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  1. #11
    Junior JimmyTwoTimes37's Avatar
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    More Proof That There is Work Behind the Scenes

    I spoke to several sources with close contacts to the SEC and its partners. They have indicated that meetings have taken place between Texas A&M representation, SEC representation, and even a TV sports network's representation to go over the policy details and contractual details of the SEC Conference. Basically, Texas A&M has asked for legal clarification on a number of topics and issues, and the team is collecting operational data and other information pertinent in supporting such a due diligence activity. It’s not to a point where A&M is negotiating terms, but simply collecting information and understanding the details of the SEC Conference and how it operates among the member institutions. In short, A&M doesn’t want to get caught with its pants down again and will have all the necessary information and analysis to make a quick decision if needed.




    This activity in no way signals that a move is a done deal, but there is a feeling that this option is becoming an increasing possibility as these issues with ESPN and the LHN pose an unfair advantage for the Longhorns that will compromise the future viability and competitiveness of the Big 12.








    So What Will Happen?




    I’m not sure what will happen. Despite what A&M fans think, the entity that now drives this situation is actually ESPN. They have the money invested. They are the ones absorbing the business risk with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. It’s not Texas. Texas is sitting pretty with a guaranteed $15 million a year coming their way for the next 20 years. Don’t get me wrong, Texas has a lot at stake in this game, but the Longhorns have surprisingly little leverage in what happens next. The ball is in ESPN’s court. With Dan Beebe desperately trying to keep the league together and announcing a moratorium on high school games and a conference game on the LHN, he just severely handicapped ESPN’s ability to sell this network to the satellites and cable systems across the region and nation. Think about it. If ESPN was happy with the distribution and early sales of the LHN, we wouldn’t be here talking about the problem of high school games and conference games. If ESPN could’ve met their distribution and subscription goals under the original agreement of showing one live non-conference games and a lot of volleyball, soccer, and swimming, everybody would be happy right now.




    But seven months ago when Texas and ESPN were shaking hands and announcing this ground breaking new deal, nobody thought the network would fail miserably. Well, it’s too early to say it’s failed, but given the actions of ESPN willing to throw big money at Fox Sports to buy a tier two football game and discussing the possibility of broadcasting Big 12 Conference championship events and conference road games, it tells you the boys in Bristol are a little nervous about their investment. If you look back at the concept, ESPN was banking on getting a national audience for lower tier live events, practices, non-revenue sports, and a daily news show dedicated to one team. Who in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles is going to watch that programming. Better yet, who in the nation (even in Texas) will pay $10/month to watch 24/7 non-stop Texas sports? Well, I’d say about the 15,000-20,000 hardcore Texas sports fans that subscribe to Internet services. The casual Texas fan, much less the casual national college football fan, will not be interested in this premium service.




    And that ultimately is the problem for ESPN and Texas. It’s a problem for ESPN because they have the money at risk and stand to lose a lot of it. For Texas, they have to worry about what ESPN will do now that they are sitting on a network with limited programming that is being held back by the Big 12 and the rest of college football that’s not quite ready to accept this business model. Will ESPN push to broaden programming by making this the Big 12 Network, forcing Texas to compromise and give up money? That doesn’t seem likely. Will ESPN broker some compromise with the Big 12 and its members by throwing a few dollars at schools in exchange for greater access to these tier three rights and even with some tier two rights with more purchases from Fox Sports.




    I don’t know. I’m not smart enough to know the different options at ESPN’s disposal. But I do know that they will have to get creative with all parties involved – Texas, Fox Sports, Big 12, Big 12 member institutions to broker some type of deal to sweeten the broadcasting pot that will entice Dish, DirecTV, and the cable systems around the country. It will be difficult, and even then the cost of doing these compromise deals will offset the gain. But even if ESPN can get a deal brokered with the Big 12, how will Texas react to such a proposal. This would put them back to square one and once again an equal to the other conference members. You would have to believe that’s not a scenario that Texas will accept, but then what is the solution where the Big 12 Conference, Texas, ESPN, and Texas A&M will be happy with…I simply don’t see one. That’s why I think it’s inevitable that Texas A&M moves to the SEC and Texas either brings in a replacement (like TCU) or simply says it’s time to go independent. ESPN would be happy with that option. It gives them more power and flexibility in generating revenue for the LHN and they can offset any losses by broadcasting some premiere Longhorn games on the big channel.

    But that’s the ultimate in uncertainty, and that’s a word Texas A&M officials used quite a bit yesterday. That last paragraph was confusing because this situation has no clear resolution at the moment, primarily because we don’t know how ESPN will react and we don’t know how the other players will react to ESPN’s strategy moving forward.




