I was going to run an expansion round-up tomorrow, but with the news out today, I couldn't hold off. John Ourand and Michael Smith from From SportsBusinessJournal.com reported earlier today that ESPN and the Big East are negotiating an extension on the current TV rights deal. As it stands, the Big East has to split $36 million between its 16 and soon to be 17 member schools, and according to SBJ, ESPN is already offering somewhere in the $110-130 million range yearly, which would bring each Big East football school around, how much Voodoo?
OK. If the contract value is 80M hoops and 40M football, USF gets $8.7M/year. A 90/30 split gets them $8.3M/year.
I understand why both sides would want to agree to a new deal. For ESPN, it would mean locking up the best basketball conference in the country for the foreseeable future without having other bidders like Fox and NBC/Comcast jump in and drive up the price. On the Big East side, it would give each school a huge increase in revenues for each member, and it would calm down the talk of a split for the time being. Some schools would like to wait and see what type of proposals the conference would get in the open market, but unless something crazy happens, I think the Big East will be on the four letter network for a long time.
- Chaz from Pitt Blather has a nice history lesson on the formation of the Big East, and how its the conference has been trying to play catch up from the beginning, and this paragraph from PB about the Penn State being denied an invitation from the Big East really sums up the conference has done ever since,
Really a watershed moment that haunted the Big East since. Every action taken by the Big East with membership since then has been a reaction to football interests while trying to keep the focus on basketball.
For a school that has only been added recently, it was great to read up on the history of the conference and seeing what could have been different if one thing happened or another. On another note, I see why Bill Simmons hates BC after they hung Holy Cross out to dry.
- Chris from The Nova Blog posted his thoughts on a piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer about Father Donohue's pitch to the Big East in March, and it shows the change in mindset in the football schools after TCU was invited. From Chris' article,
Essentially, the Big East switched their view on Villanova from "we really want you" to "show us why we should take you." But from all accounts, this was never made clear to Villanova. So they entered that March meeting with more of a "here's how we're going to make it happen" approach when they should have been really trying to sell themselves to the Big East - and not just from a stadium perspective, but also showing the conference how excited they were to join.
From TNB, it looks like the Wildcats will have until the end of May to gain the necessary votes from the Big East to upgrade from FCS. If somehow that doesn't happen by then, the Wildcats will have to wait until 2015 to for their inaugural Big East season.