Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trying to tie realignment back to TV

Now that realignment is starting to slow...alright, it isn't.

* The ACC and ESPN are going back to the negotiating table now that the additions of Pittsburgh and Syracuse are on the way.  At worse, $25-$27 million gets added to the total rights deal of the conference to account for those schools being added so that the other schools don't receive diluted shares of TV revenue.  With the addition of at least 12 football games and around 30 games in the TV rights package, it will be interesting to see how they add those games to the TV schedule.  Maybe an additional Thursday night game or two and a few more games for seem to be where football will go, but basketball will definitely see more games.  That's where the additions have value.

* TCU is doing the right thing by negotiating with the Big 12.  Its the geographical fit for them and, theoretically, travel will be less expensive for them.  They're in process of upgrading Amon Carter Stadium and they'll get back to playing several opponents on a yearly basis who they shared longtime rivalries with them.  Not to mention that they'll be receiving a windfall in television revenue when compared to what they would have made in the Big East television contract and more appearances nationally as part of the Big 12 contract.

* The Big 12 is still the conference with the tipping point for additional realignment.  After TCU, Missouri's decision on a conference home must be made.  The Big Ten has informally turned them down and the school's rather public courting of a new home may have turned off other conferences.  If Missouri stays, the membership has to determine whether they want to return to a 12 member conference and if they want to play a conference championship game.

* Back when the Pac-12 made their decision to go with FOX and ESPN as television partners, it was though that the two entities teamed up to keep NBC/Comcast out of the major conference college sports business.   Fast forward to Big East football media day, where NBC Sports president Mark Lazarus talked about being interested in bidding on the conference's rights when they came to the open market.  Now that the conference has lost two members and an incoming member, you get the feeling that ESPN and FOX, indirectly, are working again to keep NBC/Comcast out of the market by reshuffling the deck of available conferences and schools, stripping the Big East for parts and damaging a conference before it hits the open market.  Almost daring NBC/Comcast to bid on it, in a way telling them they can come in to the market, but the product they plan on bidding on might not have the cache that it could have had.

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