Conference expansion has finally come to a pause, a break in the road as schools finally have settled on homes. The Big Ten is stopped at 12 teams, the Big XII is now at 10 teams and the Pac-10 is reaching for the twelfth team as they offered Utah late Tuesday evening.
Dan Beebe, on the outside, looks like some sort of a hero who saved the day for schools such as Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor and Kansas State; but at what cost? Reportedly the schools,along with Mizzou,were convinced into sacrificing their portion of the projected $20 million buyout to keep Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M in the conference.
After KU, K-State and others were on the verge of being relegated to the Mountain West and Bill Self was doing his "sad panda" routine perhaps forfeiting their $2 million shares felt right. Perhaps they felt as though they "owed" the three big guys on the block a big "thank you" for not leaving them hanging.
I find it surprising that these schools have not only agreed to, essentially, guarantee Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M upwards of $20 million a season but they did so without any television negotiations or contract put into place. Rather all this is based upon Dan Beebe's good faith numbers and speculation. Per the Sports Business Daily:
The Big 12 was able to stay intact thanks to the promise of an extended media deal from FSN and assurances from ESPN that it would not demand a lower rights fee with two fewer teams. No FSN deal has been signed, and nothing is expected for several weeks at the earliest. But sources say FSN has told Big 12 officials that it would increase its annual payout to as much as $130-$140M per year. It currently pays $19.5M per year for the cable TV rights, a deal that ends following the '11-12 season. As part of its proposed deal, FSN has asked to take control of the conference's third-tier rights that are currently controlled by rights holders IMG, ISP and Learfield, sources said. These rights include radio, local media, third-tier TV rights, corporate sponsorships, and in-stadium and arena signage. It is not known when these rights will be available.
Apparently the "fear" of a Big Twelve (10) network that engulfed the Dallas, Houston and Oklahoma City markets is what drove ESPN and Fox to beef up the dollars for the Big XII, or at least say they'll beef up the dollars. Beefing up the cash for a conference that is now two teams smaller, lost one of their national draws in Nebraska and has no conference championship game.
To put it bluntly I don't understand where the money comes from. There's a 24 game shortage of inventory with the loss of two squads, there's a loss of quality match ups with the departures and the league is on ground that appears to be as shaky as the Big East's.
After coming to terms with my "money issues" with the conference some how making crazy bank by getting worse the next issue comes with the equity in the league.
There is none.
Absolutely zero equity and the worst part is there never will be. I'm no bleeding heart-everything-should-be-fair-type guy but when you sign up for a deal that expressly states you'll stand to make, at best, $3 million less from a joint tv deal (not individual licensing, ticketing, donations or other "revenue skewers") you're consigning yourself to second tier status.
While all of the Athletic Directors from the conference not running OU, TAMU or Texas bent over and took it, Mike Alden really showed how desperate the league's "undesirables" were in the grand scheme of things. Dave Matter from the Columbia Tribune does a great job of breaking down Alden's comments. The most clearly delusional quote from Alden?
Big 12. Big 12. It’s a great brand and we’re going to keep moving with that.
Yes, the Big 12 is a great brand, if you're Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M. If you're the rest of the league, especially the five schools kowtowing to the power three, then it's just a place they allow you to play football.
It is one thing to understand the deck is stacked against you, it is another thing outright admit to your fans that you know you don't have a chance and you are okay with that.