Conference Realignment

airspace

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Going back to 2010, Harvey Pearleman (then President of Nebraska before they were in the Big 10) made the statement in an interview (when how many teams in a conference), stated that he had seen models with as many as 24 to 27 schools. It was that comment and one made by Delaney that gave me the idea the Big 10 even back then was thinking national (centered around AAU, large research universities and state flagship schools).

There is a rumor on the west coast that Oregon and Washington are going to announce on Memorial day (there abouts) they are going to the Big 10. True or not, don't know. If one remembers, USC and UCLA announced when they did to avoid fees upon leaving by giving a years notice. Could this be what Oregon and Washington are doing if they are leaving (again don't know). The 4 corner schools are on the cusp of leaving.

I believe Georgia Tech will be fine when all is said and done. You are AAU, in a large metro area, large research institution and have been on the Big 10's list previously as a desired school. I believe it is in your institutions best interest to reach out to either the Big 10 or SEC as well as make the necessary change within your athletic department to make yourselves more attractive.
 

gameface

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The NU President reminds me a lot of the former president of Ohio State; the bow tie guy. He spouted off a lot of how the Big 10 was going to undercut the ACC by signing Rutgers and Maryland. He then moved on to WV as President; his alma mater. He started predicting how the B12 was going to break up the ACC.
 
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Richard7125

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A 16 team conference getting $100m per school ($1.6B total) is much better than a 24 team conference getting $85m per school ($2B total). Expansion will only happen if it increases the payout per school. Bigger isn’t better if it reduces the payout per school. That seems to be lost on so many people.

The SEC is adding Texas and Oklahoma; the Big10 is adding USC and UCLA. Those are massive football brands. It’s arguable, but there are probably only 2 or 3 schools left that move the needle like these schools (ND, FSU, maybe Clemson, maybe Oregon). Moreover, even if there were two Texas or Oklahomas still on the market, their added value would be less because it would be divided by an 18 team conference versus a 16 team conference.
 

stinger 1957

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A 16 team conference getting $100m per school ($1.6B total) is much better than a 24 team conference getting $85m per school ($2B total). Expansion will only happen if it increases the payout per school. Bigger isn’t better if it reduces the payout per school. That seems to be lost on so many people.

The SEC is adding Texas and Oklahoma; the Big10 is adding USC and UCLA. Those are massive football brands. It’s arguable, but there are probably only 2 or 3 schools left that move the needle like these schools (ND, FSU, maybe Clemson, maybe Oregon). Moreover, even if there were two Texas or Oklahomas still on the market, their added value would be less because it would be divided by an 18 team conference versus a 16 team conference.
It is apparent to many that the Big 10 wants to be a national conference, it seems they feel that is the only way they survive long term, or your points would make some sense. I imagine there will be both expansion and increase to existing schools but maybe not as big of increase to existing schools as you're talking about, at least in this expansion phase. I have a feeling that brand is not as important to them as media mkts for each school when you listen to Big 10 people and study what they are doing. Supposedly there will be future increases to the conference and their schools as time goes by, I'm getting my info from various sources on line and certainly they may not have it all right. I put the most stock in what I learn from the Big 10 school officials when I see something from them.
 

RonJohn

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A 16 team conference getting $100m per school ($1.6B total) is much better than a 24 team conference getting $85m per school ($2B total). Expansion will only happen if it increases the payout per school. Bigger isn’t better if it reduces the payout per school. That seems to be lost on so many people.

The SEC is adding Texas and Oklahoma; the Big10 is adding USC and UCLA. Those are massive football brands. It’s arguable, but there are probably only 2 or 3 schools left that move the needle like these schools (ND, FSU, maybe Clemson, maybe Oregon). Moreover, even if there were two Texas or Oklahomas still on the market, their added value would be less because it would be divided by an 18 team conference versus a 16 team conference.
One thing that came to my mind recently is that the recent additions might have another subtext to them. If the SEC and the Big10 want to be national, who can the SEC add in Southern California, and who can the Big10 add in Texas? It might be that The SEC added Texas while they already had A&M as a move to keep the Big10 out of Texas. It might be that the Big10 took both USC and UCLA so that the SEC has no way to get into Southern California.

