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ACC & BIG 12 |
SEC NETWORK'S SUCCESS NO SURE THING
The SEC had another banner season at the bank, as its members reeled in around $21 million per school during the fiscal year of 2013.
That puts the SEC well ahead of everybody else and just behind the king of cash Big Ten, which distributed $23-$26 million per school in the same fiscal year. And the SEC has reasons to be bullish on the future, as its own SEC Network is scheduled to launch Aug. 14.
But any prediction that, with the SEC Network, the conference will out-pace the Big Ten in earnings would be premature. There are still a number of issues involving the nascent network, not the least of which is that it has yet to reach agreements with some of the nation's biggest TV carriers.
With an asking price of $1.30 per subscriber within the conference's 11-state footprint, the SEC Network is demanding significantly more than either the Big Ten ($1) or the Pac-12 ($.80) for their networks. As a point of comparison, the NBC Sports Network, which carries the Stanley Cup playoffs and the English Premier League, costs merely 31 cents per subscriber.
So far, DirecTV (20 million subscribers) and Comcast (22 million) have not caved to the SEC's demands. DirecTV in fact has not carried the Pac-12 Network since its inception two years ago and the impasse is expected to continue into a third season this fall.
Even with the SEC fans threatening to make a switch, these providers might not budge so easily as the sports television landscape has changed dramatically over the past five years. The proliferation of regional sports networks and their exorbitant fees have forced the providers to re-evaluate their business model.
WHERE FSU RANKS
IN SECONDARY MARKET?
By Jesse Lawrence
direction of star quarterback Jameis Winston, the Florida State
Seminoles won their third national title in school history against
the Auburn Tigers last season. The Tigers, who garnered several
notable accomplishments last season despite their championship
loss, are expected to have another dominant season at Jordan-Hare
demand on the secondary ticket market for home games has remained
consistent since last season.
Florida State enters the 2014 season as national champs, the
school's season average does not break the 25 most expensive
college football programs on the secondary market. Winston will
certainly attract the masses to Doak
Campbell Stadium this
season, but his team currently holds a season average that is
lower than their championship opponent in Auburn, who ranks as the
school in college football.
will begin their season at home against Arkansas on August 30.
While the game serves as their third highest-priced home game of
the season at an average price of $149.21, the season average for Auburn
football tickets is
currently $122.65, down 14.5% from last season's average of
$143.58. Despite a ticket decline on the secondary market for the
upcoming 2014 season, the Tigers still find themselves among the
top 25 most expensive college football programs.
SEC CAN THANK UCLA FOR BCS RUN
The SEC dominated the second half of the BCS era, winning seven championships and firmly establishing itself as the premier conference in college football. That has led to an expansion of its footprint, added riches from television contracts, and a nascent network to be launched this August.
But none of it happens without the biggest upset in BCS history, a game that took place on the West Coast on the final day of the 2006 regular season. The end of one dynasty beget another.
USC entered its annual rivalry game in 2006 ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings. The Trojans were poised to appear in an unprecedented third consecutive BCS title game and all they had to do was handling their downtrodden, 5-6 crosstown rival. And why not? USC had won seven straight in the series and mauled the Bruins the year before, 66-19.
A simple USC victory would've set up a BCS title game against Ohio State, leaving Florida (and the SEC) on the sideline. It would've been an eighth consecutive season without an undisputed national title for the conference. After Tennessee won the first championship of the BCS era in 1998, the SEC only appeared in one title game in the subsequent seven seasons, and that resulted in LSU's split title with USC in 2003.
There was little doubt that USC would go on to trounce the Buckeyes in the BCS title game as Florida eventually did. The Trojans would've won their third national title in four years and left little doubt as to who truly rules the BCS. They likely would've gone to another one or two BCS title games in the following two seasons.
But that dynasty inexplicably got derailed on that December afternoon at the Rose Bowl by the underdog Bruins. USC's high-powered offense was totally stifled and shut out in the second half. It was the only time in Pete Carroll's final eight seasons at USC that his team would be held under double digits.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SHOULD DUMP DIVISIONS
With all the bellyaching about the recent decisions by the SEC and ACC to keep eight-game conference schedules, a most important point was largely missed. The scheduling setup makes competition within those conferences unfair.
Whenever there's an imbalance in the strengths of the conference's divisions, the race for the championship will become lopsided. Essentially, you'll rarely get the two best teams to play in the conference championship games.
And on top of that there's also the issue of preserving the familiarity and cohesion within the conferences. When the SEC decided to adopt the 6+1 model, with seven of the eight conference games permanently set, it means that six teams within your own conference won't set foot on your campus for an entire decade. In the case of the ACC, teams will see Notre Dame
- technically not a member - more often than a few actual member schools.
There is an easy way to fix this, and it's already been put on the table: College football should dump divisions.
BIG TEN IS STILL THE KING OF CASH
The Big Ten pays Jim Delany nearly $2 million a year for his work as conference commissioner, and he's worth every penny.
Under Delany's stewardship since 1989, the Big Ten has been and continues to be the richest conference in college athletics. Even though it has not won a national championship in football since 2002, the Big Ten still rakes in more cash than any other conference, including the SEC.
