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  1. #1
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    The Next FOX Media Agreement

    We may very well be headed for higher per school payouts soon. I've been wondering how the BE is performing in the eyes of FOX under the existing agreement. You can imagine the valuation on the media package with UCONN factored into it. At any rate, while cruising the UCONN Boneyard board, I found the following post:

    I was an insider here many, many years ago. I haven't posted here in over half a decade, but decided to check in on Friday, when I got word UConn was going to get an invite. And honestly, a lot of the responses/reactions are surprising. So I wanted to offer some feedback and maybe a ray of hope for those that feel this is the wrong move.

    Just as an fyi, my clients are people at ABC/ESPN, Fox, CBS, inside the Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Big Ten (but not the Pac-12 or NBE). So while I'm not privy to every detail, I know & understand a lot of the mechanations of realignment.

    First, for those believing UConn shouldn't have given up the P5 dream..that dream was never going to come to fruition. Unfortunately, P5 realignment is all about dollars. And dollars are delivered by eye balls. Simply put, UConn doesn't deliver the eye balls necessary to justify the paycheck they'd receive from a conference like the ACC or Big 12. The Big 12 vetted UConn heavily a number of years ago. What they learned was UConn's value to their TV partners (ABC/ESPN/Fox) was well less than the paycheck they would have to pay UConn as an equal member. This is why the Big 12 came out and announced they were vetting schools, then opted to not expand. Point blank, their partner networks came back and said the per team payout would drop if they added UConn, UCF, USF, BYU, Houston, Cincy, or Memphis (the 7 schools they vetted). Networks run all kinds of numbers when it comes to TV...regional viewership, national viewership, cross-promotional viewership (i.e. fans of other teams that watch your games b/c they either hate you or your Ws/Ls impact their team), etc. UConn's numbers are way too low, with very little prospect of ever getting them up. It's just a small fan base where it counts (football). And in case anyone's thinking the obvious, yes, I would imagine the ACC regrets some of their expansion decisions. The ACC makes less money today on a per member basis than it'd have made had they not expanded with BC, Syracuse and Pitt. Those were really poor additions and the TV numbers in their regions and within their fan bases has been abysmal.

    Second, the NBE has outperformed their TV contract handily. And not only have their TV #s been way better than forecast, they've won 2 National Championships in the last 4 years. So the conference's contract is way under-valued. The problem is, they signed a long-term contract that doesn't expire until spring 2026. The only way their contract can be opened back up for revaluation by Fox, is if there is a change in their membership. Adding UConn allows the Big East to bring their contract up to market value based on the Big East's performance on TV the past 5-6 years + UConn's value. So that contract is going to seriously, seriously jump in value. And, UConn is going to provide a significantly greater boon to the NBE's TV payout than they ever would have in the ACC or Big 12, simply b/c if you look at the historical ratings for basketball, the highest annual TV rating (b-ball) for most programs in the OBE was against UConn. The NBE adding UConn for basketball would be a poor man's version of the Big Ten adding Notre Dame for football. There's so much history & bad blood there, the ratings will be outstanding. So if you're looking at the current AAC payout and comparing it to the current NBE payout, and thinking "this sucks, what the **** are they thinking?!?!.....when the dust settles, UConn will make MORE money in the NBE (+ whatever they do for football) than they were making in the AAC.

    From a financial perspective, this is going to be a huge win for UConn. The big question is how this affects ticket sales for football. But looking at recent attendance data, I assume UConn's leadership felt a move of the football program out of the AAC couldn't hurt that revenue stream enough to off set the huge jump they'll get from the NBE side.

    Lastly, I get that when you're emotionally invested and grew up a die hard fan, the NBE feels like kissing your sister. But outside the region, the NBE is very, very well respected. It's not a little brother conference in the eyes of college sports fans. I'm in TX and can tell you the NBE is respected right alongside the ACC. Adding UConn is only going to bolster that. And from a perception & recruiting standpoint, it will be a HUGE benefit for UConn. Obviously, coaching is key #1, but it just became a lot easier for Hurley to sell the program to recruits. There was no chance for UConn to flourish in any sport in the AAC. Sure, they could win some games in football and basketball, the same as UCF, etc. But UCF is still pulling in peon recruits on the level of the worst P5 programs, even with two straight years of elite production. So all UConn could ever hope for is to be a big fish in a small pond, who's TV viewership numbers are too small to ever get a P5 call up. At least in the NBE, UConn basketball can get back to being one of the flagship programs in college basketball. That wasn't going to happen playing Tulane and SMU.