If that is the case, that they are trying to lock each other out geographically, who could the SEC get in the Northeast or Midwest? ND is the only team to comes to mind, and I think that if ND were to join one of those two, they would be more at home with the Big10. Who could the SEC get in the West? Washington, Oregon, Arizona? There are rumors that two of those three are moving to the Big10 soon. The big problem for the SEC in this scenario is that the only thing keeping the Big10 out of the Southeast currently is the ACC GOR. Once the GOR is up, or nearly up, there is zero chance of the SEC hanging on to the Southeast as an exclusive region.

This is all pure speculation, and I am not predicting anything.
 

Techster

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Going back to 2010, Harvey Pearleman (then President of Nebraska before they were in the Big 10) made the statement in an interview (when how many teams in a conference), stated that he had seen models with as many as 24 to 27 schools. It was that comment and one made by Delaney that gave me the idea the Big 10 even back then was thinking national (centered around AAU, large research universities and state flagship schools).

There is a rumor on the west coast that Oregon and Washington are going to announce on Memorial day (there abouts) they are going to the Big 10. True or not, don't know. If one remembers, USC and UCLA announced when they did to avoid fees upon leaving by giving a years notice. Could this be what Oregon and Washington are doing if they are leaving (again don't know). The 4 corner schools are on the cusp of leaving.

I believe Georgia Tech will be fine when all is said and done. You are AAU, in a large metro area, large research institution and have been on the Big 10's list previously as a desired school. I believe it is in your institutions best interest to reach out to either the Big 10 or SEC as well as make the necessary change within your athletic department to make yourselves more attractive.

I'm almost certain when the B1G approached GT, they laid out a roadmap of what they eventually wanted to do, and modeled out the revenue. Maryland didn't leave and eat $30+ million because they enjoyed the freezing B1G weather and visiting Indiana and Iowa. They left the ACC because, even a decade ago, they knew the B1G teams were headed for lucrative payouts. The whole "hindsight is 20/20" defense for GT not leaving is a terrible excuse. B1G didn't go to GT on a wing and a prayer...they went to GT showing a financial model of future revenue streams. IMO, it came down to whether you had faith in Swofford/ACC or Delaney/B1G. The ACC has never done any favors for GT. GT had the right AD at the time as Radakovich was able to get GT an invite and pushed for the B1G, GT just didn't have leadership above our AD to see B1G's vision. In fact, if you read the AJC article I linked to earlier in the thread, it's quite depressing to know that GT's President at the time (Peterson) emphasized academics and was railing against college sports becoming too much of a business. College sports has ALWAYS been about business. The irony is, the B1G also has a great academic reputation, so GT and Peterson could have had our cake and eat it as well. You would think a league of AAU members would be exactly what GT and Peterson wanted, in addition to great sports conference and big media contract on the horizon.

I go through my ups and downs about GT getting another shot at the B1G. As the days go by, I'm starting to believe it will be more about "brands" than market. Cable is what makes markets important. Unfortunately, more and more people are cutting the cable cord...and that's a bad omen for GT. Then this came out the other day, which makes me worried about GT's prospects even more:


It's not a secret that the majority of media contracts are based on carriage fees...and that's where market location for schools is important. The problem is, a lot of people don't like the all-in one product of cable anymore, and are fine with ala carte channel subscriptions. In terms of how it applies to GT, it means teams with massive fanbases are a premium. It's why FSU and UNC are the highest on the wish list for the B1G.