    But that’s the beauty of what came out of yesterday’s BOR meeting. Texas A&M controls its own destiny as long as the SEC offer is valid (and we’re told by SEC sources that Texas A&M is of the highest priority to the SEC in terms of expansion and that an offer will always be on the table). It’s quite simple now. After all the horse trading and compromises by all parties involved, Texas A&M will look at the landscape and if Texas still has an unfair advantage, the university goes to the SEC in June 2013. If Texas backs down and the Longhorn Network morphs into a Big 12 Network, then A&M got what it wanted….competing in a conference with a level playing field. At the moment, that conference appears to be the SEC, but Texas A&M has the luxury of sitting back and watching the other players in this poker game sweat. Trust me, with the current sales of the LHN and a nervous ESPN staring at a red balance sheet, Texas is sweating.


    -- David Sandhop, TAMU (Scout)

    http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/d...=27285172&pg=3
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  2. #12
    Sophomore jdm2000's Avatar
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    Fascinating.
    "But I take delight in the juice of the barley/ And courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early"

  3. #13
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdm2000 View Post
    Fascinating.
    Seriously.

    JTT37, very well done. Thanks for all that.
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  4. #14
    Voice of Reason Masterofreality's Avatar
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    Good. Freaking ESPN needs to be brought down a peg or two.
    "I Got CHAMPIONS in that Lockerroom!" -Stanley Burrell

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masterofreality View Post
    Good. Freaking ESPN needs to be brought down a peg or two.
    At what point can they no longer hide behind journalistic integrity? Then again does anyone really care. Anyone that has a basic understanding of the media can put the pieces together and see the bias. But at what point is it just unethical to change your reporting to further the companies private economic interest while still trying to hold out your reporters as legitimate source of sporting news. Or does the fact that sports are entertainment just excuse all journalistic integrity.
    "If our season was based on A-10 awards, there’d be a lot of empty space up in the rafters of the Cintas Center." - Chris Mack

  6. #16
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    Interesting because doesn't ESPN also partner/own the SEC Network ?

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by STL_XUfan View Post
    At what point can they no longer hide behind journalistic integrity? Then again does anyone really care. Anyone that has a basic understanding of the media can put the pieces together and see the bias. But at what point is it just unethical to change your reporting to further the companies private economic interest while still trying to hold out your reporters as legitimate source of sporting news. Or does the fact that sports are entertainment just excuse all journalistic integrity.
    If you owned Disney stock wouldn't you expect ESPN to do everything in its power to protect its investment in LHN?

    I think you can ask this question about a lot of media companies. ESPN is owned by Disney and ultimately reports to Disney's shareholders who expect the business to be run in such a way that they increase the value of the stock.

    Fox News (News Corp) and MSNBC (GE) are both blatantly biased in their news coverage because they have found that it's good business. Both of those networks are killing CNN in ratings.

  8. #18
    Junior JimmyTwoTimes37's Avatar
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    More rumors:

    Pac 12 looking at Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State

    SEC looking at Texas AM and Missouri

    Big East looking at Kansas and Kansas State

    http://www.californiagoldenblogs.com...cowboys-big-12

    " Apparently, Oklahoma was told by several SEC sources that a future deal including Oklahoma State was highly unlikely...that they would need to split if they wanted to be seriously considered for inclusion. That explains recent rumors that OU has been inquiring about the PAC-12’s interest level in expanding the conference with both Oklahoma schools. If that doesn’t pan out, then the Sooners may come back to the SEC and consider working the politics of splitting with OSU.

    ...

    Texas Tech is also putting out feelers with the PAC-12 and Kansas has been in contact with the Big East for quite some time and there’s talk that Kansas State could also be in the discussions. And of course, that would leave Texas free to pursue independence and cement its partnership with ESPN with a more comprehensive TV contract."
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyTwoTimes37 View Post
    More rumors:



    SEC looking at Texas AM and Missouri


    Don't let the Mizzou administration or Governor find out. They will figure out a way to screw it all up.
    "If our season was based on A-10 awards, there’d be a lot of empty space up in the rafters of the Cintas Center." - Chris Mack

  10. #20
    Junior JimmyTwoTimes37's Avatar
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    David Sandhop
    Aggie Websider Publisher
    July 30, 2011

    Rumors continue to surface about Texas A&M and other Big 12 schools looking at other conference options as ESPN and Texas move forward with plans to broadcast high school games on the Longhorn Network. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop gives you the latest including details that this issue could come to a head quickly.

    The realignment rumors at Texas A&M just won’t die. After resting in dormancy for over a year, the “Texas A&M to the SEC” rumors were resurrected once again earlier this month when ESPN purchased a Big 12 tier two game from Fox Sports for its fledgling and flailing Longhorn Network (LHN) and decided to expand its programming by broadcasting high school games that feature Longhorn signees, commits, and targets.

