Why Notre Dame is no longer the B1G's White Whale

AndyVance's picture
December 18, 2012 at 10:11p
79 Comments

We've said more than a few times that conference expansion is about money, and money is about television rights. Conventional wisdom for 20 years has said that the ideal candidate for Big Ten expansion is Notre Dame, but in the current conference landscape, I'm not sure adding Notre Dame makes sense any more. To understand why the golden domes may be just a footnote in Jim Delaney's plot to take over the known universe - and to understand why North Carolina (or Duke, perhaps) and Virginia are the next logical targets, it's important to understand television markets and media dollars.

This is what it's all about...

Let's start with what we know: adding Maryland and Rutgers was about television. Rutgers, in theory, cracks open the lucrative New York television market, the largest single Designated Marketing Area (DMA) in the country, with roughly 7.4 television homes to its credit (the next largest DMA, Los Angeles, is 1.8 million homes smaller). Of the Top 10 markets, Delaney and his Big Ten Network can now plant flags in 4: NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The SEC, by contrast, holds only one of the Top 10 markets: Atlanta (this also explains why Georgia Tech is often rumored as a viable expansion candidate).

Broadening your scope to the Top 25 markets, the B1G can reasonably claim 5 more, including Detroit, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Cleveland-Akron, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis - you could perhaps include St. Louis, but I don't necessarily believe that is dyed-in-the-wool Illini country. St. Louis, however, makes Missouri a possible expansion candidate.

Again, by comparison, the SEC can claim an additional three markets in the Top 25, all of which are in Sunny Florida, and may be as much ACC markets as SEC country (Tampa-St. Pete, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, and Orlando-Daytona Beach).

Let's step away from the Nielsen ratings for a moment, and take a look at some research from our friends at ESPN. Earlier this year, the network ranked the Top 25 markets for college football, and discovered that Birmingham is the "center of the college football universe." The Alabama market pulled a 5.9 rating (more on how TV ratings are figured here), while our own Columbus pulled a 4.3 in the 2012 survey.

Interestingly, Dayton (#11), Cleveland (#20) and Cincinnati (#25) all made the list, perhaps proving that Ohio State is the most-watched football team in the country with a combined 11.5 rating.


The rise of the giants...

A comment on a forum thread discussing the possibilities of a "super conference" in light of the mass exodus from the Big East got me thinking about expansion candidates again, prompting me to go back and take another look at the pool of potential members. The most likely candidates for expansion have to have a few characteristics that make them truly viable candidates:

  • Additional television market penetration to expand the BTN's ratings and revenue potential
  • Geographical relevance, generally defined as contiguous to the current B1G footprint
  • Membership in the Association of American Universities - a barometer of a school's focus on research
  • A focus on academic excellence beyond athletic excellence - subjective, but important
  • Potential to be relevant in revenue sports (football and basketball)

You'll note that I've placed the item most fans care about - competitiveness in football, and to a lesser extent, basketball - at the bottom of my list of requisites. This is because competitiveness is no longer the most important factor in the equation, as the Maryland addition proves, and because competitiveness is a moving target. Most folks would not have considered Wisconsin consistently competitive before Barry Alvarez took the helm, and now they've won at least a piece of the conference title three years running. Similarly the much-ballyhooed Oregon Ducks, who were not a great football program for the better part of the previous century, but have become a landmark in the Top 10 since Phil Knight endowed them with money and colorful jerseys.

So if you set aside things like improving strength of schedule for a moment, and think of this with an eye to the business of running a TV juggernaut, there are a handful of schools "available" who meet more or less all of the above criteria. Having already raided the Big East to take one of our two latest additions to the league, there are no schools left in the Big East that add any value to the proposition.

The SEC and PAC-12, for obvious reasons, are also not likely to yield any realistic candidates for expansion - those conferences are strong, getting stronger, and not going anywhere. Ironically, the one traditional SEC school that fits the bill is Florida, but I don't see them leaving the SEC any time soon. That leaves schools currently affiliated with the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12 to choose from.

With these notions in mind, I think there are five schools that have potential to join the Big Ten and make a positive contribution in the big picture. In no particular order, they are:

  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia Tech

Let me set aside two schools that would make the average football fan salivate for just a moment: Notre Dame and Texas. The reason I am disqualifying Texas up front is simple - it ain't gonna happen in a million years. Well, at least any time soon. For starters, Texas doesn't meet a couple of the criteria above - they're nowhere near geographically relevant, which in this case is of lesser concern because we're talking about Texas, for crying out loud, but moreover they don't actually add that much in terms of television potential.

What's that, you say? Texas doesn't add that much TV potential? No, and here's why: The Longhorn Network isn't yielding great results thus far, and while a Texas team should bring several big television markets (Dallas-Ft. Worth is Nielsen's #5 and Houston is #10), ESPN's analysis of the big college football markets only listed one Texas market in its Top 25 with Austin at #12... behind #11 Dayton, Ohio. While football is big in Texas, there are a lot of football teams in Texas - a lot of good football teams in Texas - and the audience is bound to be more fragmented than in a state dominated by a monolith like the Buckeyes.


Notre Dame is the square peg in a round hole

Notre Dame has always been considered Jim Delaney's white whale, the one that got away, the school that keeps Darth Delaney up at night... But while fans across the country might relish the opportunity to see Ohio State and Notre Dame duke it out each November at LucasOil Stadium for the conference trophy, I'm starting to think that the Irish' chances of getting in the conference are a fading notion or a passing fad.