We are not the flagship university in GA, and our fanbase is dwindling by the day. Either through aging, or apathy of our fan base. The last 4 years has eroded our fanbase even further. Unless GT goes on a 'Bama/UGA/Clemson type run, I really don't see our fanbase improving that much. We had the option to join one time, and we turned it down. We will reap what we sow if things don't work out for us.
 

CEB

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One thing that came to my mind recently is that the recent additions might have another subtext to them. If the SEC and the Big10 want to be national, who can the SEC add in Southern California, and who can the Big10 add in Texas? It might be that The SEC added Texas while they already had A&M as a move to keep the Big10 out of Texas. It might be that the Big10 took both USC and UCLA so that the SEC has no way to get into Southern California.

If that is the case, that they are trying to lock each other out geographically, who could the SEC get in the Northeast or Midwest? ND is the only team to comes to mind, and I think that if ND were to join one of those two, they would be more at home with the Big10. Who could the SEC get in the West? Washington, Oregon, Arizona? There are rumors that two of those three are moving to the Big10 soon. The big problem for the SEC in this scenario is that the only thing keeping the Big10 out of the Southeast currently is the ACC GOR. Once the GOR is up, or nearly up, there is zero chance of the SEC hanging on to the Southeast as an exclusive region.

This is all pure speculation, and I am not predicting anything.
In keeping with pure conjecture, just taking a look at a map of where people are and where the BIG / SEC aren’t, the mid Atlantic would seem to be the battleground. North Carolina and Virginia to be exact. I really have no idea how each conference is valuing new members at this point, but I think UNC and UVA will be welcomed in whichever conference they desire and will be highly sought after by both of this expansion business continues.
I don’t see what Clem or FSU add to the SEC at all, but popular wisdom has them as virtual locks to the SEC when the time comes. I don’t buy it, but what do I know?
If everything is headed toward streaming, does footprint even matter? Do you need a physical presence in a market if you have people in that market watching your networks / broadcasts? I would think not, and that takes away the ace we seemed to have up our sleeve.
If Clemson and FSU bring enough eyeballs, does the SEC even care that they are smack in the middle of the geographic footprint they already have?
Does the BIG need to come south geographically if tens of thousands of BIG fans move south and watch their broadcasts?
Everyone is watching GOR with much anticipation, but I’m actually starting to wonder if the model and merits of any of this will be applicable in ten - twelve years...
 

RonJohn

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If everything is headed toward streaming, does footprint even matter? Do you need a physical presence in a market if you have people in that market watching your networks / broadcasts? I would think not, and that takes away the ace we seemed to have up our sleeve.
If Clemson and FSU bring enough eyeballs, does the SEC even care that they are smack in the middle of the geographic footprint they already have?
In a streaming world, they won't get money from people who don't want the content. Forcing people who don't watch sports to pay for it has been a big part of the amount of money involved for the last 30 years. So, the "market" doesn't matter. However, if the big 2 are trying to grow a national football league, then being in the area would matter. What if the NFL only had teams east of the Mississippi? Would people in California watch it? What if there was another competing league in the West. Would people in the Southeast watch it? How many people in Oregon will subscribe to SEC content if the closest team to them is in Missouri? How many people in the Southeast are going to subscribe to Big10 content if they are all "yankee" and California teams?

As I said, I don't think the TV markets will matter as much, but you can't build a national brand if you are geographically limited.

As to Clemson and FSU in the SEC. It might happen. The big issue to me is that people seem to assume that things will always be the way they are at the current time. Clemson is a powerhouse, but they haven't always been. FSU was very good under Bowden until they weren't. They were good at the beginning under Fisher, then they weren't. They appear to be on the upswing now, but for how long. Even look at Alabama. They have a history of being good, but they also have periods of mediocrity. Ten years from now, Clemson and/or FSU might be irrelevant to bringing eyeballs nationally. If a fan puts together what he thinks the perfect conference would be of power football teams, five years later he will probably think he was smoking crack when he put it together. The NFL has, and has had, some powerhouse teams. But the NFL goes out of its way to try to get parity to keep fans across the nation engaged.
 

