SEC headed to a big payday in 2010

 

 

Destin—Some final thoughts on the annual SEC Spring Meetings, which officially end this afternoon:

Like it not, the SEC is headed into a new, and better, era: Competitively it was another great year for the SEC with national championships in football (Florida), women’s track and field (Tennessee), women’s gymnastics (Georgia) and men’s swimming and diving (Auburn). The league may pick up a few more championships before the spring sports are done.

The SEC has won three straight national championships in football and four of the last six. Florida, the defending champ, will be a consensus No. 1 when the 2009 season begins and gives the league a real chance to make it four straight titles.

But last night when the SEC held its annual awards banquet, Commissioner Mike Slive said that the conference, which a year ago celebrated its 75th anniversary, is headed “into a new and exciting era.”

A big reason for that optimism about the future is the two new television contracts with CBS and ESPN which will begin this fall. Those two contracts alone will pump almost $3 billion (yes, that’s Billion with a B) into the conference over the next 15 years.

Let me put that number into perspective: Later on today the SEC will announce another record for shared revenue from televised football, basketball, and bowl games. A year ago that figure was $127.2 million, or about $10.6 million per school. There will be nice little bump in that today.

But year from today, after the new TV contracts kick in, each school could be receiving in the neighborhood of $17 million or more each.

So while schools in other conferences are going to quit printing media guides and are asking employees to take furloughs, the SEC is going to get an unprecedented infusion of cash.

“Naturally our members are excited about the kind of opportunity this presents,” Slive said. “But we also know that we have to be smart with the resources we have. Nobody is recession proof.”

If you’re a fan of the SEC all this means that the future looks good. If you’re a competitor of the SEC, you know this league is not going to be backing down.

 

Utah, Boise State to the Rose Bowl? It could happen soon: Over the course of the week I found out that there is an interesting little nugget in the new BCS contract with ESPN, which will begin after the 2010 regular season.

In past contracts if the Rose Bowl lost one of its traditional partners, the Big Ten or Pac-10 champ, to the BCS championship game, it could simply fill with another Big Ten or Pac-10 team that qualified. That’s how a 9-3 Illinois team got to Pasadena two years ago.

But in the new contract, I’m told, there is an interesting clause: The first time in the deal that the Rose loses one of its champions to the BCS title game, that opening will be automatically filled by a Coalition (non-BCS conference) team if one has qualified.

For example: Let’s say Southern Cal wins the Pac-10 and qualifies for the BCS championship game in 2010. And let’s say Utah or Boise State goes undefeated again the wins the Mountain West or WAC. That team, if it doesn’t get into the big game, would automatically go to the Rose, where no Coalition team has played before.

What’s the significance of this, you ask? It is another way that the BCS is increasing access of the five Coalition conferences to all of the games in system. Should the BCS get sued and hauled back before Congress, it is another way it can counter the claim that the Coalition schools don’t have enough access.

 

Mark your TV calendars:  The complete football television picture in the SEC won’t be clear until the league’s preseason media days on July 22-24 in Hoover, Ala. ESPN officials told me they will make a complete presentation then that will make it clear where you can find your favorite games on Saturday.

But just to review: In the new TV deals, CBS will get the first pick from the inventory of games on a given Saturday. The big change is that the rest of the games will belong to ESPN, which is paying the SEC $2.25 billion over the next 15 years for that right. ESPN will place those games on their various platforms (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN.360 on the internet). The games it cannot televise will go to other outlets such as CSS and FOX Sports South.

CBS has already locked in some dates and times. CBS will begin its ninth year with the SEC by televising Tennessee at Florida on Sept. 19 at 3:30 p.m. Given what has happened since Lane Kiffin got to Tennessee, there may be some interest in that game.

CBS has a pair of doubleheaders planned on Oct. 10 and Nov. 14. Nothing is set in stone but you can pretty much bet that the prime time (8 p.m. Eastern) game on Oct. 10 will be Florida at LSU.  I’ll be surprised if the early game (3:30 p.m. Eastern) isn’t Alabama at Ole Miss.

As announced earlier, CBS has moved the Alabama-Auburn game to Friday, Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving. It did that in order to get wider exposure for the game and so that it could also broadcast Florida State at Florida on Nov. 28. If CBS had not made that move, one of those games would have gone to ESPN.

 

There are some special kids in this league: One of the things that never gets mentioned on the sports pages and sports blogs is that there some incredible kids playing college sports. When you become a mom or dad you start to notice these kinds of things. So bear with me a moment while I get off topic. After all, it is Friday and so I invoke by own rule to stray from the subject of football.

