Big Ten – The Last Big Sports Deal

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


The Big Ten’s media rights are all locked up. They will begin in 2017 and according to John Ourand of SBJ it’s a deal that very much falls in favor of the Big Ten and not the networks. One thing is certain about this deal from the networks perspective, it is the last time you’ll probably see a massive price increase.

People have been pointing to the Big Ten’s media deal for a few years now. The Big Ten was the last one of the Power Five conferences to sign a new deal and many people believe that this deal was either not going to be the typical windfall or would only increase slightly. Well it looks like it will mean $20 million a year more to the conference teams so it’s safe to say that the concerns were almost valid.

The real interesting part of this is ESPN’s late entry. They were in, then left the bidding and then returned to win part of the contract. Some thought they wouldn’t bid or would try to leverage some kind of lower end deal. In the end, they ponied up like they always do even after a very low opening bid.

Another interesting thing is that there is no mention of the Big Ten hoarding it’s digital rights. I along with other cord cutters were hoping that the Big Ten would keep it’s digital rights and sell them as a stand alone package on Amazon or through it’s own site. There was no mention of this to this point and it shows that the Big Ten had to use all it’s leverage to squeeze as much as it possibly could from this deal.

This will be the last time the major networks shell out this kind of cash though. The consumer is at a breaking point and are starting to refuse anymore price increases to support these kinds of transactions. ESPN knows this which is probably why they had such a low opening bid.

While this deal is great for the Big Ten and its teams it is the last hurrah for deals such as this. Networks are not going to be ponying up huge amounts of cash in the future and it is time that the sports leagues and conferences look to splitting out their packages and doing what I call the Jeff Bezos, less money out of each user but having a wider user base.

 

Does The NCAA Need A New Leader?

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

With the opening of fall camp for college football the talk seems to be on everything off the field rather than what’s going on on the field. The main focus of the media attention, and the NCAA, has been on Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football) and to some extent Jadeveon Clowney. The attention is warrented since they are the two biggest names in college football right now however the NCAA is in a horrible position as far as investigating any wrong doing by either player.

Did they or did they not take money for signing autographs?‘ This seems to be the main point that the NCAA is looking into as far as Manziel and Clowney are concerned. The NCAA is still reeling from a botched investigation of the University of Miami and has had an apparent “brain drain” when it comes to investigators. The NCAA also does not have subpoena power outside of it’s jurisdiction. Meaning that someone outside of the NCAA (buisness owner, fan, family member) does not have to talk to the NCAA or turn over any documentation.

NCAA INVESTIGATIONS

While member schools attempt to abide by the NCAA rules, the NCAA is quickly losing credability with universities, athletes and fans.

Is it time for a change at the top?

MARK EMMERT

Mark Emmert has been in charge for a little over three years now and has been by far the most visible President in NCAA history. However he may not be the person to take the NCAA into the 21st century.

Recently Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos purchased the iconic newspaper The Washington Post. While this is making big headlines no one really knows what its going to mean for the paper. Most seem to agree that a tech titan like Bezos with his bottomless checkbook and business track record could be the one to turn the Post, and the print journalism industry as whole for that matter, once again into a profit center.

JEFF BEZOS

Should the NCAA look into someone similar to lead them on their road back to credability? Maybe a more forward thinking person who will embrace the new challenges in this every changing world? Someone with experience implementing change in such a large organization and a track round outside of academia? Someone who can see into the future a little better, make adjustments, and still enforce rules?

Someone like a former General Stanley McChrystal. Here is a former General who led combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Someone who had to adapt to a new enemy and implement change in an organization that is very slow to recognize it.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

With or whithout change at the top the NCAA has a credability issue. It botched a major investigation, got caught being hypocritical, and is doing a poor job of listening to the public and the universities they oversee. Change better come soon or we could soon see the industry run over the regulator.