CEB

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As to Clemson and FSU in the SEC. It might happen. The big issue to me is that people seem to assume that things will always be the way they are at the current time. Clemson is a powerhouse, but they haven't always been. FSU was very good under Bowden until they weren't. They were good at the beginning under Fisher, then they weren't. They appear to be on the upswing now, but for how long. Even look at Alabama. They have a history of being good, but they also have periods of mediocrity. Ten years from now, Clemson and/or FSU might be irrelevant to bringing eyeballs nationally. If a fan puts together what he thinks the perfect conference would be of power football teams, five years later he will probably think he was smoking crack when he put it together. The NFL has, and has had, some powerhouse teams. But the NFL goes out of its way to try to get parity to keep fans across the nation engaged.
So, hypothetically, the investment is going to be in the programs that have the “infrastructure” to be successful rather than the programs that are currently successful? Infrastructure consists of $$$, facilities, fan base, and market /location. Once you have the programs with infrastructure in place, you need to foster competition to keep the fan and market aspects engaged.
That approach would tend to favor the larger schools with larger following in proximity to markets as opposed to schools actually in the market, would it not?
 

RamblinRed

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I don't disagree with that assessment, but I wouldn't have disagreed with it before reading this article either.

Where things are going to go is still unknown, and most likely unknown even to the people who have the most knowledge. Is the SEC really interested in ACC teams at all? North Carolina might make sense. Virginia might make sense. The Florida teams might add some compelling matchups, but think outside of what people in the Southeast are thinking. Oregon in the SEC could make for as compelling matchups as either FSU or Miami. It would spread the SEC outside of the Southeast/Southwest. People in the Southeast seem to forget that the Southeast isn't the entire country. Not everyone in the country is as involved in SEC sports as people in Atlanta. What if the SEC added Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Colorado instead of four ACC teams? The importance of TV markets is declining, but if the SEC remains geo-locked into the South, as the Big 10 becomes a national conference, where will most of the people in the country spend their attention? In the redneck South? or in the national brand that is either in their state or one state over?

I think the Big 10 will expand more. I think the SEC will expand more, and probably to areas that people are not thinking about currently. I think the teams in the ACC are locked in for at least another 7-10 years. The new Big 10 TV contract that eclipses the ACC contract will expire in 2030. The new SEC contract that eclipses the ACC contract will expire in 2034. I don't have a crystal ball, but that is when I expect things to really shake up. The Big 10 or SEC might add Oregon and Washington very soon as the PAC12 doesn't have a new TV contract yet. However, I don't see any teams leaving the ACC until years from now.
This is my view right now.
The Big 2 have expanded with programs that were in conferences with media contracts that were coming up in a year or two.
If there is going to be any expansion right now it is likely PAC teams where they don't currently have a media contract. But that is assuming either of the Big 2 feel a need to add them.
In Hale's tweet's he mentioned the ACC looked at expanding with some PAC teams (including OR and WA) and the financials didn't make sense. If they didn't make sense to the ACC, they may also not make sense to the B1G.
 

cpf2001

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In Hale's tweet's he mentioned the ACC looked at expanding with some PAC teams (including OR and WA) and the financials didn't make sense. If they didn't make sense to the ACC, they may also not make sense to the B1G.
Or the ACC is just bad at money. ;)

But personally I don’t think Oregon/Washington are actually that valuable here. They aren’t that prominent.

