The idea that jumping conferences for the all-mighty television dollar is completely flawed. It is amazing that none of the people in charge of universities see this.
The article, http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2012/11/madness-of-big-ten-expansion.html, is the first time I have seen someone else bring up this point. Jonathan Chait does an excellent job of explaining it better than I can. I encourage anyone interested in college sports to read it.
Maryland has major financial problems. They have ended at least 7 sports due to lack of money. The Big 10 or B1G has a television network that, at least in the short term, might provide them with more money than the ACC can.
The B1G Network gets its money from cable companies purchasing the channel. Right now, this system works. Expanding into the DC market with the University of Maryland seems to expand the number of homes that will pay cable companies and the B1G for the television network.
It is obvious to many of us that the current system of “bundled cable television” is changing drastically and won’t last. As Jonathan Chait writes – “There is already a revolution in video content underway that is going to render the current bundled cable model obsolete.” From +Google TV to AppleTV to Twitter to second screens and so on, we are quickly changing how we watch video. There were articles this week asking if tablets were turning into the television of tomorrow. Will we getting video from our cable provider, of course not. We might buy internet access from them but probably not their video feed.
There was an interview recently with the head of one of the cable networks. He was asked if the “cable cutters” worried him. He said no, they were getting an inferior product. There weren’t that many people who could cut the cord and be satisfied without the content they were accustomed to. What did worry him were the “cable nevers”. They are the ones that have never had regular cable service. For more on this check out http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/tv-s-scariest-generation-cable-nevers/231330/.
Where does the B1G Network rank in importance with the Cable Nevers? It doesn’t and won’t ever. Look at all the newspapers going out of business. The younger generation has never had a newspaper delivered to their door, they get their news from the internet.
I hope that universities look at the future before making these short-sided decisions that affect more than just the top revenue sports. Ruining long-term relationships and the crazy logistics that these conference shifts cause might be worth it now but it won’t take long to realize that the decisions were based on flawed logic.
I would LOVE to hear someone like +Mark Cuban weigh in on this topic.