Saturday, October 22, 2011

TV implications of the new CFA (aka MWC-CUSA-Big East-WAC)

A week ago the MWC and Conference USA announced that they would be combining forces in football for a super conference of sorts.   And I tweeted the following

I had no idea John Marinatto would take it to heart.

Now the Boston Globe is reporting that a scenario being considered is that the Big East and part of the WAC could join up with the MWC/C-USA partnership to create a single conference/alliance with the Big East's automatic BCS berth.

To me, its not a far fetched idea.  Right now, the plan assumes that West Virginia would replace Missouri in the Big 12.  Of course, Louisville could be substituted in.  The plan assumes that the Big 12 would be a ten team conference.  It also appears to assume that BYU will remain an independent.

Right now, there's a mishmash of TV rights involving all of the potential parties involved.  ESPN has the WAC rights for a few more years, C-USA has deals with FOX Sports and CBS Sports Network, the MWC with CBS Sports Network and Comcast/NBC and the Big East with ESPN.

To me, it looks like a slimmed down version of the CFA, the negotiating body for several conferences' TV rights from the mid-80s through the mid-90s.  Another coincidence: Chuck Neinas, who ran the Big 8 as commissioner along with the CFA, happens to have been the point person for the C-USA/MWC merger.

Questions come up with how a merger of this size goes about divvying up their TV rights and other money:

  • Single group or by division?
  • How many layers/entities will be involved (network, cable, syndication, conference-run TV)?
  • TV rights money: appearance based or shared equally?
  • Bowl games: do they get negotiated by division or within the group as a whole, and how does that money get split?
I'm sure there are other considerations too.  What are your thoughts about this setup?  How would you set this conglomeration up?

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