While I doubt Delaney would turn the Irish away if they came calling, it isn't that important to worship at the altar of Notre Dame sports any longer, and ND might have missed their shot to get in the club, as their stock is rising, and will perhaps price them out of the market. NBC has given ND more money and reupped its contract with the school at each opportunity, and becoming relevant in the national title race under Coach Kelley has ensured that networks will pay handsomely for TV rights again.

For Notre Dame, the money might actually be better in the Big Ten, however... The school has gotten roughly $15 million per season from NBC for football, and another $5 million per year from the Big East for the rest of its revenue sports' television package. Big Ten schools, meanwhile are getting nearly $25 million. Oh, and with Rutgers and Maryland adding to the footprint, B1G schools are set to earn even more.

With the implosion of the Big East and the already announced move by Notre Dame to the ACC, one might wonder if conference realignment could again put Notre Dame on a course to joining the B1G, but looking at my criteria, they're not that great an addition (and don't forget, it's almost a point of pride for Jim Swarbrick to remain independent in football, even though Forbes' Chris Smith says that's bad business at this point).

Notre Dame adds national television exposure, but no discernable television market the Big Ten doesn't already claim. New York City and the New England states would, in theory, be fertile country for a Big Ten Network featuring the Fighting Irish, but there's not a turnkey pin on the map TV market they automatically open up. Rutgers and Maryland provided at least a foot in the door of the New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and D.C. markets.

Then you have the issue of what they bring to the table in terms of revenue for the network. Remember that in the BTN calculus, the addition of schools - Maryland and Rutgers, in other words - has been about additional subscribers, not additional advertising clients. While ND has netted mega ratings for NBC this season, those ratings don't mean that much in the cable TV world, which looks at revenue much differently than do broadcast networks. 

Here's the last reason why Notre Dame isn't a fit - it isn't anything like the other Big Ten schools. Aside from the fact that it has great tradition, great sports, and a campus in the middle of flyover country, there are few similarities.

Most Big Ten schools are large, public research universities. Northwestern is the school already in the club that is the least like its peers as a smaller, private university, but it has strong research credentials and has been a member longer than has Ohio State. Even though it is a smaller school, its total enrollment still outstrips Notre Dame by about 7,000 students (undergraduate enrollments are similar, but ND's postgraduate enrollment is a pittance by comparison).

If you didn't already know this, the Big Ten presidents - the true power behind Jim Delaney's throne - take this research thing pretty seriously. Don't take my word for it, just ask my friend Gordon Gee. While athletic revenues are important, to these schools' chief executives academic prowess and research funding are what make the world go 'round. That in and of itself makes Notre Dame far less desirable as a comrade in arms than as an entry in the Bowl Championship Series.

Oh, and if you don't think these academic-types aren't really calling the shots, you're not paying attention.


So who makes the grade?

I've listed five schools who make logical expansion targets for the Big Ten. I say logical because I think they are "available" in the sense that they're in conferences that are less stable long-term, and they've either shown interest in joining the Big Ten in the past, or they meet most, if not all, of my criteria.

Let's start with the one SEC school on my list, a school that used to be in the Big 12, Mizzou. The University of Missouri is a large, flagship state university that is a member of the prestigious AAU. It "fits" the mold of the typical B1G school. The school was passed over the last time in favor of Nebraska, which made sense from a competitive standpoint, as Nebraska is a much bigger national brand, with a much bigger fanbase and a much stronger football tradition.

Mizzou still makes sense, though, as their teams have competed at the national level in recent years, and they meet the academic research criteria. Mizzou also shores up the St. Louis television DMA, the #21 market in the country, as well as the Kansas City market, ranked #31 (Nebraska probably gives some touch in KC, but not enough). Those two markets add another 2.25 million television households to the BTN footprint, in theory.

Similar to Mizzou is Big 12 member Kansas. The University of Kansas is an AAU member, and a flagship public university (Kansas State is actually the land-grant in the state, but is not an AAU member), and while its football team isn't much to talk about, we know full well how good their basketball team is... and I don't think we can afford to overlook roundball in the discussion of TV relevance. Basketball may not generate quite as much revenue for these schools as does football, but think of the number of games played, and the money to be made during conference and NCAA tournament season... It's a bigger and bigger deal each year.

In terms of TV markets, Kansas is a little less attractive than Mizzou, however. Kansas City would still be in play here, but beyond that the next biggest market in the state is Wichita at #68 (455,000 TV homes).

Next up, then, is Georgia Tech. The Georgia Institute of Technology joined the ranks of the AAU in 2010, so it is something of an up-and-comer in the research community, although it is often ranked among the top 10 public schools in the country. It is a little smaller than most of the other expansion candidates (and current B1G members), but provides access to the big Atlanta television market.

According to a quasi-analysis from political super-genius Nate Silver, Atlanta is the #2 market in the country for college football. Little surprise given that it's a large city - the #9 TV market according to Nielsen - in the middle of SEC country. Silver's data furthermore suggests that Tech is the #11 most popular team in the country, and would be the #4 most popular team in the Big Ten... Given the 2.3 million television sets in the Atlanta market, Tech would be a sound addition to the conference.

