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Mecca
10-26-2009, 01:58 AM
http://footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2009/nfls-battle-xos-may-affect-draft

NFL's battle with video company may leave draft prospects in dark

The NFL's college advisory committee may find it next to impossible to render informed opinions on the readiness of juniors who are potential 2010 draft prospects because the league has been locked in a multi-million dollar standoff with a Boston-area company that produces and disseminates digitized content of NCAA games for eight major conferences, league sources told SI.com.

According to those sources, XOS Technologies, based in Billerica, Mass., requested the NFL pay a rights fee between $20 million and $30 million for a multi-year commitment to electronically receive the coaches' tape content for itself and its 32 teams. That content -- which shows the entire alignment of both the offense and defense on each play, shot from the end zone -- was formerly supplied free of charge in video tape form by schools as a mutually beneficial consideration between the NFL and NCAA. That's changed now.

Contacted by SI.com on Friday, XOS chief executive officer Randy Eccker said his company made the rights fee request to the NFL in August on behalf of the conferences it represents, and that XOS is no longer involved in the discussions between the league and the eight conference commissioners. NFL officials reached by SI.com declined comment.

XOS represents eight of college football's 11 major conferences -- a list that includes the SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC and Sun Belt -- to produce the digitized coaches' tapes that are used for evaluation and scouting purposes. League sources say NFL officials continue to balk at paying anything for the game tapes. As a result, no NFL team's personnel and scouting departments have had access to any college action involving those conferences this season.

"It's a major, major problem for the NFL,'' said one club personnel executive. "The ramifications are deep. The 'juniors' committee may not exist this year as we know it. And that may mean even more juniors come out than we're already expecting. Here it is almost November, and nobody in the NFL has received a single game tape from all those schools in all those conferences. If there's no junior committee this year, the agents are going to tell their guys that they're all first-round picks, and kids want to believe that, so they will. We won't even have the ability to screen juniors and give them an opinion on their draft status.''

In addition to the college advisory committee's work, the league has traditionally used the coaches' tapes for its own scouting purposes and to determine which collegiate prospects should be invited to the league's annual pre-draft scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Discussions with XOS and college conference commissioners have been handled by longtime NFL competition committee members Bill Polian of the Colts and Rich McKay of the Falcons, as well as league executives Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive V.P./Football Operations, and Eric Grubman, executive V.P./NFL Ventures and Business Operations.

Eccker disputes that his company is keeping the coaches' tape content from the NFL, saying, "Nobody's trying to withhold content from the NFL. The conference commissioners and the NFL are in direct discussion on how to work this out in an amicable way. And we're no longer involved in those discussions. The conferences would like some fair market value for their content and some assurances that their content is going to be protected from a rights standpoint.''

But league sources portray the situation very differently, saying XOS has overpromised to the conferences the potential monetary value of their coaches' tapes. And while the league maintains XOS and the conferences have the right to monetize the coaches' tape content for commercial purposes, such as licensing those rights to tv networks like ESPN or websites like NFL.com, it is said to be bristling at paying for access to content it has gotten in the past in exchange for providing its scouting and evaluation services to colleges. Those evaluations, league sources say, benefit both the colleges and players, in that they help keep those prospects who are not ready for the NFL in school.

In addition, there are said to be fairly significant ancillary costs and expenditures of time involved for the NFL to operate its college advisory committee. Those costs have always been absorbed by the NFL as part of its reciprocal agreement with college teams.

The NFL's analysis of underclassmen is critical this year because some analysts are projecting a record number of juniors might come out in case looming labor issues result in a more restrictive rookie salary structure starting in 2011. Those players can petition the NFL's juniors committee for an assessment of where they project in the draft, thereby making what is hoped to be a more informed decision.

The league's college advisory committee is comprised of the general managers and personnel directors of most NFL clubs, as well the directors of the league's two scouting combines: BLESTO and The National. All 32 teams participate in the committee's player evaluations, and last year, some 150 to 200 juniors applied for evaluation, league sources said. The college advisory committee issued more than 1,000 written evaluations (a minimum of six per player) of those prospects in 2008. That can't be done in the current situation.

"We're tape-less now in the NFL, and XOS makes equipment where games can be digitized and sent electronically,'' the club personnel executive said. "They've partnered with various conferences, supplied them with their equipment and also supplied the NFL with the same equipment. So they convinced us to go digital, and now they're saying if you don't pay us this, you don't get our [video].