    Texas A&M and other conference members took exception and took to the air waves to voice concern over the recent moves by ESPN to expand programming at the Austin-based network. Even Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who has become adept at putting Humpty-Dumpty (Big 12) back together again and again, stepped up and put a moratorium on the network to prevent ESPN from moving forward with plans to show high school games and a TBA conference game. He hoped the edict would stop ESPN in its tracks and placate agitated conference members Texas A&M and Oklahoma that felt the LHN was expanding into programming areas that violated the spirit of the conference agreement cobbled together hastily last year in the face of realignment rumors that threatened to destroy the conference.

    Since that pronouncement by Beebe, the big issue really focuses on the response of ESPN which is the entity absorbing the financial and business risk for the LHN. After all, how can the Big 12 or any conference dictate to ESPN the games they can or can’t televise that were purchased and the rights secured? Well, based on recent moves by the sports leader, ESPN doesn’t believe the Big 12 can interfere in their programming choices and the ability to make a profit. After the Beebe announcement, ESPN and the LHN finalized contracts with Brenham High School and Lamar Consolidated to become the first high school football broadcast on the network. The Longhorns currently have two verbal commitments from that Brenham team, linebacker Tim Cole and highly-regarded defensive lineman Malcolme Brown.

    Pearland Dawson officials indicated last week that the LHN has contacted the school inquiring about the possibility of airing one of their games this fall. The school is home to highly-rated offensive lineman Kennedy Estelle who happens to also be a Texas verbal commitment. There have been others similar reports of ESPN contacting high schools across the state about broadcasting games – this coming after the Beebe proclamation and the public statements of concern from Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne and other Big 12 member schools.

    Now, the NCAA is looking into the issue of broadcasting high school games on proprietary conference-specific and university-specific networks. This is an area without precedent, so the NCAA plans to collect information over the next three weeks and hopefully will provide a clear ruling at a scheduled August 22 meeting just prior to the season.

    But given information we’re hearing from several Big 12 institutions that may be too late to save the Big 12. The fate of the conference (barely one month old) could hang in the balance at a critical Big 12 athletic directors meeting that is currently scheduled for Monday. The issue continues to be Texas and its broadcast partner ESPN.

    Whether the NCAA decides to eliminate high school broadcasts on team-specific networks is really moot at this point. ESPN basically showed its poker hand to the Big 12 through its actions last week. They will not respect the authority of the Big 12 Commissioner. They will not respect the concerns of Big 12 Conference members. Thus, member institutions now realize what some of us have been saying for weeks. It is counter-intuitive to the health and goodwill of an athletic conference to have one member exclusively partnered with a for-profit multi-billion dollar sports broadcaster with a financial stake in that partner’s overall success.

    To be clear here, I don’t fault ESPN in this situation. Why should the sports conglomerate care what Dan Beebe or the Big 12 thinks when it comes to their investment in the LHN. As with any private business, ESPN is here to invest in business ventures and use its expertise in making a healthy profit from those ventures. A business’ first priority is to meet the financial goals of its management and stakeholders.

    But therein lies the problem for Big 12 member institutions. When you have one member in bed with a multi-billion dollar partner that happens to have a tremendous influence over not only the finances of the sport in the form of TV revenues in the billions, but also in the narrative of that sport by determining which universities get national exposure every week, it’s an imperfect situation for member schools. And if you are universities like Texas A&M and Oklahoma that command value in the college sports marketplace, you have options. In fact, you have very attractive options in other conferences that provide a fair and equitable conference affiliation without having to worry about what ESPN will do next.

    And that’s the issue that particularly Texas A&M has with the current Big 12 mess. Even if the high school game controversy gets resolved next month, there will be another problem that is created through ESPN’s efforts to make the LHN profitable. Why? Because for the LHN to be profitable, the network must appeal to a wider audience, not just the 50,000 hardcore Longhorn fans that will snuggle up to the TV with a bag of popcorn to enjoy the day’s volleyball practice or an inside feature on the daily routine of the football equipment manager. ESPN has realized that the network must appeal to those outside the hardcore Longhorn base. That’s why the network has taken steps to broaden programming to show high school games. Also, network officials have discussed broadcasting Big 12 Championship events and even road games in various sports to sweeten the broadcasting pot.

    But broadening the customer base and building a national brand is in direct conflict to a conference affiliation and the other members of the conference. While Texas A&M, OU, OSU, Baylor, ISU, KSU, Missouri, Texas Tech, and Kansas are working toward building the brand of the Big 12, Texas and ESPN are off building the Longhorn brand. So there will always be some problematic issue or concern that divides the two parties.

    And that’s why rumors are surfacing that Texas A&M along with OU, OSU, Missouri, Kansas and others are working behind the scenes to evaluate conference options and future moves. Based on what we’re hearing, Texas A&M and others could be ready to play their hand if the athletic directors meeting doesn’t provide the right answers.


    (Continued)
    Last edited by JimmyTwoTimes37; 08-01-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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