That leaves the two schools I think are the next most-logical targets - ACC members Virginia and North Carolina. The University of Virginia is, to put it mildly, an academic beast compared with many other schools in the conference. Founded by Thomas Jefferson and set on one of the most gorgeous campuses in the country, UVA is member of the AAU, and is a flagship public university with an enrollment and "feel" similar to Northwestern. 

When it comes to TV markets, Virginia could be huge. As with Maryland, there is the obvious tie to Washington, D.C. Beyond that, however, Virginia is home to several Top 100 Nielsen markets: Norfolk-Portsmouth (#43), Richmond (#57, and ESPN's #25), and Roanoke-Lynchburg (#66). These markets bring another 1.75 million viewers, similar to what Mizzou might add in the West.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is, for the money, the "buy" of the lot. This large, flagship public university, along with Duke, make up a region known as "Research Triangle Park." This in and of itself, along with the requisite AAU membership card, tells you all you need to know about its academic standings. Its basketball program is legendary, its football program has potential (all you need is potential in this equation), and most importantly, it cracks a lot of TV opportunities.

Raleigh-Durham is the #24 Nielsen market with 1.143 million homes, Charlotte is #24 with 1.140 million, and the two rank within ESPN's top 25 college football markets. Meanwhile, Greensboro-Winston Salem clocks in at #46 with another 691k homes, giving you a total potential add to the BTN of 2.97 million TV sets - a staggering number.


If you're Jim Delaney, what do you do?

Given the fascination with the notion that we will see, in my lifetime, four "superconferences" that tell the NCAA where to stick it, there is a strategy here that makes sense, giving the faculty what they want in adding top-tier research schools with strong academic underpinning, giving Fox and the BTN what it wants in more television households, and giving fans more palatable options than Maryland.

  • Step 1: Annex Maryland. This gives you geographical access to Virginia. (Check)
  • Step 2: Woo Virginia and North Carolina. These two schools offer six Top 100 TV markets and another 5 million potential viewers. They also give you great schools, steeped in tradition, and, in the case of UNC, an amazing basketball brand (Duke, by the way, could have fit the bill here, but its status as a private school seemed less of a "fit" than UNC). This brings you to 16 schools, a pretty nice number.
  • Step 3: On the other hand, you could ignore Virginia and take Georgia Tech after you annex North Carolina, bringing the huge Atlanta market and its 2.3 million viewers. Of course if you wanted, you could take all three and add one more school...
  • Step 4: Pick up Missouri. Mizzou is a nice addition to the western expanse of the conference, bringing with it two solid TV markets and solidifying the western front of the conference, and providing some good regional rivalry opportunities.

Here's where my strategy stops. An 18-member conference is somewhere between the 16 teams most assume are coming at some point and the 20 teams some folks envision. Eighteen may be unwieldy in size, somewhere in between a manageable 8-team division and those "pods" everyone is talking about these days. Even so, two 9-team divisions could work out... in theory...

If he could figure out an 11-team conference all those years, Jim Delaney can make 18 teams work just fine.

Comments

Maestro's picture

Just as a point of clarification the BTN is on Time Warner Cable in Kansas City and I cannot imagine that it isn't on in St. Louis as well.

vacuuming sucks

AndyVance's picture

You're absolutely correct, and Charter does carry the network on its expanded basic tier in St. Louis, one of the later additions to the net as it expanded in those first few seasons.

WildBear Buckeye's picture

BTN is on Charter in St. Louis.

Lon_Paul's picture

Really great post, man!  I think my ideal situation for expansion would be a Virginia/North Carolina addition followed by a Missouri/Kansas addition.  I'm an OSU fan but was raised in Columbia, MO since I was 4 years old so I've got a soft spot for Missouri athletics.  I was devastated when Missouri went to the SEC, not only because I despise that conference but also because of the fact that it basically ended our fantastic rivalry with Kansas.  After OSU-Michigan, I think that the Missouri-Kansas rivalry is the best in the country.  The Missouri/Kansas rivalry is heated, filled with hatred, and historic (roots stemming from the civil war) so seeing it end after Missouri's move to the SEC was really depressing.
I think adding Missouri and Kansas to the B1G would be a very smart move for the conference.  As you mentioned, it makes sense from a TV market standpoint, both schools are in the AAU, and we'd be getting the most heated rivalry this side of OSU-Michigan.  I think the biggest thing standing in the way of this happening though is Missouri not wanting to change conferences again so soon after joining the SEC.  I could definitely see Kansas hopping at a B1G invite but I'm less certain about Missouri (although, personally, I would love to see Mizzou ditch the SEC and hop on the B1G train . . . )

AndyVance's picture

Your point about Mizzou and the SEC is really important, and one reason I almost hesitated to put them on the list for that reason. There isn't much precedent for teams leaving the SEC in the modern era - the last one to do so was Tulane, I belive, in the '60s. Still they would be a nice addition to the Conference if Delaney could swing it.

