  • More telecast opportunities for ABC/ESPN.  Currently up to 17 games on ABC, 24 on ESPN/ESPN2.
  • Big Ten Network could drop its ability to either
    • Jump ESPN/ESPN2 at times during the season
    • Require all teams to have a conference game on the Big Ten Network
  • Flexibility in selecting games for prime time games
    • I have doubts about this one with many stadiums not having permanent lighting
  • Night games in the month of November
  • Possibility for games on non-traditional days during the season, such as Black Friday or Thursday nights
To me, all seem possible except for flexibility in night games due to the lack of lighting at some stadiums.  Bears watching as the offseason and game selections come in.  Typically the Big Ten sets its night games & start times for homecoming games for the season in mid-April.