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Big 12 Spin On TV Is Worth A Laugh

Yesterday, we linked you to a story from The Oklahoman in which interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas pooh-poohed his league’s need for the type of national broadcasting partner the SEC (with CBS) and Notre Dame (with NBC) enjoy.

His take:


“Let me remind you that college football is still a regional sport.  Unless you have a big SEC game, it’s not going to rate that well.  They have games on the SEC package that aren’t going to knock your socks off.”

Columnist Berry Tramel then points out that “the overall rating for the SEC on CBS was 4.2 in 2011, 4.2 in 2010 and 4.4 in 2009.  That’s a little better than the Big 12 on ABC, but nothing significant.”

Neinas’ take is spin, Tramel’s is a bit off the mark.  Let’s start with Neinas.

While there may be some SEC games on CBS that don’t “knock your socks off,” those games are still on CBS.  That’s national television, not regional television… which is what most Big 12 games get via that league’s pacts with ABC/ESPN and Fox.

Those SEC games are shown nationally.  They’re promoted nationally all week.  Hell, they’re even listed in daily newspaper “What’s On TV Today” sections nationally.  (Though 50% of our readers just said, “What’s a newspaper?”)

National beats regional whether it’s a big game or a dud.  Any suggestion otherwise is pure spin.  The idea that the Big 12 would prefer to remain a regional league with only the occasional game kicked to a national level is laughable.

Which brings us to Tramel.  He compares the SEC’s ratings on CBS to the Big 12′s ratings when they’re on ABC.  But a year’s worth of national coverage on CBS tops a year’s worth of regional coverage on ABC with a few national games tossed in.

According to Nielsen’s 2011 ratings, the average viewership for each league’s football games — across all carriers — stood at 4.44 million viewers for the SEC and 2.34 million viewers for the Big 12.  You don’t have to be Pythagoras to realize that on average an SEC football game — whether it knocks anyone’s socks off or not — almost doubles up the viewership for a Big 12 game.

If the Big 12 could swap its television deals with the SEC’s soon-to-be re-negotiated deals, it would do so in an Austin minute (which is where all important Big 12 decisions are made).

 


23 comments
Binding Legal Contract
Binding Legal Contract

Stick to pontificating.  The SEC's contract for Tier1 and Tier2 rights expires in 2025.  They will negotiate for more money with the addition of subpar teams from two new markets, but if they don't like ESPN's terms, then they can bide their time until 2025 and see what the market will offer. 

buddha22
buddha22

What is really amazing is that they have their fans believing their bunk! Indeed, here in KC jawsquaks and K-Staters are trumpeting how the league has never been stronger and is good for the next 13 years! (tied to a "supposed" rights deal being negotiated) Either that or they are whistling past the graveyard...

TigerinMO
TigerinMO

With Mizzou and Texas A&M joining the SEC, the SEC now has four AAU universities (plus Georgia, which clearly belongs in that group). The Big 12, which had seven a year ago, now has three. What a comedown academically! The SEC is better in sports, better in academics and better in TV ratings. What's left?

Whatever98
Whatever98

The Big 12 spin will be shut down when the SEC gets a re-do on their contract and it becomes obvious what kind of ocean separates the two conferences.

 

The stuff coming out of Austin the past 8 months has been laughable at best.

Guest
Guest

With A&M/Mizzu leaving the XII and entering the SEC the contrast in viewing numbers are only going to widen.

 

SEC viewing will only increase w/ the addition of MO/TX and the XII will reduce ( WVU/Mizzu might be a wash, but regarding A&M/TCU, viewership is drastically higher in A&M (SEC) favor)

aggressor
aggressor

The Big 12 is all smoke and mirrors now.  Losing A&M, Nebraska, Colorado, and Mizzou and replacing them with WVU and TCU is going to marginalize them into something below the ACC.  At the same time the SEC has gotten far stronger and has more power and leverage than ever before.  The 2 biggest weaknesses of the SEC are now shored up substantially (footprint and academics) and with the other obvious strengths of the league they are going to blow by all other competition.

MoKelly
MoKelly

Good article with nice facts. If you are the Big 12 --- you have no choice but try to spin the league's profile. What else can you do with what you have created? That league has lost 1/3rd of its members over a couple of years. That doesn't happen to a healthy league. Period.

MoKelly
MoKelly

"with the addition of subpar teams from two new markets" - I am assuming you are a golfer and subpar is a good thing. Or, are you just a mean spirited person to begin with?

MoKelly
MoKelly

What else are poor ole Kansas folks supposed to say? ---

denial is a river in Egypt.

medloh
medloh

 @TigerinMO

 Coal Mining, Sunflowers, Wallflowers, Reverse Life Insurance Policies and Bibles.

aggressor
aggressor

Mizzou is far more valuable than WVU.  Mizzou is an AAU school that is the only real college in their state of over 6 million including 2 significant TV markets.  WVU is a horrific academic school (worse than any not only in the SEC but also the ACC, Big 1G, and Pac 12) in a state of only 1.8 million with no significant TV markets.  Missouri is also a much wealthier state with better demographics than West Virginia.