Last night the SEC honored 24 male and female athletes for academic excellence. Two received the Boyd McWhorter scholarships of $15,000 which will be applied to post-graduate study. The female winner was Tennessee swimmer Christine Magnuson, who won two silver medals in the 2008 Olympics while carrying a 3.68 grade point average.

The male winner was Ole Miss tennis star Bram ten Berge, who came to Oxford from his home in the Netherlands. “I knew I wasn’t going to be a pro but I had a chance to get an education by playing tennis,” he said. “We don’t have that in my home country.” Ten Berge graduated with a 3.97 GPA in the Classics and, based on his academic performance at Ole Miss, is headed to Michigan on a full fellowship that will allow him to get his Master’s and Doctorate degrees.

Christine Magnuson made an interesting point to commissioner Slive last night. There were a bunch of Olympians from the SEC in Beijing. Had the SEC been a country, she said, it would have finished fourth in the medal count with a total of 51 behind only the United States (110), China (100), and Russia (72).

 

Thanks for a great year. See you in July: The end of the SEC meetings also marks the end of the season for Mr. College Football. After visiting with you five days a week since mid-March, I’m going to take a break for a while and return on July 6. If something big happens in college football I’ll jump back in for a day and we’ll chat.

Before I go I really want to thank you ladies and gentlemen. Wherever I travel people say nice things about this blog and the interest in it. I simply tell them that I blog with the most knowledgeable college football fans in the world who are very passionate about their sport. You don’t always agree with me and you shouldn’t. You keep me on my toes. I like that and I appreciate that. It makes me better.

When I get back we will be only three weeks away from SEC Media Days in Birmingham. If you thought Lane Kiffin-Urban Meyer was fun down here, can you imagine what it will be like in front of 700 media people in July?

Be safe. And don’t forget the sunscreen.

 

 

125 comments Add your comment

Bill

May 29th, 2009
9:39 am

Tony-

Thanks and have a good summer.

Roll Tide

Whattheheck

May 29th, 2009
9:45 am

isnt it great when universities have their priorities in order? i mean, dont bother with actually improving the education level of the second and third tier schools that make up the SEC (except for Vanderbilt). No, just make sure the athletic department makes a lot of money so that kids that dont know how to read can get a diploma from a university.

Great Job SEC.

Whattheheck

May 29th, 2009
9:47 am

and btw, if anyone of you are thinking that the money coming in through the athletic department is anything, take a look at what top tier schools bring in for research money. Tech’s college of engineering brings in more than that itself. of course, you have to have a decent school in order to do that.

Too bad. at least with the SEC, our illiterate will have something to put on their wall to show off. Of course, they wont know what it says, but it will have a pretty picture of an alligator.

Rational Citizen

May 29th, 2009
9:48 am

With the economy leveling off, but still in very serious trouble, it’s more imperative than ever that America begins debating the pros and cons of the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana. For those of you living in Gwinnett County, the recent debate over raising property taxes by 25% should be incentive enough for you to contact your local, state and federal politicians to demand that America begin to at least discuss the possibility of repealing our outdated prohibition against marijuana so we can begin creating jobs here in America and deliver much-needed tax revenues to state and local governments.

The 3 main reasons I support LRT: as a means of raising tax revenues which can be used to fund education and healthcare; as a means of reducing the caseload in our judicial system; and as a means of crippling Mexican drug cartels who are infiltrating our cities.

Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States, with an estimated market of between $60-100 billion (BILLION!). Our current policy of prohibition is essentially ceding this very lucrative market to organized crime. Through LRT we can create jobs here in America, which will in turn generate much needed tax revenues that can be used to fund education, healthcare or infrastructure projects.

Our local prosecutors are swamped with simple possession cases that are currently clogging our judicial system. For every individual arrested on a simple possession charge, we are paying for his arrest, adjudication, and, for some, incarceration. Through LRT we can allow our prosecutors to focus on more serious issues, like violent crime.

Marijuana currently accounts for 60% of all the revenues that Mexican drug cartels bring in each year. By legalizing marijuana we can deprive these cartels of a major and very reliable source of funding. The prohibition of marijuana has had the same perverse effects that the prohibition of alcohol did: we have simple emboldened and enriched organized crime. Almost no one doubts that the prohibition of alcohol was a disaster…why would we expect anything different with marijuana?

Prohibition has been tried and has failed miserably. It’s time America had a rational discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of legalization. By regulating marijuana the same way we regulate alcohol we can begin capitalizing on a market that is bigger than wheat and corn, combined.

