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Big XII’s Bowlsby Says 10 Is “The Right Number For Us”

gfx - they said itAs we enter the 2013 season, there’s no rumbling of potential expansion or conference realignment to take force our minds away from the football field.  No one has been able to say that for quite a while.

If Big XII commissioner Bob Bowlsby has his way, there’s won’t be any more rumors swirling around his conference in the weeks and months to come.  After stating that 10 schools is “the right number for us,” the savior of the Big XII says money-wise his league is A-OK:

 

“There hasn’t been anything that has been empirically able to demonstrate that larger is better.  Our distributable revenue per institution is right there at the top of the country.  I think time will tell whether our size is the optimal size or whether something bigger is optimal.  But we like our dog in the fight.”

 

For now, the Big XII is distributing about the same amount of cash as the other major conferences.  But as the Big Ten expands by two teams and pushes its Big Ten Network toward the East Coast and as the SEC launches its own network, who knows how long the Big XII will be able to continue to distribute funds at an even pace with the big boy leagues?

 


11 comments
Big Bob Marley
Big Bob Marley

BYU & Cincinnati would be my best guess if the Big 12 expands. At the end of the day though, I fully expect the Big 12 to die once the GOR is over or if an offer comes from Pac-12 & ACC that's too good to be true.

the_voice
the_voice

Texas drives the bus and everyone else is along for the ride. Whatever Texas feels is in their overall best interest is what the Big 12 will do. Texas has two goals (maxing the money of course but. above all, maxing the football championships). Texas must balance keeping the conference strong enough to provide it a credible scheduloe while making sure that the Longhorns have a dramatic built in advantage. No conference championship works for now. How will the selection committee see this in the future? If expansion is necessary the Big 12 will look for strong brands that aren't as strong as perceived so as to keep up appearances. (West Virginia was a perfect get for them.)

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

The question out there is what schools could the B12 add that bring enough TV eyeballs that would allow the B12 to keep up with the B10, PAC, SEC and possibly the ACC? There are none. UConn, Cincy, USF, UCF, Memphis, UH, BYU, UTEP, UNM, Boise St; Those are your major pickings right now and none of them move the TV money in the right direction. Right now the B12 is  up there with the other conferences regarding TV money, but there is not any revenue growth that is projected from conference TV networks that will allow it to compete with the PAC, B10 and SEC longterm. Of course with the marketplace and distribution constantly changing right now - the lack of TV network and contract might prove more beneficial in the long run. With the major name brands forming their own TV networks and/or on-line distribution channels, the B12 will get interesting. Already Texas has a huge financial advantage over the rest of the conference. Kansas just sign an agreement for 3rd tier rights for on-line and ESPN3. OU/OSU are supposedly working on a statewide network.

jansing87
jansing87

@Big Bob Marley   Why not some kind of merger with SEC? Big 12 has more history, geography, and connections with SEC than any other conference. 

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

@the_voice  

Texas also wants to maintain control.  Any addition that would weaken their authority will be nixed.  

I could see one day maybe USF getting an invite if their program continues to progress.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

As seen with The Longhorn Network, there will be increasing push to move inventory, especially good inventory (Ole Miss/TX anyone?) from the conference TV Agreement to the school owned distribution channels. Thus increasing the individual contracts of the more valuable brands in the conference and decreasing the value of conference TV contract. The schools without a large alumni base and TV markets will be left with scraps (ISU, KSU, Baylor, TCU and WVU). I could see a day when the RRR is shown on the schools TV networks in state, and ESPN3 nationally for people who subscribe to the channel or subscribe to one of the other conference networks owned by ESPN. Anyone else - tough. Could the B12 of the future be a collection of schools with scheduling agreements, but no conference TV deal? Free market television? Would it hold together? If so, how long?  Would it be attactive for schools that are worth more individually than their equal share of the conference pie, like Bama, UF, LSU, UT, Kentucky, UGA, UCLA, OhioSt, UNC, FSU, etc?

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

Which is why my partner and I are convince that if the B12 expands at least one more Texas school will be added to the mix. Texas wants to keep a Texas/OK voting bloc in order to drive policy matters inside the conference. If the B12 was forced to expand today, expect UH to be on the top of the list, second would be UTEP. At least UTEP would bring a new market and a possible tap into Northern Mexico (UTEP markets itself heavily across the boarder, nothing spells new markets like a whole country). Bring in BYU or UNM as a travel partner, and you have 12. UWV would still be out in right field, but what choice do you have in that direction? Cincy or Memphis. Cincy cannot fill their 35,000 seat stadium that is outdated. Memphis at least add FedEx as a corporate partner, the Liberty bowl, and a national basketball brand. Plus it would plant the B12 flag right in the heart of SEC country, in one of the major recruiting territories for the conference. What better way to try and drain some of the talent off of the SEC than tap one of their most fertile fields. If the B12 were going to take a swing on a program with potential, then Memphis would be at the top of the list. Which really makes me sick to my stomach thinking that Tiger High in a major conference. But still - are any of those schools worth 20 million a year? That answer is no. So the B12 will not be expanding anytime soon.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

@HoustonVol  

I think the biggest question is will the Big 12 schools re-up their grant of rights agreement as it comes time for the current one to expire?  There is a serious chance the B12 could become unstable again in a few years.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

BYU is worth $20 million. People watch BYU regardless, they have a large religous following. Boise is not worth that much. First - Boise is in Idaho. A state with a smaller population than Houston. Second - it does not have a large alumni base since it has only been an university for about 20 years, and CC before that. Do you think Boise would have the same success year in and year out in top tiered conference. Peterson is one of the best coaches in the game, but even he has limits. How many casual fans will tune into watch a 7-3 unranked Boise team play Iowa St, Baylor, etc? That is why Boise will not be in a major conference for a long time. They are the it mid-major right now. When they lose that status, they will just be another MWC team that people only watch when they are great, not just good.

HoustonVol
HoustonVol

There is a huge chance of the B12 becoming unstable. When the current GOR approach expiration, you know that Texas, Kansas and OU will make another power move. Those are the three most valuable brands in the B12. The rest is just filler. Those schools will want more inventory for their networks to drive value from the conference network to the school's distribution channels. I think these channels will grow and strengthen, not fall apart. People also forget the one item with Texas. I am convince the PAC deal did not fall apart over the Longhorn network, but over academics. Texas did not want to partner academically with all of the schools in the conference. It did not want to slum Arizona, Oregon and WSU schools. When they refused to partner, they no longer had the votes to join the conference. It is the same reason that TX is not part of the now forming B12 academic network.

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