Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Night Beer: The Worldwide Leader Buys the BCS

Today, the BCS accepted ESPN's higher bid to televise the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and BCS Championship games. Some sports fans might snicker, wondering what the big deal is. If you're one of the 90% of households in this country who subscribes to ESPN, you might even cheer this decision initially. You figure that ESPN will do a better job with announcers and production quality since they cover college football all year around, so it sounds good, right?

The problem is that this is the next step down a slippery slope as big events move to cable TV. Big deal, you say? I've already got cable, so no big deal. As Lee Corso says... "Not So Fast!" Just ask yourself the question: "Where is ESPN getting the extra money to outbid Fox?"

Then look in the mirror.

You may not realize it, but if you have cable or satellite TV, you are indirectly paying for ESPN, to the tune of around $40 a year. So where will ESPN make up the extra $25 million each year? Look in the mirror.

You see, ESPN has cable TV behind the proverbial eight-ball. Nearly every cable system has ESPN on their basic package. As ESPN has added more and more major sports (such as the NFL and Major League Baseball), the fees ESPN charges your cable company have gone up dramatically. And they can easily do it, because ESPN holds all the cards. If your cable company says "No" to the higher rates, ESPN will simply pull the plug. And what would be your response if your cable company dropped ESPN? You'd probably switch to another cable or satellite provider. ESPN now has a monopoly on sporting events, and can do whatever they please.

Consultant Kevin O'Malley tells USA Today that there really isn't much of a limit to what ESPN can charge your cable company; perhaps as high as "$8-$10 a month". And what choice will we have except to pay the Mouse? Absolutely none.

Oh and what does this mean for getting some sort of playoff? Well, ESPN won't risk their golden goose, so look for nothing to change until the expiration of this deal.

Turning to a sport that actually has a playoff, UNO's hockey team cracked the Top 20 this week, coming in at #19 in the USCHO/CBS College Sports Top 20. In the USA Today Top 15 poll, they are near the top of the teams "also receiving votes". Up next for the Mavs is a home series against Michigan State. Another big series that could put UNO in solid position to make some noise this season.


Carl said...

When I heard ESPN was bidding, and bidding high for the BCS I figured that the BCS would go from being "stupid computers that don't understand football" to "the best thing since Brett Favre's jock strap".

I'm not a playoff guy, but I'm almost on board just to shut the talking heads up. Most of these talking hair weaves think that bad mouthing the BCS gives them instant street cred. Here's a hint Mr. Wandring Eye -- zip it. I don't want to hear it. You're part of the 'human poll' who continues to vote USC #2 regardless of record and OU above Texas because they have 'Joementum'. I trust Sagarin's FORTRAN code running on a 386 more than Lou Holtz's Alzheimer laced press ballot any day. Here's a hint: Computers don't give a crap about 'Roll Tide' and 'the Sea of Red', they count on the field performance and something called quality of wins.

As for paying more for ESPN...I guess I will. People may also start dropping upper tiers to keep their cable rates flat. Do I really need the BBC-DIY channel? Those bugers don't use the correct measuring tools anyway. As the economy turns south, people may just drop cable all together and watch games at the bar.

Good Luck ESPN, you've now purchased the rights to something you've been bad mouthing hard for years. Hope that works out for ya...

Anonymous said...

Send this to Huskerpedia:
I was just watching the Penn St. vs. Mich. St. game, and the one of the announcers (who included Todd Blackledge) said Penn St. was the best team in the country (yeah, they barely won their bowl game against a mediocre team, while NU beat Miami in Miami). Was Penn State a contender the year before? Did they compete for the title in the 2 years after 94? Did Blackledge throw a complete pass to that tightend on the sidelines at the 2 yd line against the Huskers in 1982 at Penn State? Does ESPN/ABC shill for the Big 11, which includes Penn State? Does Todd Blackledge work for ESPN/ABC? Screw you blackledge. NU would have punked Penn St. in '94. Penn Stink wasn't even the 2nd best team in '94, so what happened to them that year wasn't even karma for their unearned championship of '82.