LEGALIZATION. REGULATION. TAXATION.

Bamafan

May 29th, 2009
9:48 am

Tony,
We will here from you next week when the NCAA gives the crimson tide a slap on the wrist for the
stupid textbook investigation. Have a good summer and hope to hear you on Coach Matthews radio show in the future and don’t forget to eat at Stroud’s when you come to Music City!!
ROLL TIDES!!

Bamafan

May 29th, 2009
9:53 am

Rational Citizen move to Cali or Mexico if you want to smoke dope all day!!

Jack from Suwanee

May 29th, 2009
9:55 am

Enter your comments here

Nachos

May 29th, 2009
10:09 am

Only losers post such long comments. Go away stoner.

Seriously?

May 29th, 2009
10:12 am

Well he ends with a great SEC homer rant…You sure aren’t biased are you Tony? Now how are all the uga fans going to complain about “espin” when they will be talking up the ENTIRE SEC (instead of just tebow and USCw)? So let me get this straight…ESPN is going to televise SEC games….thus they will be a big proponent of these games to get more people to watch them….and then they will also have the BCS contracts as well??? Hmm, I wonder who they will want to get the most exposure in big time bowls?

Now yes, the SEC has some great teams and most of the time they have certainly deserved to go to the bowls that they went to….but….ESPN has too much influence on a sport that CHOOSES its Title game based on opinions, polls, and some computers. This is troubling for anyone not in the SEC.

DawgGirl32

May 29th, 2009
10:13 am

Great article, Tony. It sure is great to be an SEC fan, as evidenced by the jealous posters on this blog.

Jacket Attack

May 29th, 2009
10:13 am

Had the SEC been a country, she said, it would have finished fourth in the medal count with a total of 51 behind only the United States (110), China (100), and Russia (72).

Interesting. But she’d also have a higher crime rate than Bogota, Columbia.

UT96

May 29th, 2009
10:19 am

Rational Citizen, great post and agree with you 100%. No one can make the argument that smoking pot is any worse than drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. And for the record, I don’t dring, smoke pot or smoke cigarettes. This is a common sense issue in my humble opinion. P.S.- they should also legalize prostitution

Cameron

May 29th, 2009
10:24 am

Seriously?

Why do you think ESPN wants the rights to the BCS and the SEC? Ratings. That is what TV is all about. Ratings bring in ad revenue, which brings in profits. It is as simple as supply and demand. Why do you think they talk about the Yankees-Red Sox, Cowboys, Duke-North Carolina, LeBron, Kobe, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning? That is what people want to hear about, that is what gets the ratings.

The SEC is by far the best conference and everyone knows it. Sure, there is good football in other places. Maybe even better sprinlked somewhere (USC). But, the SEC will bring them ratings, as will the BCS. The SEC earned it by raising the quality of football being played in the conference. If this concept troubles you, blame yourself and every other fan who creates the demand that ESPN capitalizes on.

Miles

May 29th, 2009
10:24 am

Mr. Barnhart, take your wife on a vacation. She’s earned it.

Cameron

May 29th, 2009
10:26 am

UT96

Way to flaunt your education buddy. I will give you a pass on marijiuana, even though I don’t think it should be legalized. But, prostitution? Seriously? Go back to UT, buddy.

Got 12?

May 29th, 2009
10:26 am

For the fans of other conferences who are jealous of the SEC’s on-field and commercial success, simply start going to your team’s games and buying more merchandise. That’s how the SEC has gotten where it is today–fan support.

The SEC has led the nation in attendance (percentage of capacity) since 1983-when the NCAA started keeping the stat. I’m pretty sure we are tops in merchandising as well. That brings television contracts which brings more exposure with brings the best coaches who improve play and attract the best players.

Stop whining and complaining! Go support your team!

gatorman770

May 29th, 2009
10:28 am

Rational Citizen, the alcohol industry and the drug industies contribute too much money to money hungry congressman of both parties to keep it illegal. Just think what the legalization would do to just the drug companies multibillion dollar sleeping-pill industry that pull in 18-19% profit (while the oil companies were bashed by the likes of Owl Gore for 7-9% profits…go figure).

Seriously?

May 29th, 2009
10:29 am

Cameron – I get that SEC football is the best current brand. I don’t like how ESPN is able to capitalize on both SEC and BCS because the BCS is based on polls/opinions/computers that ESPN has a sizeable influence on. Do you not see this as sort of conflict of interest scenario? Take off your SEC shades for a minute.