Binding Legal Contract
Binding Legal Contract

 @MoKelly

 It is a good thing.  The conference was strong enough.  They added two average teams from the Big 12.  The SEC diluted their football strength, the Big 12 increased theirs.  Why did USC get $6-8 million for the TV contracts when it was winning MNCs.  Why does it get $21 million when it is on probation?  Easy.  The PAC12's long-term contract expired and they signed a new one.  Check back in 2025. 

DecadePlan
DecadePlan

 @medloh If it helps, A&M probably brings the largest collection of Bibles too.  Especially non-King James versions.

Guest
Guest

 @aggressor You're correct, I knew about the drastic academic differences, but wasn't sure about population differences (thought it makes sense with St Louis, KC, and Springfield).  

 

SEC gains much, loses nothing.

XII loses much (two founding AAU schools, one being the 'big dog in the 18th most populous state (mizzu) 

XII gains very little in TCU and WVU 

 

aggressor
aggressor

 @medloh Binding,

 

Slive has stated that there is already a clause that automatically guarantees equal payouts is the SEC added teams so the equal share for A&M and Mizzou is already in place (effectively $40 mill a year for the next 12 years).  The "look in" has to do with examining the entire contract.  There is some question as to how much they could shift the deal based on the "look in" but without question the SEC is a more valuable product today than it was when the deal was signed.

 

The bigger negotiating point though and what will really make all the difference is the SEC Network.  The SEC Network terrifies ESPN because if the SEC establishes it without ESPN and it is successful they could simply not renew any deal with ESPN on 2nd Tier rights and keep them.  If that happens ESPN would be shut out of broadcasting the best league for college football with the best quantity of quality games.  It would be enough to displace ESPN as the dominant force in college football broadcasting.  They simply can't allow it to occur without them and they will be wiling to pay a heavy toll to protect themselves.  That may mean partial ownership or it may mean some very expensive options but it definitely means ESPN will be willing to do what they have to in order to save their relationship with the SEC.  That doesn't even consider other Networks bidding to get a piece of the action.

BindingLegalContract
BindingLegalContract

 @medloh Slive is a lawyer.  He understands that invoking the look-in rights does not void the other provisions in the agreement.  The SEC and ESPN will negotiate the value of the additional two teams and television markets.  That will probably add a billion to the existing contacts, but not $3 billion.  If the SEC doesn't like their current contract, the can negotiate a new one in 2025 when the current contract terminates.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  

aggressor
aggressor

 @MoKelly Mo,

 

Sorry about that, it was a user fail on my part.  I meant to respond to Binding.

medloh
medloh

So Slive is just a dopey old man who had a soft place in his heart for the Aggies and Mizzou?  Haha.

Don't take it too hard when the SEC announces their new T1/T2 contract, and then a little later when Slive packages the T3 stuff in a new ESPN network channel.  You'll see the difference between adding a Mountain West team with a Big East  team to the Big12, and adding A&M and Mizzou to the SEC.  36 million versus 90 million in state population footprint.  SEC games had double the Nielson ratings last year as the B12.  Enjoy those trips to Morgantown, I hear its a very nice drive from the Pittsburg Airport.

MoKelly
MoKelly

 @aggressor Not sure why you are saying all this to me --- I have said exactly what you are saying. Better check the record.

aggressor
aggressor

 @MoKelly Do you know anything about how Conference Re-alignment works or TV contracts?  Where to begin.

 

A&M is a powerhouse in waiting.  The performance on the field has been lacking the last decade but it is a rich school in a richer state with a monster alumni base (along with being the largest school in the SEC) and will have a 100k plus stadium within 5 years.  It cannot stay down long.  Adding A&M also grew the SEC footprint by 40% in one swoop.  I won't even touch the academics.

 

Mizzou is a strong and balanced program that has performed well over the last 5 years and has the resources to continue to compete.  They also added 6 million people to the SEC footprint and are an AAU school.

 

TCU and WVU both have small stadiums and smaller fan bases.  TCU can't even sell out it's tiny 43k stadium and has a very fickle following with a small alumni base.  WVU is in a small and poor state with no major media market and it is the worst academic school of the SEC, Big 1G, ACC, Pac 12, and Big 12 combined.  Both schools have done well while playing in far lesser conferences but are going to be playing schools now that have double, triple, or more resources.  They will be very lucky to continue to have a fraction of their former success long term.

 

Who won more games the last couple years means very, very little when it comes to conference re-alignment or TV money.  For instance, any conference would bend over upside down to add Notre Dame and they haven't been good for a very long time.  In the ACC the most valuable school BY FAR is North Carolina and they also have almost nothing to show for it on the football field recently.

MoKelly
MoKelly

 @TigerinMO Agreed. TCU was headed to the great and powerful Big Easy football conference when the Big 12 pleaded for them to defect. The Big 12 would take any school from Texas and SMU may be next.

MoKelly
MoKelly

Check back in 2025??? If the SEC doesn't get a new deal well before then I will be amazed. That is why there are lawyers - to allow conference realignment and renegotiate contracts. If something doesn't happen before 2025 there is serious mismanagement in the SEC administration.

TigerinMO
TigerinMO

This is a dumb comment. Mizzou is among college football's winningest teams the last five years and has TV markets far superior to those of West Virginia. TCU adds NOTHING to the Big 12 TV footprint

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