I think they are in the same boat as GT where you’re gonna need the conferences to bet on “the only way the denominator keeps going up - or doesn’t go down dramatically - is if we don’t alienate the rest of the country who are also casual viewers of B1G/SEC games.” I’ll watch those matchups today since I’m already paying for cable to get GT; I wouldn’t pay for it if GT wasn’t in the same league.
 

stinger 1957

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I've never been of the opinion that the SEC was even interested in being a National conference. I believe media mkts is ahead of brands by a long shot when you're looking at the long game. Brands come and go with winning/losing coaches. Therefore those making the business decisions of who to ask to join their conference will make their decisions based on media over brand. The one place I think brand figures in is when a school is the states or areas flagship and in the Big 10's case if they are a great academic/research or AAU institution and the flagship school - UNC comes to mind. GT is not the states flagship school, but we check all the other boxes, academics/research, media mkt bigtime, AAU and a past history of good brand on Nat'l scale, knowing we can get there again. The flagship school in GA is missing two important ingredients for the Big 10, academics/research and AAU. I still believe if the Big 10 comes south and goes to FL they will want the state of GA and GT is the only school at this time that fits their requirements in the state of GA.
I do think GT needs to do whatever the Big 10 needs us to do thus the hiring of our new AD, a money raiser. How we get from here to there is the big question for every school that wants to move on. Swafford left himself one hell of a legacy as commissioner.
 

dmurdock

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There is one saving grace for the ACC: Notre Dame.

If the ACC can convince ND to join as a full member, the ACC could change the Big 2 into the Big 3. ND's current TV contract goes through the 2024 season, so this would have to happen within the next year or so. In order to make this happen, Phillips would need to team up with ESPN and convince ND of two things:
  • Full membership in the ACC is financially more profitable to ND than partial membership and a standalone football TV contract. That means that ESPN would have to present a fully executable re-worked contract for the ACC with Notre Dame and 1 other team (Navy would be a good choice) added. And the "more profitable" part needs to be a significant amount to overcome the Irish's desire to remain independent.
  • Remaining an independent in football will not be sustainable in the near future with all the changes that are or will be occurring. Not sure how they are going to accomplish it, but they need to show a dire future for Notre Dame without being in a conference.
This won't happen. I think the Irish will command too high of a price by themselves vs what they could get from the ACC/ESPN to convince ND to give up their independence. When they do sign another TV deal it will be another nail in the ACC's coffin.
 

forensicbuzz

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Or the ACC is just bad at money. ;)

But personally I don’t think Oregon/Washington are actually that valuable here. They aren’t that prominent.

I think they are in the same boat as GT where you’re gonna need the conferences to bet on “the only way the denominator keeps going up - or doesn’t go down dramatically - is if we don’t alienate the rest of the country who are also casual viewers of B1G/SEC games.” I’ll watch those matchups today since I’m already paying for cable to get GT; I wouldn’t pay for it if GT wasn’t in the same league.
It wasn't that many years ago that Washington was one of the powerhouse programs in the US, a la Clemson. I have always felt that the teams go as the coaches go. When you get a great coach, you rise to the top, when you have mediocre coaching, you're only so-so. That is the reason the SEC has been so successful recently. They spend money to get the best coaches, which in turn gets the best talent and does the most with it.
 

Vespidae

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I've never been of the opinion that the SEC was even interested in being a National conference. I believe media mkts is ahead of brands by a long shot when you're looking at the long game. Brands come and go with winning/losing coaches. Therefore those making the business decisions of who to ask to join their conference will make their decisions based on media over brand. The one place I think brand figures in is when a school is the states or areas flagship and in the Big 10's case if they are a great academic/research or AAU institution and the flagship school - UNC comes to mind. GT is not the states flagship school, but we check all the other boxes, academics/research, media mkt bigtime, AAU and a past history of good brand on Nat'l scale, knowing we can get there again. The flagship school in GA is missing two important ingredients for the Big 10, academics/research and AAU. I still believe if the Big 10 comes south and goes to FL they will want the state of GA and GT is the only school at this time that fits their requirements in the state of GA.
I do think GT needs to do whatever the Big 10 needs us to do thus the hiring of our new AD, a money raiser. How we get from here to there is the big question for every school that wants to move on. Swafford left himself one hell of a legacy as commissioner.
With all due respect, I disagree. This feels to me like an echo chamber … telling Tech fans what they want to hear.