Tide rising

May 29th, 2009
10:34 am

Tony,

Thanks for the articles and we’ll see you in July.

Nice for him to end the column for awhile by talking about the SEC’s burgeoning prominence and success. Just when you think SEC football can’t get any bigger or better we outdo ourselves even more. We’ve only got a mere 2 months or so to get through before they start August preseason practices. I can hardly wait. Rolls Tides.

stinger

May 29th, 2009
10:37 am

Whattheheck and rational citizen, STFU or take it to the political blogs.

AUtiger

May 29th, 2009
10:37 am

When is bama going on probation?

Seriously?

May 29th, 2009
10:37 am

Maybe UT can out do themselves and beat Wyoming, Vandy can beat Duke, Auburn can beat anyone, MSU can beat anyone…..SEC is a great league, but don’t get ahead of yourself there Tide rising. UL Monroe aint too far in the past…

Cameron

May 29th, 2009
10:41 am

I agree that ESPN shouldn’t have so much influence over who plays in the BCS games. Look at what happened two years ago with UGA, they came out and said that UGA shouldn’t play for the NC because they didn’t win their own conference. Sure enough, LSU went instead of us. It works both ways. In the end, ESPN and other media outlets are going to pump up the best teams. But, when it is close say between Notre Dame and UGA for the last spot to play, say USC, in the NC game, do you really think they are going to push for UGA just because they are in the SEC. No, Notre Dame will be pushed into the game, if at all possible, because they would offer higher ratings. Is ESPN to blame? Sure. But, they just want to mazimize their profits. Is the BCS to blame for even having a system where this can be exploiting? Absolutely. But, it doesn’t look like it is going to change any time soon. Therefore, this all comes back to average Joe fan for being intrigued by who they are intrigued by. When it comes down to it, ESPN will push for the bigger teams in the bigger markets with the most tradition that offer the most ratings and money.

Trip

May 29th, 2009
10:41 am

PAUL JOHNSON!!!

UT96

May 29th, 2009
10:41 am

Ok Cameron, let’s here your reasons for not legalizing Prostitution. It’s legal and regulated in Nevada and there hasn’t been a spike in crime because of it. So, come on, give me some valid reasons.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 29th, 2009
10:44 am

YOU WANT STUDENT ATHLETES; I’LL GIVE YOU STUDENT ATHLETES!!!

Kristi Miller graduated last year from GT with a 4.0 and a National Championship in Tennis. (She’s cute too). I SAID A 4.0!!!!!!

Whitney Haller (She’s cute too) just won the ACC Championship, 1st team Academic All American in Softball and will be graduating soon with a 3.8 something (One B in her career at GT).

We’re not talking about Basket weaving or Principles of Basketball classes either.

Yes Tony, there are some good kids in the SEC, but the great kids are in the ACC.

Seriously?

May 29th, 2009
10:45 am

Cameron – Agreed. The BCS is crap…but i can’t stop watching it…

Huh?

May 29th, 2009
10:48 am

Please allow me to translate whattheheck’s posts: “I’m a whiny crybaby wet the bed Techie that is insanely jealous of SEC athletics. I will pretend not to care about athletics in an attempt to divert attention from the historic mediocrity of the teams that I support, but my pontification on blogs such as this suggests otherwise. I took calculus and my soul is more fundamentally pure than yours because I went to Georgia Tech and you did not.”

SEC alum here and I am clearly not illiterate. As you can see, I can even read between the lines. You sir are dismissed.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 29th, 2009
10:48 am

Daryl Richard got his degree from GT in 3 years, when it takes most mortals 5 years…He was the DT on the team that put a 45-42 beat down on the fleabags. He’s now working on his MBA.

What?, Huh? Yeah, get you some of that.

RAMBLE ON!!!

May 29th, 2009
10:51 am

Huh? which would you like to be called the kettle or the pot?

Got 12?

May 29th, 2009
10:51 am

AUTiger,

There’s a of Auburn stuff you should excited about and proud of–new head coach, new high-paid coaching staff, new and exciting recruiting tactics–but all you have to look forward to is possible NCAA sanctions against Bama.

You guys are simply pAUthetic.

Rational Citizen

May 29th, 2009
10:51 am

Bamafan, does everyone you know that drinks alcohol drink all day? If you drink, are you drunk right now? If you want to argue, then bring some facts and a coherent message to the table.

Nachos, just because your reading comprehension skills are so poor as to not allow you to get through my post, that’s no reason to start accusing anyone of being a stoner. And by your logic, does that mean that anyone who drinks alcohol is a drunk or an alcoholic?

