September 19th, 2011 12:50 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Tags: ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Texas Tech
Everyone knows and admits that television dollars are driving the current college football expansion push. As we noted a couple of weeks ago, conference realignment isn’t evil, it’s evolution. And we seem to finally be arriving at the final stage of a move that began way back in 1984.
Below are the top 50 television markets in the US as ranked by Nielsen for 2010-11. Beside each city we’ve listed the conference or conferences that will attempt to claim that market.
For the sake of argument, we’ll assume that Texas A&M joins the SEC… Syracuse, Pittsburgh and UConn join the ACC… and Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State join the Pac-12:
|Market Rank 1-25||Market||League(s)||Market Rank 26-50||Market||League(s)|
|2||Los Angeles||Pac-12||27||Indianapolis||Big Ten|
|3||Chicago||Big Ten||28||San Diego||Pac-12|
|5||Dallas-Ft. Worth||Pac-12/SEC||30||Hartford-New Haven||ACC|
|6||San Francisco-Oakland||Pac-12||31||Kansas City||unclaimed|
|7||Boston||ACC||32||Salt Lake City||Pac-12|
|9||Washington, DC||ACC||34||Columbus||Big Ten|
|13||Seattle-Tacoma||Pac-12||38||West Palm Beach||ACC/SEC|
|14||Tampa-St. Petersburgh||ACC/SEC||39||Harrisburg-Lancaster||Big Ten/ACC|
|15||Minneapolis-St. Paul||Big Ten||40||Birmingham||SEC|
|16||Miami-Ft. Lauderdale||ACC/SEC||41||Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo||Big Ten|
Again, we’re making some assumptions here:
A&M, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and UConn have been assigned landing spots.
Missouri, for example, has not and that’s why Kansas City and St. Louis appear to be “unclaimed” on our list.
We’ve also given some “benefit of the doubt” to a few leagues. For example, Austin is clearly a Texas-first market, but A&M’s huge alumni base certainly has some tentacles in the state capital. So we’ll give the SEC a piece of the Austin market as we believe the SEC will certainly try to make that pitch to network executives.
Here’s how things break down with regard to whole TV markets owned versus TV markets split between conferences:
|Conference||Wholly-Owned Top 50 TV Markets||Partially-Owned Top 50 TV Markets|
We know that Market X could go this way or that way depending on your point of view, but we’re trying to provide a big picture look here. So shift a market one way or the other if you like. The bottom line is this: When it comes to television markets, the SEC is an underdog. Only four Top 50 markets appear to be SEC-only and a couple of those — Memphis, Louisville — aren’t strongly SEC.
Make no mistake, if the SEC can convince Missouri to come onboard, it would be a very smart business decision. West Virginia would at least allow the SEC to stake a partial claim into the Pittsburgh market as well.
But if the future will be driven by television revenue, the SEC needs to expand outward. It needed to raid the ACC and expand into Virginia or North Carolina. It didn’t. (At least it hasn’t yet.) So now the SEC is forced to play catch-up with those schools left behind by others.
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