Buckeyeneer's picture

It's an honor to be "quoted" in such a well written article. The same source that gave the list of schools noted that Delaney wanted Missouri, but after Nebby. If he had known the firestorm he would have caused, the source says that the B1G would have taken both Kansas and Missouri at the time that they took Nebraska. They were just simply caught of guard at how fast the expansion train gained steam.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Maestro's picture

Georgia Tech also left the SEC, back in the 60's.
The Mizzou situation is interesting.  I really think it's kind of a moot point now, but because Mizzou doesn't really have an identity they would be able to transition culturally from the SEC to the B1G without many issues IMHO.
Living in Kansas City I always hoped that Mizzou would be included in expansion purely for selfish reasons, but honestly their addition would have little impact on the conference IMHO.

vacuuming sucks

Lon_Paul's picture

Wow, that's crazy!  I actually had no idea about this so thank you for sharing.  Gosh, hindsight is 20/20 I suppose but I wish the Mizzou/Kansas addition had happened like you mentioned here . . . Also, it's interesting to think what the college football landscape would be like now if the B1G had poached Missouri/Kansas when it poached Nebraska.

Lon_Paul's picture

If it's possible, this Missouri guy sure hopes it happens!

sarasotabcg's picture

forget Kansas and anyone else in the Big12. They have a Grant of Rights that ties those schools down for at least another decade. If a school leaves, their broadcasting rights would still be owned by the Big12 for the next 10yrs or so. This is more ironclad than the $50mil exit fee Maryland has to deal with.

forget Mizzou. They make more $ in the SEC than they would in the B1G. Also, Delaney gave them the cold shoulder when they were practically begging to join a few years ago. There are more reasons for both sides to not meet than there are for them to start discussions.

Think ACC. After the Maryland exit fee litigation is resolved, expect an exodus.

ATXbucknut's picture

^^^^ Yes, what Sarasota says.  No one in the Big 12 is going anywhere anytime soon.  So throw Kansas out. Any expansion discussion must include the issue of the grant of rights agreement in the Big 12.
The ACC is where the B1G will look if it continues to expand.

Buckeyeneer's picture

From what I have read, the GOR is not as ironclad as people would have you believe. Contracts are made to be broken, its all for the lawyers to figure out, "What's the buyout?"

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

sarasotabcg's picture

obviously any contract can be negotiated out of, but why go to all the trouble for Kansas? You do for Texas, but Kansas? Come on now. If Kansas joined the B1G and left their tv revenue behind, for the next decade they'd be reduced to making MAC level annual revenue. Not happening.

And don't forget that Kansas doesn't have a reason to leave. There isn't a big gap in revenue between the them and B1G/SEC revenue. But there is between the ACC and B1G/SEC revenue.

Then you factor in the ACC that 1) has large AAU schools, 2) in states with significant population growth, 3) states with lots of B1G alums, 4) are sitting in a crumbling conference.

The GOR is absolutely more ironclad than an exit fee. That's why ACC commish Swofford tried and failed to institute a GOR immediately after Maryland announced they were leaving.

Buckeyeneer's picture

You are right, a GOR is better than an exit fee, especially if it is found that the exit fee is punitive, but we are in agreement that, "Where there's a will, there's a way" and deals will be made if the money is right.
Kansas has a reason to leave (not saying that they will) and its $$$. We have more of it and that makes us attactive and more stable than the Big 12. Why would we want Kansas? They are the #3 moneymaker in the Big 12 due to the strength of their Bball program. They also give us a piece of Kansas City and Wichita (zzzzzz . . .) and from what I have read, Denver. Apparently there are a ton of Jayhawks in Denver.  While football is driving the bus, Kansas is AAU and has great research and academics and lets not forget that the BTN needs content. Football is king but there are only 12 to 13 football games/year compared to a much larger number of Bball games. That is what makes Kansas appealling.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Maestro's picture

Kansas also has a reason to leave if they feel that OU and Texas in the long run are going to be heading to greener pastures and leaving everyone else to fight for a spot in the Pac/Wac/CUSA etc.  It wouldn't take too many dominoes to fall for the Big XII to be back in the same boat that they were when schools were willingly leaving.

vacuuming sucks

sarasotabcg's picture

But OU and Texas aren't leaving either, at least not for the forseeable future. They're tied under the same GOR that holds the Big12 together for the next decade.
 
Again, there is no reason for Kansas or OU or anyone else to leave the Big12 right now. They are not making that much less than the B1G and SEC are right now. Goto MrSEC.com - the link is on another post on this thread - to see the actual numbers.
 
There is also no reason for Delaney to go after a Big12 schools when he has more attractive candidates who are also looking for a new home right now. You can only hint about the Big12 being in trouble some day; the ACC is in trouble right now.
 
Virtually all evidence - outside of this thread - points to the ACC crumbling. Don't take my word for it. Check out SEC websites, ACC websites, Big12 websites, other B1G websites. It's a matter of when the ACC falls apart, not if.

Buckeyeneer's picture

You're right. The ACC is in worse shape than the B12. Everything I have been posting is based on what the B1G wants. It is certainly not set in stone. The B1G gets what they want more often than not, but there are other powerful figures left on the expansion chess board which have different motivations than the B1G. The path of least resistance is definitely going down the east coast vs. raiding the B12 again.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

sarasotabcg's picture

I'm a member on 5 premium sites, only one of which is Buckeye related. Sorry but no insider anywhere is giving Kansas anymore attention than they're giving Boston College, which is next to none. All eyes are on the ACC.
Everyone is in a holding pattern waiting on the Maryland exit fee to be resolved. Once that's done, expect parties to move. That is unless someone gets antsy, like FSU, and doesn't want to wait any longer to pull the trigger.
11w is a about a month late on expansion. Info has been flying on premium sites for weeks about this stuff. If I sound condescending in any way, my apologies.