According to tax returns made available to USA Today, the Big Ten brought in $318.6 million in revenue for fiscal 2013. Nearly $298 million of that was distributed to its 12 members, with each school receiving between $23-$26 million (except Nebraska, which won't receive full shares until 2017-18).
Contrast that with the SEC, which is the second-richest conference despite being far more accomplished on the football field. In fiscal 2013 the SEC made $314.5 million, with its 14 member schools each receiving around $21 million (and a bit less for newcomers Texas A&M and Missouri).
So how did Delany get his conference schools more money than anybody else? And how did he do so despite the Big Ten's 1-2 record in BCS championship games and a losing record (13-15) in BCS bowl games during the 16-year run of the BCS?
The simple answer is television. Delany figured out how to leverage the large viewership of his popular conference to maximize revenue.
CAN PAC-12 REVERSE FORTUNE IN CFP?
Pac-12's coaches are mad as hell and they're not gonna take it anymore!
At least David Shaw of Stanford is hopping mad, while his confederates are willing to march behind him to provide at least moral support.
"I've been saying this for three years now: I think if we're going to go into a playoff and feed into one playoff system, we all need to play by the same rules," Shaw said last Thursday during a Pac-12 coaches teleconference. "Play your conference. Don't back down from playing your own conference."
Shaw's fire was directed at the SEC, which voted last week to keep playing eight conference games while most of the other power conferences have decided to play nine in the upcoming College Football Playoff era. The Big Ten will move to a nine-game conference schedule in 2016 while the ACC is scheduled to hold a vote in mid-May.
"I don't think I was surprised (by the SEC's decision)," said Oregon State Coach Mike Riley. "But I don't think it's right. There's got to be some equity here."
If the Pac-12 seems particularly obsessed with the SEC, it's for a good reason. If the SEC is the greatest beneficiary of the BCS during its 16-year run, the Pac-12 may be rightly viewed as its biggest victim.
OTHER CONFERENCES SHOULD BOYCOTT SEC
The SEC wants to have its cake and eat it, too. The other conferences shouldn't lend it a fork.
The SEC's long-awaited resolution to its scheduling question is to not do a dadgum thing. It will continue to play eight conference games with just this one caveat
- each school is mandated to play another Big 5 conference team each season beginning in 2016.
But why should the other four of the Big 5 conferences accommodate this? What's in it for them?
By the 2016 season, the SEC will be the only one of the Big 5 conferences to play only eight conference games. The ACC also plays eight, but five conference members must play Notre Dame each year, so technically that makes it 8.35. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten will all be playing nine conference games by 2016.
Our previous extensive study of the 2014 out-of-conference (OOC) schedule already revealed that, across the board, the SEC plays the weakest non-conference games. Each of its 14 members plays one FCS team in its four OOC games and six of them don't play any OOC games on the road. Four SEC members have OOC schedules ranked in the bottom 10 among 124 non-independent FBS teams.
By keeping the the eight-game conference schedule, the SEC essentially tips the competitive scale in its favor for both the top and bottom teams. For teams vying to get into the four-team College Football Playoff field, they improve their chances by needing to win fewer games against top competition. For the cellar dwellers, they may qualify for a bowl berth with a mere 2-6 conference record.
THE SUPER BOWL OF POKER
Football's Namesake in the Card
When talking about America's sports industry, "Super Bowl" would
most likely mean the NFL's finals. Every time we mention Super Bowl in
front of football fans, stories of how Pittsburgh Steelers battled for
six Super Bowl victories would surface. Or perhaps, we would hear
about how the reigning champs Baltimore Ravens made a triumphant run
this season. For non-football fans, Superbowl XLVII may be most
Beyonce's iconic performance during the halftime show. But for
poker enthusiasts especially those who witnessed
Ungar's greatness in the 80s, "Super Bowl" meant the Superbowl of
the World Series of Poker enjoyed its iconic status today, one of its
competitors was the SBOP. You see, the SBOP was a brainchild of former
1972 WSOP Main Event Champion,
Amarillo Slim. Before the competition made its debut in a
competitive industry, poker fans only tuned to the WSOP events. For
the former champ, he saw this setting as an opportunity. "The World
Series of Poker was so successful that everybody wanted more than one
tournament," Slim said in a report by Poker News. See, he wanted to
take poker all over the world, be it in Germany, Hong Kong, or with
neighboring states. And so, a different Super Bowl was born. SBOP may
not be as large as today's
PartyPoker-sponsored World Poker Tour, but it was one poker
tournament that card gaming experts and amateurs alike turned to,
especially in a booming entertainment industry.
Much like football's Super Bowl, the event housed competent players
and some are even included in today's Poker Hall of Fame. The 1986
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event in particular, was among the most talked
events in SBOP history. See, the final three competitors of the event
are now Hall of Famers. There was Doyle Brunson, Billy Baxter, and
Johnny Chan. In a way, they paralleled the likes of football greats
Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, or Joe Montana. Unfortunately, while the Super
Bowl in football flourished, the event's namesake in poker was the
The lack of stability and a fixed venue prompted SBOP's operators
to discontinue the once glorious event. Luckily, after the fall of
SBOP, multiple poker tournaments arose. There's the West's staple
European Poker Tour which made rounds in poker hubs like Germany and
France. One can say that even with SBOP's fall, it was a blessing in
itself since it paved way to a new generation of poker players.