Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wednesday Afternoon Soft Drink: Pac-12 TV Deal Tops Big XII

A lot of our friends in the Big XII tried to waive the Big XII's recent big deal with Fox Sports as something that means that Nebraska acted rashly in jumping to the Big Ten. And they were right that the Fox deal is a big deal...but it didn't change the dynamics of the situation.  Proof #1? Yesterday's even bigger deal between the Pac-12 and ESPN and Fox.  The Pac-12 gets $250 million a year, and gain national coverage of their biggest games on Fox broadcast. That means no regional coverage anymore...and since it's in the Pacific time zone, they'll probably be prime time broadcasts in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S.  Mo' money, guys.

And while guys like David Ubben of ESPN point out that the Big XII will get to go back to the well in a few years when the ABC deal expires, I'll point out something else.  The Big Ten will also be jumping back into the fray at that time as well.  Is Fox going to continue to be a big player? I think so.  I also think NBC might also be ready to jump in as well.

For years, the biggest problem with the ABC contracts were regional coverage, meaning that fans had to subscribe to GamePlan and pay extra for games outside their region. The SEC had the national deal with CBS and didn't have to play that game. Now the Pac-12 abandons regional ABC for a national Fox deal. And in a few years, ABC and NBC will likely fight it out over a national deal for the Big Ten. Yes, that means that the Big XII will be the consolation prize in that fight.

That is, unless Texas decides to bail on the Big XII television deal and deal one-on-one with ESPN themselves.  In which case, the Big XII might struggle to get a deal with the CW or some other niche network.  (Would PBS be interested?)

The addition of Sam McKeown to the World-Herald's staff has been a bonanza for fans...but today's article on the Pistol formation is a little off. The pistol is nothing new at Nebraska; they previewed it in the monsoon at Missouri in 2009, and ran it a lot last season...including most of last season's spring game. So let's not read it as something new, but rather something that's going to be retained. More importantly, is it going to work better down the stretch this season?

Creighton announced via Twitter this morning that more than 15,000 tickets have been sold for next Tuesday's Nebraska/Creighton baseball game at TD Ameritrade Park. Sounds like it might be three-times warmer for this game; should be another huge crowd.  And will this be Mike Anderson's last game in Omaha? I don't normally like to call for people's heads (Steve Pederson being the exception), but at some point in time, Nebraska baseball has to start winning some conference series...

Speaking of ballparks, I had to chuckle about the World-Herald's story on the attendance out at the Trailer Park. Yes, the weather in April was not conducive to watching baseball, so the crowds each day have been impressive. Offsetting the weather is that "new ballpark smell"...which usually is good for a 40% or more bump in attendance as people want to see the new digs. UNO hockey knows about this; their best year attendance wise was that first season in the Qwest Center. So I'm sure the whatchamacallits would be even more ahead of last year for their first ten games if the weather would have been normal.

But wait...they've played games on 11 days in Omaha, right? Yep...and if you read down to the eighth paragraph, you get my point. At this point, the average crowd this season is actually down from last year..because last year, that eleventh game was one of those big crowds that was possible at Rosenblatt...and not at BFE. There are many more of those ahead as the weather warms. Originally, I thought it might be year 3 or 4 (after the "new ballpark smell" fades) before the loss of those big crowds would result in a drop in averae attendance in the much-too-small Trailer Park. Now I'm not so might be this season. It's not a fair comparison to say that "BFE draws more people ... except on nights when people came to Rosenblatt..."

Oh, and in case you think I'm being unfair to Sarpy County and the Whachamacallits... What's the deal with MECA announcing the acts for the Red Sky Music Festival one per week?  At this rate, we won't know the full lineup until the CWS starts, and that's making this take way too long.  Quit dragging things out, and get it finalized.

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