AndyVance's picture

Sorry if I'm late to the dance... I don't subscribe to any premium sites, so my observations are based on what I read here and at other public news sites.

Born and Bred's picture

Do you know when the legal battle is expected to be finished??

Buckeye till I'm dead

Buckeyeneer's picture

@ Sarasota: Again, as I have stated before, I am sharing what an insider at Scout has been reporting on. If that is one of the sites that you have access to premium content, check it out. If not, oh well, we're all just speculating and having fun anyways.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

cplunk's picture

You can forget about the grant of rights. I've spent my professional life in contracts and procurement, so trust me when I say that there is absolutely nothing that isn't negotiable, and no matter what anybody says, everything is always on the table for discussion.
If some school wants out of the Big Twelve badly enough, a way will be found. What the grant of rights will do is ensure that the B12 gets something out of the deal. It won't be tv rights for 10 years like the GOR states, but it will be something. Effectively what clauses like the GOR do is ensure that in situations where you would have just been a negotiations loser instead you are able to make the deal more of a draw.

stark county buck's picture

Mizzou makes comparable money in the SEC compared to BIG but with the BIG tv deal up for renegotiating in '17 the BIG will make a lot more money than any conference.

CSAR Buckeye's picture

Really great write up, Andyvance.  Thanks for all the thought and research you put into it.  Change is coming, it's just a matter of which schools and when.  Time will tell...

Kurt's picture

One that I continually think about is Syracuse to stake claim and set footprint in NYC.  Any particular reason they weren't considered/mentioned here?

zosima's picture

First of all... wow, great writeup, sorry I could only give it one helmet sticker.
Second, I still have trouble seeing this.  I really hope Delany proves me wrong, but as someone who has family in NYC and visits their annually, I don't see Rutgers as delivering the NYC market.  Same thing with Maryland.  Unless the B1G adds the Ravens and the Giants, I don't think we get these markets.  Notre Dame, on the other hand, has far more fans in these markets. 
The biggest problem I have with all these sorts of analysis is dichotomy of reasoning expected... "think like a businessman" but also "think like a Univerity President." To the businessman I say, "Its about the product, stupid!"  CFB drives the bus, and UNC, UVA, and some other university I am to bored thinking about to scroll up do not provide a better product.  Nor, for that matter, do Rutgers/Maryland (again, hope I am wrong here).  If the B1G wants to "Live B1G", get Notre Dame, Florida, and/or UT or GO HOME!   Delany did a great job with Nebraska, but chasing demographics with a bad product is a sure path to business failure. 

AndyVance's picture

One important observation on your point: Thinking like a businessman and thinking like a university president are increasingly one and the same. I tend to think Gordon Gee, for an example, runs one of the best businesses in the state of Ohio.
Product definitely makes a difference, and I think the other schools in the conference will increasingly feel pressure to "get better."

Kurt's picture

I do really like the idea that we could still rope in Missouri.  They seem like a very good fit and it'd be spectacular to steal them away from God's Conference.

Born and Bred's picture

Why isn't Miami ever considered in expansion talks? They are an AAU member, in the AAC, and could bring in a very large Miami market.

Buckeye till I'm dead

JollyFatMan's picture

Because it's in Miami.

How firm thy friendship..

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

I thought Missouri should have been invited to the BigTen along with Nebraska. It just made perfect sense in every way. But after the year they had in the SEC it would just be a huge mess. I can see the E!SPiN headlines now, "SEC schedule chases Missouri to the B1G". Plus being passed over by the BigTen probably doesn't sit well with Missouri.

While a yearly Ohio State vs ND would be huge $$$(plus an beating them yearly would almost be as satisfying as beating M*ch*gan), the state of Indiana has reached their B1G limit for team.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

AndyVance's picture

Absolutely agree about ND - Purdue and IU already have to recruit against them (as do Ohio State and others), and having the added pressure of being in the same conference would only make that worse.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

Except you're missing one huge point. Notre Dame's fan base isn't concentratd to one area. It's very large and spread out. It may be what Delany needs to tip the scales and make BTN a national network. If you look at Big Ten alumni presence in media markets not currently offering BTN on their standard cable package, there's a strong argument to be made that adding Notre Dame would be the enough of a push to get BTN on standard cable packs in markets like LA, Miami, Tampa/St.Pete's, Atlanta, Boston, etc.

AndyVance's picture

You're right that ND brings a national fanbase... I'm just not convinced that it would actually move the needle in the BTN business model, and I don't think it would automatically open up Florida, for example. Boston, maybe.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

I wouldn't consider Tampa sec country.

 
Buckeyeneer's picture

I posted this yesterday which was an expansion on the comment that ANDYVANCE quoted. As it is relevant to this discussion I will repost.
A B1G insider inviewed by Scout.com suggested that the most likely schools for B1G expansion based on what the presidents want are:  Kansas, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, ND or Texas. While most think that Texas is a pipedream (myself included) the insider liked our chances of getting them. He said that if the PAC 12 decides to expand, the Big 12 is done. He said that the only way we don't get Texas is if the PAC 12 does.