    Also, you can expect the NBE to stay at 11 teams. They're going to want a round robin schedule, which is doable with 11, but problematic with 12.


    Based on the poster's occupation and client list, the chances appear good that more good news will be coming as a result of the UCONN announcement.
    X A V I E R

  2. #2
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    By the way, from the same thread, the following shows up:

    So I am located in the Midwest, and not linked up very strong in New England. But I was at an event yesterday and got to talk to some Big East basketball coaches and they believe Gonzaga will be next and there will be 6 east teams and 6 west teams.

    I think that would put the Big East second behind the ACC basketball wise.


    And that is followed by:

    So the way the coach put it to me was that Gonzaga has a finite amount of time to build their national brand before Few is done. They don't want to be a school that just had a great coach and dies because he retires. To do that they need to be in a better conference, so to them, the travel is worth it because they now have more credibility.

    He also thought Gonzaga was looking for a tougher regular season schedule to get better for the tournament. They actually hurt themselves not playing a tough conference schedule.


    I have no doubt that the BE wants to keep the round robin, but I also have to believe that UCONN plus Gonzaga could certainly trigger not only the $100 million true-up, but more than that after they rerun the numbers on the valuation of that new pro forma package.

    Please allow me to be the first to say that it is possible that this summer's Xavier-related basketball news may positively exceed the news that came from the summer of Dez Wells.
    X A V I E R

  3. #3
    Great info - was skeptical at first, but beginning to jump on this train. By any chance, do you think Hurley has put any pressure on UConn Admin to make the move?
    Last edited by XU_Lou; 06-23-2019 at 05:31 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Dash, two great finds. The Gonzaga deal just seems too difficult unless it's minor sports do all the traveling.

  5. #5
    Supporting Member bjf123's Avatar
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    Gonzaga to the Big East makes no sense. Travel costs go way up and the round robin goes away. Please stay at 11!!!!!!!


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  6. #6
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XU_Lou View Post
    Great info - was skeptical at first, but beginning to jump on this train. By any chance, do you think Hurley has put any pressure on UConn Admin to make the move?
    Frankly, at least in my opinion, UCONN has known for a few years that it had to do this, and along the way in Hurley's interview process for the job he may have commented about his job at UCONN being made much easier - were he to take it - if he could sell recruits on playing the BE schedule versus the AAC schedule. I don't think he was in kind of position to put on pressure, but I don't think he had to do that with what UCONN already knew of its predicament.
    X A V I E R

  7. #7
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTG View Post
    Thanks Dash, two great finds. The Gonzaga deal just seems too difficult unless it's minor sports do all the traveling.
    My pleasure on the info. Love the read about the media deal. Agree with you about the Gonzaga thing. But here again we allegedly have BE coaches somewhere out in the midwest making firm comments about it.

    Stay tuned. It's only going to become more fun for a little while from here.
    X A V I E R

  8. #8
    Sophomore scoscox's Avatar
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    The BE coaches are presumably creighton coaches (the guy who posted it is from kansas and i'm presuming is referring to the great plains stretch of the midwest) and i think they're most likely to be intrigued by adding gonzaga. i'd be surprised if the rest of the coaching staffs have the same interest.
    "The only time you take your hands off an opponent's throat is to get a better grip" - Byron Larkin

  9. #9
    Supporting Member paulxu's Avatar
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    I'll be an outlier. Have no interest in having Gonzaga in our conference.
    Prefer the round robin. They seem so far out there, like WVA in the Big 12.
    And Hurley often reminds me of Little Mick with his whining.
    ...he went up late, and I was already up there.

  10. #10
    Supporting Member xudash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulxu View Post
    I'll be an outlier. Have no interest in having Gonzaga in our conference.
    Prefer the round robin. They seem so far out there, like WVA in the Big 12.
    And Hurley often reminds me of Little Mick with his whining.
    I'm with you. I posted the info because it appeared interesting.

    Crazy times.
    X A V I E R

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