Sunday, June 13, 2010

Negotiating a larger conference.

So it seems inevitable that the PAC-10 will move to an increasingly larger size. And if it hits the size of 16, and a decision is made not to do a championship game at 16, negotiating TV contracts will take on a life of their own.

If, as many have reported, that the divisions will be split geographically, we'll be operating essentially with two unique eight team conferences with some crossover. As I've stated, I don't believe that taking a PAC-16 as a single entity will be easy for a single TV partner, using OTA and cable means, to handle.

So what should Larry Scott do? In my opinion, he needs to negotiate each division separately. The Pacific coast schools have always felt that they were underrepresented on TV, so go ahead and negotiate those schools to play on ESPN after the SEC evening games and get them a slot on ABC. Maybe continue to use FSN for a remaining set of games. Then for the Central/Mountain schools negotiate separately, maybe with FSN or Versus, and with ABC and/or FOX. But make sure that the conference can at least overlap each other on cable/OTA when games are aired from different divisions. Or if games are going to air on ABC, at least allow for both divisions to have games air at the same time on a regional basis. If the goal is to get as many games national TV as possible, there will be a need to negotiate with as many as possible. Feeding 16 mouths will require a lot of creativity, and that's not even considering a conference based network.

The point is that with the PAC-10 or however large it gets is that it cannot negotiate itself as a single entity if it goes beyond twelve members. If they repeat the mistakes of the current contract where cable and OTA have exclusive windows for the entire conference, maybe where 7-8 games air on a weekend but only 50% air on TV, the PAC-10 expansion will be an abject, expensive failure.

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