The source also noted the schools that have no shot:  Tennessee, Kentucky, Pitt, Cincinnati, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, NC State, UConn, Syracuse, Boston College. The insider seems to think that FSU doesn't have much of a shot either.

A couple of other nuggets that I didn't mention before: The B1G is thinking that there will be 3 or 4 super conferences with 16 to 20 teams and those conferences will likely leave the NCAA in football and start their own association. Gordon Gee already has hinted at this.

The B1G will be instituting an expenditure floor, meaning that all schools will be required to spend a certain amount of money on sport facilities (specifically football) and coaches' salaries (again, specifically football). Rutgers and Maryland were asked to show their financial strategic plan, including how they will improve their football facilities and personnel before they were allowed to join. The B1G doesn't want to lose the conference battle simply because their schools are not reinvesting enough money. Expect to see the difference in SEC vs. B1G coaching salaries to shrink in the coming years. Not sure when this expenditure floor will start, perhaps when MD and Rutgers joins, but at the latest it will be 2017. 2017, btw, is the end game date. At that time we will most likely have who we want. It is thought that things will shake out sooner than that. The insider said that they are waiting to see what happens with Maryland's buyout, but if moves occur elsewhere, the B1G will respond.
 

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

cplunk's picture

I really hope the expenditure floor is correct. The start game is expansion into more markets, but the end game has to be fielding a good enough product to hold financial negotiating power in those markets.

AndyVance's picture

Really appreciate you sharing this - I caught your first post, but must have missed these details (and, I didn't want to "quote" too heavily). Thanks for getting my creative juices flowing with sharing this info!

sarasotabcg's picture

there's been a ton of stuff written about expansion recently, but what MR SEC posted yesterday is almost as good as the premium info I've seen.

It's heavy on facts, light on conjecture. See the sections on Big12 and ACC.

http://www.mrsec.com/2012/12/big-bang-theories-the-countdown-to-super-co...

Poison nuts's picture

Really impressive write-up AndyVance...Thanks!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Mush's picture

Does anyone know what is stopping the B1G from considering dropping a bottom feeder like Minnesota ?? 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Academics and an informed historical perspective...

Buckeyeneer's picture

Tradition and research dollars

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Mush's picture

...but tradition goes on the backburner with superconferences. Why not simply replace Minny  with an AAU member that has more athletic revenue and more successful on field performance. I'm old school but with an 18-20 team conference, I would not miss the Gophers at all. 

Buckeyeneer's picture

Not saying you're wrong . . . I mean, how many Indiana teams do we need? Perhaps keeping Minnesota is a hedge against global warming? ;-)

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Mush's picture

Wouldn't that stir up the crapper if the B1G actually booted Minny, Purdue and/or IU ??

Doc's picture

(OFF TOPIC)  Mush, where did you get a picture of Sammy Hagar wearing an OSU shirt?  I'm a huge VH fan, mostly RothVH, but after Sam left the band I like his solo stuff too.  I've been to the Cabo Wabo and consider myself a "Redhead".  I saw Sammy once in Detroit at the Fox Theatre and some girls down front threw him a red OSU hat .  He picked it up and said to the girls they were going to get him in trouble if he put it on, but then said "fuck it" and wore it for about three songs.  During a quite spot I yelled "OH" and the girls got in a quick "IO" before the boos started.

"Say my name."

Mush's picture

Doc,
Sammy and 3 Doors Down was a 2011 free show sponsored by Miller Lite at Nationwide Arena. It was the dreaded night of our poor performance against the U in Miami. I sent you my contact info on your profile page if you want the jpeg.
 

Doc's picture

Thanks!

"Say my name."

buckeyedude's picture

I could not understand why Delany didn't extend an offer to Missouri when they added Nebraska. It made sense in so many ways. I doubt that Missouri would leave the SEC now.
I'm really surprised that the SEC hasn't offered GT. They are a rival with Georgia and would lock down the Atlanta market.

 

 

Buckeyeneer's picture

A B1G insider in Chicago said that if Delaney had known the firestorm he would cause, he would have taken both Kansas and Missouri at the time that they took Nebraska. They were just simply caught off guard at how fast the dominoes fell after we made our first move.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

buckeyedude's picture

Actually I meant to say that GT would give the B1G inroads into the Atlanta market. I like the idea of GT in the B1G.

 

 

spqr2008's picture

I love the idea of GT in the B1G because it makes the B1G the anti-oversigning conference (for those who don't know the history of oversigning, Dodd (the legendary coach and athletic director at GT) couldn't countenance having 150 players per squad, and perferred about 100, and therefore left the SEC).

Alhan's picture

Instead of TL;DR, I'm gonna go with LBIREW (Long, but I read every word).  Well written, informative, and a great alternate viewpoint to the commonly heard "these schools suck at football, RAAAAGE" opinion.  I'm loving your blog posts Andy!

You can kill a fly with your slipper or a cannon. Either way, the fly dies. -Ramzy

AndyVance's picture

As a wise fellow once said, "I've got 99 problems, but finding things to write about isn't one of them..."
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement!

buckeyedude's picture

I really wish people would just get over any chance of ND joining the B1G. It just ain't going to happen. I'm sick of hearing about it. Let's be realistic.
And yes, this was a very good blog. I found this more interesting and informative than could be found in any typical newspaper or mag.