"And if you don't have [the video], it becomes very problematic for some teams to scout. If you have a general manager who doesn't travel to scout, he can't see the players because he doesn't have the [video].''

League sources say at least 24 NFL teams have purchased XOS equipment to go digital with their scouting of game tapes. The NFL is convinced that XOS sold its software, hardware and services to various conferences while claiming that their digitized game tapes would produce millions of dollars of new revenue for schools.

"XOS convinced the A.D.'s that these tapes were worth something, and I almost think we [the NFL] are partially to blame,'' the club personnel executive said. "Because when you see these NFL coaches' tapes on The NFL Network and ESPN, they're not being used just for scouting, they're being used for entertainment too. And that probably gave them the idea that they have value.

"The A.D.'s see those tapes now as cash cows. Some of those A.D.'s have revenue bonuses in their contracts. When they bring in extra revenue, they get a bonus for that.''

At issue, at least in the eyes of the NFL, is the question of who owns the rights to collegiate game tapes? One league source said some college teams believe they own the rights, while the conferences in most cases maintain that they do.

Some conferences have been insistent the NFL should pay for the content, league sources said, to the point where some school officials this season have even blocked NFL scouts from coming on campus to view the coaching tapes at their athletic offices, a courtesy customarily extended. Select collegiate football coaches are said to have pushed back against that move when they were alerted to it by NFL scouts and personnel men.

XOS is one of two companies that handles the digitalization of game tapes in the NCAA. The other is DVSport, which is affiliated with the Big East Conference. But if a Big East team plays a team from a conference contractually affiliated with XOS, say, Ohio State of the Big Ten, XOS could sue the NFL if any game tape finds its way to a team or the league.

Normally the coaches' game tapes start arriving in NFL offices two weeks or so into the regular season, league sources said. But the league knew it had a burgeoning issue with XOS when the company made the rights fee request in August. Barring some agreement, league source say the NFL's scouting process might revert to more old-fashioned practices such as on-site scouting, or even evaluation via the more limiting vantage points of games recorded off television.

"This thing has been going south for a while,'' the club personnel executive said. "They're trying to charge the NFL an egregious amount of money for their tapes, and there's never been a rights fee before. It's a huge deal within the league.''

'Hamas' Jenkins
10-26-2009, 02:24 AM
That's less than the guaranteed money we gave Cassel.

JFC, NFL, just sack up and pay for a service that you're using.

RippedmyFlesh
10-26-2009, 02:27 AM
Money is the root of all evil.
Scouting will go back to the dark ages when you had to physically send someone to games to watch players. I realize there are too many schools to do that but maybe those players you are considering as 1st or 2nd rounders you may have to resort to relying more on your own scouts observations at actual games than the film room. The players are the one's hurt the most by this.
Having the nfl pay is not being greedy. Asking for millions though is being full retard.

Phobia
10-26-2009, 02:28 AM
Hahahahaha - good for them. Play ball the way the NFL plays ball. The same crap the NFL has done to other companies with their NFL network BS is now being done to them. Awesome. I wish it weren't a paltry $20-30 Mill.

Short Leash Hootie
10-26-2009, 02:28 AM
well that service gave Sanchez a round 2 grade I believe...

so they are pretty good.

(PS I didn't read anymore than the first paragraph of that so I am just guessing it pertains to something regarding college juniors getting projected draft advice or some shit)

'Hamas' Jenkins
10-26-2009, 02:29 AM
well that service gave Sanchez a round 2 grade I believe...

so they are pretty good.

(PS I didn't read anymore than the first paragraph of that so I am just guessing it pertains to something regarding college juniors getting projected draft advice or some shit)

Completely off, as always.

RippedmyFlesh
10-26-2009, 02:40 AM
Hahahahaha - good for them. Play ball the way the NFL plays ball. The same crap the NFL has done to other companies with their NFL network BS is now being done to them. Awesome. I wish it weren't a paltry $20-30 Mill.
Time warner wanted NFLN to be part of $$ package instead of being part of the basic package. In a nutshell the nfl wanted nfln to be free and greedy ass time warner wanted to charge customers for it. The nfl can be greedy but it's cable companies trying to squeeze a few more $$ out of their customers is what keeps nfln off some cable systems.

Mecca
10-26-2009, 02:43 AM
Actually Time Warner said if they put NFLN on the free tier they'd have to raise the cable price because of what it costs and their reasoning was "let the people that want it pay for it"

I don't really see how that makes them greedy.

