The only reason I started watching Texas A & M football is Johnny Manziel (started mid season last year). I have of course along the way gotten to know other players and become a fan of the whole team... but Johnny drew me in to Aggie football. Downplaying Manziel is not a good strategy until he has actually declared that he is leaving for the NFL. I am still not sure that is the case for Johnny...he loves being with the team and you are only in college for a short time...the NFL will be there in the future. If the University continues to push him out he just might decide to go sooner than later.
Last December, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel capped off his riches-to-more-riches meteoric rise by winning the Heisman Trophy. But according to the school, having its QB win the award didn’t result in much of a cash windfall at all. In fact, A&M claims it made only about $20,000 off Manziel’s victory.
Bull. Sorry, we’re not buying that one.
The school says its tickets for the 2013 season were already sold out and its radio, TV and sponsorship deals were pretty much locked in, too. Bloomberg.com reports that the school claims booster donations were tied to those seat purchases, not to Manziel winning the Heisman. And that $20,000 includes a portion of the team’s $60,000 in royalties from jersey sales, too.
Additionally, the folks in College Station downplay the value of the media exposure provided by Johnny Football’s win. AD Eric Hyman says the school’s conference swap was worth more than last December’s Heisman:
“People draw the conclusion that we make millions from Johnny winning the Heisman. I’d say we’ve gotten more financial benefit from joining what’s widely perceived as the best football conference in the country and having a winning program.”
Well, no kidding. But that’s like saying Peyton Manning’s new Papa John’s business dealings really aren’t worth much compared to his football money. Yes, football has paid him millions upon millions, but there’s value in his Papa John’s venture as well. It’s not nothing.
Hyman goes so far as to tell Bloomberg.com that the Heisman probably didn’t convince anyone to go to A&M. More impactful was Kevin Sumlin’s up-tempo offense, the Aggies’ success on the field, and the opportunity to play in the SEC.
There have been rumors and reports of bad blood existing between Family Manziel and Texas A&M. Hyman’s decision to downplay the value of Manziel’s Heisman win from every conceivable angle is so out of the ordinary as to draw attention back to the perceived rift between Manziel’s parents and the school.
And Hyman isn’t the only member of the Aggie brass saying that Manziel’s trophy was pretty much worthless. A&M chief financial officer, Jeff Toole, had this to say about ticket sales: “If we had an 11-2 season, won the Cotton Bowl and he finished third, we’d be doing just as well because we already sold everything.”
The man behind TAMU’s campaign to raise funds for Kyle Field’s renovation, Mark Klemm, says Manziel’s trophy didn’t help that cash drive one bit: “You can’t remotely say that. The planning for the stadium started before we joined the SEC and before Johnny Manziel became our starting quarterback. It was just an amazing coincidence of timing.”
OK, OK. We get it. Manziel’s Heisman has been worth bupkes to the school. Just a big ol’ nuthin’ that didn’t help recruiting, didn’t provide added exposure for the school, didn’t increase fan interest, and only brought in 20-thousand bucks. Got it.
Knowing that, it seems some A&M boosters should be pretty ticked right now. See, if there was so little value to Manziel’s Heisman win, the school shouldn’t have spent up to $500,000 on Manziel’s pre- and post-Heisman campaign. The school shouldn’t have wasted money on a Times Square billboard. The school shouldn’t have blown cash by placing more than 400 other billboards referencing Manziel’s win all across the country. The school shouldn’t have bought congratulatory ads on ESPN.com, SI.com and USAToday.com.
Jason Cook, who headed up the campaigns as A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications, even had this to say last December to The Dallas Morning News:
“It’s always been said that athletics is the front porch of a university. Where universities have failed in the past is getting people off the front porch to walk through the front door and see everything that is about what these universities have to offer…
We think (Manziel’s Heisman win) gives us an incredible opportunity to broaden the discussion about Texas A&M.”
It seems Aggie brass has done a pretty big flip-flop on the value of their star player’s Heisman Trophy. For comparison, Baylor claims it made an estimated $250 million in donations, licensing fees and sponsorships following Robert Griffin III’s Heisman victory in 2011.
Baylor isn’t Texas A&M, of course. But if A&M only made $20,000 off of Manziel’s Heisman while Baylor made $250 million off of Griffin III’s someone in College Station needs to be fired.
That’s if the Aggies are telling the truth. And it seems obvious that they’re not. Makes you wonder why, doesn’t it? It couldn’t be that the school is reacting to claims from the QB’s father, Paul Manziel, that the school used the trophy for marketing and recruiting purposes before delivering it to his family? It couldn’t be because the elder Manziel said everyone around his son is “so selfish,” could it?
And what about those increased licensing fees at Baylor? Are we to believe A&M hasn’t cashed in on that front? The school mentioned a portion of the $60,ooo made from “jersey sales,” but it appears the school is selling a lot more than just jerseys. You can see a whole lot of Heisman imagery at the school’s official online store.
Texas A&M’s claim that the school made only $20,000 from Manziel’s Heisman is pure spin. The reason for the spin is most likely the school’s desire to avoid looking like it’s cashing in on a player whose family has already grown weary of others doing precisely that when it comes to their son.
Just $20,000? Please.