 

 

hodge's picture

Excellent write up, ANDYVANCE.  You make some excellent points, but I do believe that you're trying a little too hard to discount Texas's value.  Though you use multiple metrics to describe the value of each market, the only thing that matters is the total size of the team's potential market.  It doesn't matter if UT has to fight for ratings with a myriad other insitutions in its home state, the bottom line is that they're watched just about everywhere in that state.   Since UT draws from every part of the state (being a flagship institution, and all), the BTN will be carried in all those potential markets, and it would be an absolute cash cow for both parties, since the Longhorn Network has been an absolute bitch to get consistent service anywhere outside of Austin.
That said, let's look at Texas's markets:

  • (5) Dallas/Ft. Worth: 2.5 million TV homes
  • (10) Houston: 1.2 million TV homes
  • (36) San Antionio: 880,000 TV homes
  • (47) Austin: 690,000 TV homes

Those are Texas's top-50 Nielson Markets, totaling a potential 5.27 million (!!!) television sets.  That's  the number that Delaney wants.  He could care less for how well the market is capitalized now, because the BTN--when coupled with Fox's national brand--will get a foothold in that market, and all those TV sets will yield revenue.  It's the same reason that Delaney went after New York City, even though no one there cares about college football (Silver still listed it as his #1, but he also listed Dallas/Ft. Worth at #4).
Besides, UT is a massive public research institution (like the vast majority of the Big Ten), and it makes about as much geographical sense as adding Georgia Tech would make.  Georgia Tech is 522 miles away from its next closest member, Indiana University; while UT is exactly 300 miles further away from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Furthermore, it would help to shore up the Big Ten's capitalization of the "Great Plains"; in both market and recruiting (they've already done work--and will probably do more--on the East Coast), and will help facilitate a competitive balance between the logical choice for divisions, East and West.
I do agree that Notre Dame doesn't really add anything except ratings--though being the national brand that they are, they could potentially get the BTN national distribution (which is probably something that AD Jack Swarbrick would stipulate, considering that NBC broadcasts all of their games to a national audience), but it would probably necessitate a complete re-vamp of BTN coverage and access (availability won't be a problem).

AndyVance's picture

I don't discount Texas value so much as I discount that I think they'll ever willingly give up their domination of the Big 12's business. They're like ND in a sense - they're the 800 lb. gorilla in their part of the jungle, and they know it... 
Truthfully, I think Texas would be an infinitely bigger catch than ND for the reasons you list, and I think they're a national brand in the mold of Ohio State or TSUN. I do think if they leave the Big 12, we have the best shot of locking them down.

hodge's picture

Agreed.  I think that the only hope for the Big Ten would be to pick off Kansas first--signaling a shot across the bow of the Big Twelve--and then set their sights on Texas.  I think that poaching Kansas--especially if it got us to ~17 members (if I'm Delaney, I'd do this after adding UVA and UNC)--would open the floodgates of expansion again (at the moment, it seems like other conferences are sorta waiting to see what he does next), and create utter panic amongst the other two potential super-conferences, the PAC 12 and SEC.  By killing the Big East, and destabilizing both the ACC and Big Twelve, Delaney would have a chance to swoop in and take a team like UT.  
Granted, the Big Twelve might turn the tables and add FSU and Clemson, and continue picking off the dregs of the ACC--fighting the SEC for the prime table scraps.
Regardless, it will be a very interesting few years; the landscape of college football is about to undergo a dramatic transformation, I'm excited to see where it goes.

AndyVance's picture

Okay, I like where this is going - perhaps the strategy is, as you and I both seem to believe, to pick off UVA and UNC (while still opening up the possibility of Georgia Tech and the ATL) and use the resulting "instability" to pluck Kansas and Texas from a then-scrambling Big 12. That would put the conference at 18, so if Delaney wanted those four (UVA and UNC from the ACC and Kansas and Texas from the B12), he could then also pick up Georgia Tech and plunder Mizzou from the SEC for an even 20... 

Buckeyeneer's picture

Other things I have heard are that we are flexing our muscles while we have the advantage. Delaney noted the demographics are important to him. We have the BTN which is making us flush with cash but the SEC and PAC will be getting their own networks, and the Big 12, who knows. So we are moving while we have the only proven commodity. The B1G is king, and Delaney is making decisions that will set up the conference to stay on top for the next 50 years.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

faux_maestro's picture

This whole thing reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Newman and Kramer are playing risk.....
 

Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

Hoody Wayes's picture

A point for several great points, Hodge!
Regarding those Texas television markets, the B1G will go big with advertising and marketing - buttressed by Ohio State and Michigan on the first four years of the Longhorns regular schedule. And maybe the B1G would coax Illinois and/or Northwestern to play Texas at "Soldiers' Field" (that's how Chicagoans pronounce it) or Wrigley...or Rutgers in Yankee Stadium or Maryland in D.C.
Then, there's population density and timezone, factors which make an eastward move by the Loghorns more viable. If they go west to the PAC, they know football fans will watch UT/USC and UT/Oregon. But, how many will stay up late to watch the likes of UT/CAL or UT/ASU? Fact is, there are way more interesting matchups with teams east of the Mississippi and more eyeballs watching. Plus, there are a greater number of big cities in the east and eastern night games are bigger ratings winners. 

tennbuckeye19's picture

Andy - Seriously, I'm loving your contributions to 11W. Your piece here has given me much food for thought. 
Maybe since you are a researching fool (I mean that as a compliment) you can find for me and others, information on the upcoming SEC network. I have heard rumors about them launching a 24 hour network, their BTN if you will, for several years. I am thinking that when it launches, a school like Missouri, might as well stay put in the SEC, if they will be making millions there, rather than move to the B1G. 
 