KCChiefsMan
10-26-2009, 02:51 AM
ok, say you are too baked to understand that article. How would you explain that to that person?

RippedmyFlesh
10-26-2009, 02:59 AM
Actually Time Warner said if they put NFLN on the free tier they'd have to raise the cable price because of what it costs and their reasoning was "let the people that want it pay for it"

I don't really see how that makes them greedy.
Because they use ala carte when it suits their needs. I get a bunch of channels
I could do without that make up the cost of your bill. At least Directv offers a sports package that I get but others don't have to. I can't pick and choose exactly what stations I want but I can customize my channels much better with directv than I ever could with time warner. Syracuse has an agreement with TW so if you don't have TW you miss alot of hoops games because TW would make NYC channels who were carrying the game to black it out to non TW customers.
Then directv started airing a baltimore station that shows the games I would miss. The baltimore station basically said FU to tw and doesn't black out the games. God I love directv they are my heroes.

Mecca
10-26-2009, 03:02 AM
What channels do you have that you don't want?

Shit like ABC family? Well I have news for you, when you get ESPN you have to take ABC family and that's how networks work. They make you take their other networks to get the one you want. Cable has no say in that, it's why ala carte programming will never fly.

Personally I thought it was fine, if you want the NFL station you can buy that tier, the people that don't want it don't see an increase in their cable price.

RippedmyFlesh
10-26-2009, 03:16 AM
With tw people who are not into sports basically subsidize those of us that want to watch them. Because espn etc are part of the basic package you get the cost of bringing sports channels is spread out over all of their customers. At least with directv someone who doesn't like sports isn't paying for it.That is why tw is so much more expensive here than directv. I have 4 tv's and it would be $50 per tv with tw. With directv each additional tv is only $6 per. You may think tw is doing someone a favor by putting espn yes network etc on their basic package saves people money but it just makes the bare bones package more expensive because everyone who has the service is paying for it. So in a way that makes what directv does more fair. Maybe the cable companies where you are are more reasonable but they are blood sucking greedy bastards where I am.

HMc
10-26-2009, 03:59 AM
i'm clearly not understanding exactly the nature of the video that this company provides, but....

isn't all this shit on tv anyway? Could you not watch that?

KCWolfman
10-26-2009, 05:01 AM
Darn it. The league that now is in bed with NFL Direct and Satellite TV for an outrageous fee each year is charged a nominal fee for an adequate service.

Hard to feel sympathy at this point.

KCWolfman
10-26-2009, 05:05 AM
Time warner wanted NFLN to be part of $$ package instead of being part of the basic package. In a nutshell the nfl wanted nfln to be free and greedy ass time warner wanted to charge customers for it. The nfl can be greedy but it's cable companies trying to squeeze a few more $$ out of their customers is what keeps nfln off some cable systems.

Not 100% information.

The basic tier the NFL wants use to receive would cost TWC a fortune and they would have to raise rates for all subscribers. While I am a football fan and I wouldn't mind paying the fee. I am sure a great deal of non-football types don't want to pay for my needs.

KCWolfman
10-26-2009, 05:09 AM
With tw people who are not into sports basically subsidize those of us that want to watch them. Because espn etc are part of the basic package you get the cost of bringing sports channels is spread out over all of their customers. At least with directv someone who doesn't like sports isn't paying for it.That is why tw is so much more expensive here than directv. I have 4 tv's and it would be $50 per tv with tw. With directv each additional tv is only $6 per. You may think tw is doing someone a favor by putting espn yes network etc on their basic package saves people money but it just makes the bare bones package more expensive because everyone who has the service is paying for it. So in a way that makes what directv does more fair. Maybe the cable companies where you are are more reasonable but they are blood sucking greedy bastards where I am.

Really, that expensive? Damn, it doesn't cost me near that in KC.

I have two DVRs and three televisions hooked up for about 50 a month with basic, upper tier and free HD. I was given a little bit higher quote with Direct TV (but a few more channels).

Plus I have not lost a signal (unless power goes out) in the course of 8 years with TWC.

Direct TV, on the other hand, at my restaurant loses a signal with every heavy rain, let alone snow or a real storm.

soundmind
10-26-2009, 07:40 AM
I saw this article last week sometime, and I'd say the same thing today I said then.

Sofa King We Todd Did.