SEC Media Days.
ESPN and the league office have conspired to make it an actual event on America's sporting calendar. It's Super Bowl Media Day spread over -- now -- four days. The SEC and ESPN have even been known to compare the number of press credentials handed out for those two events. Guess which draws more.
Now, there's nothing wrong with making SEC Media Days a marketing tool. The old quote attributed to Muhammad Ali -- "I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest" -- applies to this week of SEC self-promotion. It's a four-day commercial for Southeastern Conference football aired hour after hour on ESPN. And, oh yeah, those two happen to be starting up their own SEC Network next month in case you haven't heard.
Coaches can give press conferences on their own campuses. With internet connection, they could field questions from anyone in the world and provide answers in real time. So the idea that this week is about gathering information is just plain silly. We'll all enjoy a few good one-liners, but the marketing overshadows the exchange of info.
And, boy, does it ever work. Quick. Do you know when and where the other Power Five conferences will hold their press events? The ACC goes for just two days this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina. Yawn.
The Big 12's media extravaganza is next week in Dallas. Again, two days. And the Pac-12 (next week) and Big Ten (in two weeks) go for just two days as well. At least those two are being held in Hollywood and Chicago, respectively.
Now, is there less interest in those events because the SEC is that much better? Or because those leagues haven't learned how to promote, push and sell themselves to the national public with the aid of a big, bad media partner like ESPN?
Give Mike Slive and the SEC's presidents credit. They know how to get eyeballs on their league and on their schools. Every power conference has a media days event. Only one has an event that lasts for four days, gets hours of national television coverage, and even draws fans to the thing.
The information could be gleaned in other ways, but the marketing done at SEC Media Days is invaluable.