AndyVance's picture

You're right in your thinking - an SEC network could well indeed change the game for bottom-tier members like Missouri that might consider jumping ship in the next round of expansion. I'll dig a little deeper and see what I can find :)

Buckeyeneer's picture

Yup. Sorry if I had seen that you had posted this I wouldn't have said the same thing above. We are moving while we are the only game in town. Presidents like to see proven money more than hypothetical money.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes
THE Ohio State University

Hoody Wayes's picture

Outstanding work, again!
However, value and potential can be measured and met in different ways. Compromise can make possible, what was once impossible. B1G expansion may yet yield some surprises.
Nebraska's loss of AAU status did not lead to its expulsion from the B1G. Florida State's continued efforts and plans to achieve AAU status, might be enough to earn it admission to the B1G. While Florida may seem to be perfectly happy in the SEC, joining other AAU schools in the B1G might be even more advantageous - and comfortable - if Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia were to join.
Consider the permanent crossover games the B1G plays. Revise this concept to the out of conference schedule.  Present the idea to schools like Texas, ND and Florida as ways to preserve their rivalries. I don't see scheduling as an obstacle. I think the B1G would have no quarrel with the Red River Rivalry being played in conjunction with the Texas State Fair.
When it comes to B1G expansion, I bet there are more players and much more on the table, than we know.

RBuck's picture

Great piece Andy. I hereby nominate you to be an honorary member of the staff.

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

AndyVance's picture

You're very kind, and I am officially blushing... Just enjoying the opportunity to share my observations with like-minded folks, and especially enjoying the conversation!

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

The magic number is 1.85 million. That's the margin right now, approximately. That's how many cable subscribers you'll have to bring to make it profitable for the Big Ten to add you. Kansas only guarantees about 1.1 million additional cable subscribers.
There are no schools left besides Texas, Florida State, and Notre Dame (unless you dive into the SEC) which will deliver enough TV sets to make it profitable for the B1G to add them.
The B1G may very well sit on 14 until the SEC raids a few ACC schools (probably NC State and VaTech). Then FSU will run off to the Big XII. Now that the ACC is crumbling, ND looks to the B1G for a home. And surprisingly - and intelligently - Delany stays at 15 teams, thus not needing to divide up an extra share. Since we're going to 9 conference games, it's perfect. Four protected matchups and five every other year games. Will never go more than two years without playing a team in the conference. Either the best two records meet in the conference championship game, or everyone goes to a 13 game schedule and they scrap the CCG and do it the old fashion way (best record).
 

Doc's picture

Andy, this is a great article.  Makes perfect sense, both financially and academically.  I like the addition of Mizzou and Ga. Tech.  Delaney went to UNC, adding them may ultimately be his master plan.  I would make a 20 team super conference and then have two 10 team divisions.  Putting us back as the BIG Ten.

"Say my name."

hail2victors9's picture

Andy, when is 11W going to hire you?

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

AndyVance's picture

Probably the day after an accurate prediction from the Mayans :)

Buckster's picture

If you want huge TV markets, go grab Boston College and get the huge Boston TV market.
It's all about new TV subscribers that increase the team payouts annually. The other stuff is nice to talk about.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I honestly think if we could get BC, then we could get ND, but that's just my opinion.

Menexenus's picture

This article is a fun read, but I think it misses and important fact exemplified by the recent history of B1G expansion, namely, Nebraska.  If TV markets were everything, the B1G would not have admitted Nebraska ahead of many of the other schools mentioned above.  It's easy to be cynical and claim that the almighty dollar decides every decision the B1G makes, but the Nebraska decision shows that it just isn't so. 
Don't kid yourself; Delany would love to get his hands on ND.  That would give the B1G all 5 of the top winningest programs in college football history.  And Delany is clearly a collector at heart...
Since he's not going to get ND, I think he should go after a basketball monolith instead.  Admit Kansas and Syracuse to the B1G.  (Maybe UConn and Kentucky, too.)  Then watch the B1G dominate college basketball forever!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

AndyVance's picture

Nebraska worked because it "fit" the Big Ten. Conferences tend to have members with similar taste/style, etc., and I think I outlined above what those similarities were... UNL is a marquee program that was a proverbial round peg in a round hole.
You're on target with basketball dominance, though. Admit UNC and Kansas, and you achieve the same type of longterm winning you're talking about. Syracuse and UK are much less likely to "fit" in the B1G club.

Menexenus's picture

Correction: I said getting ND would give the B1G all 5 of the winningest programs, but that was obviously a brain fart.  I meant 4 of the 5 winningest programs.  (Texas is #2.)  Duh!

Real fans stay for Carmen.

AndyVance's picture

Interesting: watching ESPN preview the Illinois/Mizzou basketball game tipping off later today... Analyst calls it the "most underrated non-conference rivalry in the country." Pod point, and perhaps one more reason for Delaney to poach Missouri from Slive & Co.