Tech is not attractive to the B1G. Average GT viewership is 615K .. half of Louisville and even less than half compared to Miami. OSU averages 5M viewers a week … so Tech at 615K is massively dilutive.

Tech does not have the interest or resources to compete at the national level. I’m not being negative, just realistic. Would changing conferences change the culture? No. We are basically a Vandy or service academy type school.

I would be willing to bet the B1G has expectations as to the size and reach of the athletic budget and we would be a very weak addition. I doubt we could match expectations.

I can detail all the numbers but fixing the ACC is probably our best bet. Jumping from having no influence in the ACC to no influence in the B1G seems like a lateral move.

This remains speculation. I’m convinced when J Batt announces it but I’m not holding my breath.
 

4shotB

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The flagship school in GA is missing two important ingredients for the Big 10, academics/research and AAU. I still believe if the Big 10 comes south and goes to FL they will want the state of GA and GT is the only school at this time that fits their requirements in the state of GA.
None of this really matters. I know alumns of most of the SEC schools and there is no way in hell that anyone of them would want to leave the SEC. The history and tradition is just too rich. perhaps Vandy might and maybe (?) Ky and Mizzou but the rest of them are content where they are. even the USCe, Miss State, Ole Miss schools which don't compete for championships outside of the minor sports are happy where they are at imo.
 

forensicbuzz

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With all due respect, I disagree. This feels to me like an echo chamber … telling Tech fans what they want to hear.

Tech is not attractive to the B1G. Average GT viewership is 615K .. half of Louisville and even less than half compared to Miami. OSU averages 5M viewers a week … so Tech at 615K is massively dilutive.

Tech does not have the interest or resources to compete at the national level. I’m not being negative, just realistic. Would changing conferences change the culture? No. We are basically a Vandy or service academy type school.

I would be willing to bet the B1G has expectations as to the size and reach of the athletic budget and we would be a very weak addition. I doubt we could match expectations.

I can detail all the numbers but fixing the ACC is probably our best bet. Jumping from having no influence in the ACC to no influence in the B1G seems like a lateral move.

This remains speculation. I’m convinced when J Batt announces it but I’m not holding my breath.
With all due respect, this is not what I've heard from B1G people in the know and other highly placed administrators.
 

cpf2001

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It wasn't that many years ago that Washington was one of the powerhouse programs in the US, a la Clemson. I have always felt that the teams go as the coaches go. When you get a great coach, you rise to the top, when you have mediocre coaching, you're only so-so. That is the reason the SEC has been so successful recently. They spend money to get the best coaches, which in turn gets the best talent and does the most with it.
Agreed about the money, but there’s a cultural difference with a lot of the west coast schools though, similar with GT.

Where I live in CA, UW is known for academics and I see pretty much as many GT shirts as UW shirts come football season. (Not a lot of either). When I’ve been in Seattle in the fall it’s been similar. It’s not at all like Atlanta in the fall for SEC schools. UW has the city campus thing, the good academic thing, and just the general West Coast relative indifference to college sports thing too.

Oregon is better positioned in a lot of those areas but I don’t know if it’s enough.
 

RonJohn

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I can detail all the numbers but fixing the ACC is probably our best bet. Jumping from having no influence in the ACC to no influence in the B1G seems like a lateral move.
Money in the Big10 is better. Since you are in academics, would being in the Big10 Academic Alliance be good for academics and for research? It seems to me that the Big10 is the only conference that actually puts all of the athletics, research, and academics pieces together.

I don't disagree that GT doesn't fill all of the boxes to be attractive to the Big10. However, using average viewership isn't necessarily a good measuring stick. Any team on a regional network at 12:30PM is going to have low viewership. The reasons that GT is on Bally Sports at 12:30 are concerning, not the results of being there.
 
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