Again, all I’m calling for is a rational discussion of the benefits and drawbacks. I’ve presented some of the benefits, with facts to back it up. The least anyone who disagrees with me can do is argue based on something more than emotion.

Justin

May 29th, 2009
10:55 am

I’ll take this moment to express thanks that I have nothing what-so-ever to do with the cry babies of the ACC.

When it comes to football (the subject of this blog), nothing beats the SEC!

Wil Walton

May 29th, 2009
10:56 am

Rational Citizen, I’m not sure that the Mr. College Football blog is the appropriate platform to voice your opinion about politics.

AUtiger

May 29th, 2009
10:57 am

Where will Nick Saban go to next after bama goes on probation? Will he stay in the SEC or go elsewhere?

Justin

May 29th, 2009
10:58 am

btw…the “rational citizen” handle is clearly a misnomer. Any “rational” person could see this blog is about football. Not dope, not smoke and not drink. What possible good do you expect from posting your propaganda here?

Gator Nation

May 29th, 2009
10:59 am

Thanks Tony for a great blog. Enjoy your time away.

Go Gators!

Tide rising

May 29th, 2009
11:01 am

AUtiger,

We will pretty much just get a slap on the wrist on the textbook issue and may not lose any schollies at all. If we do it will be probably 2 to 4 max schollies lost over 2 years. No big deal.

If all you’ve been reduced to is hoping and praying that Saban leaves Bama then that is indeed a sad indictment of the state of Auburn football. You should spend more time worrying about finding a head coach then hoping against all hope that Saban leaves.

BTW, how is the search for a head coach going? When are ya’ll going to hire one?

Trip

May 29th, 2009
11:01 am

Remember: PAUL JOHNSON!!!

G8R GRAD

May 29th, 2009
11:02 am

Thanks for a great ride, TB.
Have a great summer and we’ll see ya in July.
And if you get to Gulf Shores/Orange Beach/Perdido Key, don’t miss the Flora-Bama!

Georgia Gator

May 29th, 2009
11:03 am

Rational Citizen,

Is it true that your birthday is 4/20?

AUtiger

May 29th, 2009
11:04 am

I went to Auburn and I wonder how many people here can say they actually went to college. I love my alma matter and don’t care who is the head coach, unlike a bunch closet bammer fans who come out only when you have a big name coach and a good season.

Justin

May 29th, 2009
11:05 am

Tide Rising….what an appropriate name for a fan of the “free cruise” school.

Haven’t heard yet?

You will.

ACCgrad

May 29th, 2009
11:06 am

Congrats to the SEC for its big TV contract. But aside from Vanderbilt, there isn’t a single school in the SEC that I would allow my children to attend. As Randy Newman sang about LSU grads: “Go in dumb, come out dumb, strolling ’round Atlanta in their alligator shoes…”

Huh?

May 29th, 2009
11:06 am

“45-42 beat down”

Ramble On, which would you like to be called? Dumb or dumber?

Kid Ray

May 29th, 2009
11:07 am

good job TB; see you on the other side.

reservoirDAWG

May 29th, 2009
11:08 am

Total agreement.

Frozen_Gator

May 29th, 2009
11:17 am

Thanks Tony,I always look forward to your articles and will miss it until July…………….If you think that the SEC is prestigous now, just give the ESPN hype machine about 2 yrs. The Big ten and Pac ten had better take this seriously and act or the SEC will separate itself much farther than it allready is and do it much faster. But, that’s OK by me.

Bamafan

May 29th, 2009
11:17 am

Rational Citizen I work for a medical laboratory in Nashville and I see a lot of people with drug problems and alcohol problems. Many young people start off using mary jane and get caught up with
the heavy drugs and really makes a living hell out of themselves and gets in trouble with the law. Some states have made dope legal for cancer patients and I can understand the thinking behind the decision, but I am against making dope legal for the average every day person!!

Tide rising

May 29th, 2009
11:20 am

Justin,

Very good. Just another unsubstantiated rumor coming from an Auburn blogger. You guys are pretty good at that. But then again when Saban is cleaning your clock in the instate recruiting battles I guess you got to resort to some desperate measures like fictitious recruiting stories to try to stem the Tide so to speak.

I’ve got a standing reward of $1,000 to any Auburn fan who can produce evidence of stuff like the Gadsden rumors or in your case your newfound rumor about free cruises. So far no takers. I guess money talks and boolsheeters like yourself walk. When you can produce evidence more substantial than rumors that started on Auburn message boards then please let me know. Otherwise just STFU.