12-12-2012, 10:47 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Murrieta, CA
Casino cash: $5065
Thought this was an interesting post from the WVU Board:
It is no secret that greed is the sole driving force behind expansion. Every conference is jockeying for the most revenue and biggest footprint. We have discussed and speculated at length what is going through the minds of Swofford, Bowlsby, Slive, and Delany. We have waited for that first domino to fall. However, we have seemed to overlook who is truly driving expansion.
Expansion as we know it today started with the Big East snubbing their noses at ESPN and shopping their media rights. ESPN vowed to destroy the Big East and from all accounts has done so by encouraging others to raid the conference. Every step of the way ESPN dictated the Big East's moves.
FOX is trying to gain a foothold in cfb. Their acquisition of the YES network has given them a bigger avenue to accomplish this goal. They have vested interests in both the B1G and Big 12. There is an internal battle brewing between FOX and ESPN that many are not paying attention to. Where ESPN is trying to keep the status quo amongst all conferences FOX is trying to expand and increase their value. FOX has promised that schools such as FSU and Miami will yield enough for a financial return to be attractive to the Big 12. Fox also stands to benefit from further B1G expansion.
ESPN owns everything ACC. Yes they lowballed the media contract but gave the ACC the five year look in as a way to increase the revenue if deemed necessary. Why would ESPN even put a clause into that contract? ESPN knew that they lowballed the conference and also knew expansion would change the face of the ACC, at least to a certain degree. The additional $2 million per school for Notre Dame was a way to increase the media contract without going back to the negotiation table. Despite the rumors ESPN has no desire to let the ACC falter. Especially to a conference such as the B1G where their weight is much less prevalent. Speaking of the ACC, do not be surprised to see UConn as the next addition to the conference even if they do not lose anyone else. The governor of Conn has called in a favor. There has been speculation that ESPN received a large tax break from the state and is now being told it is time to return the favor. Just like Rockefeller did with WVU and McConnell did with UL. ESPN now sees the ACC as an eventual avenue to Notre Dame. Losing control of the ACC could potentially mean losing Notre Dame to the B1G. Just like every conference, ESPN feels Notre Dame is a big prize.
ESPN has repeatedly told the Big 12 they would not add any additional revenue no matter who was added, to include FSU. As we know ESPN, along with FOX, owes the vast majority of the media rights to the conference. Remember, ESPN made the finalization of the contract contingent upon the signing of the grant of rights. Is considered a way to ensure a solid long term media contract. What most of us overlook and frankly see as nothing more than a media contract is ESPN's role in the LHN. I am told, point blank, that this was a strategic move on behalf of ESPN. As I have stated in the past ESPN can not dictate the decisions of a school. However, ESPN has every right to dictate media contracts. By paying for the rights to the LHN ESPN has made UT and Dodds a puppet "per se". It has been relayed to me that ESPN has repeated told UT to block expansion. In return ESPN would put more effort into the LHN and grow it to what Dodds and UT always dreamed it would be. A few months ago Mack Brown complained of the LHN stating that "I never asked for it". You can read into that statement all you want. yes UT is only one vote but has for the longest time had it's finger on other schools within the conference. ESPN felt by controlling UT they could control expansion in the Big 12. I have also been told that ESPN was iatrical in getting A&M into the SEC. ESPN saw A&M as an equal power in the Big 12 and felt that as long as they were still a part of the conference that UT's desires could be trumped. FOX has informed the Big 12 that additions of FSU and Miami would yield returns that FOX is willing to pay. This is in direct contrast to what ESPN has stated. Big 12 expansion will be a result of necessity and FOX offering increased revenue. However, ESPN would more than likely pay the for the rights to the CCG, go figure.
This is the one conference that ESPN really has no say in. ESPN does have access to lower tier games but the B1G has discussed even taking those away. ESPN had tried to negotiate with the conference stating they would make it worth their while to slow expansion or take schools ESPN felt would not negatively affect the ACC. ESPN, just like they did with the Big 12, recommended Big East schools. This is one reason Syracuse came up recently in discussions. Is also why UConn has been tied to just about every conference at one time or another lately. Syracuse in particular would be a win-win for ESPN. Football schools were not thrilled about their addition and if they were to leave for the B1G the ACC would not lose.
ESPN was quick to jump on the new SEC network. In yet another attempt to solidify it's monopoly ESPN has already negotiated financials with the SEC. Again, it is speculation, but one reason the SEC has chosen to target UNC and Duke is because ESPN stated it would yield a higher return. Interestingly enough Slive, seeing dollar signs and buying that the SEC did not need to build an already strong football conference agreed it. No one will EVER admit to anyone getting the better of Slive, apparently he walks on water. However, ESPN has sold him on the two most difficult schools in the ACC to obtain. The only way Slive gets his money is for the total disintegration of the ACC, which ESPN is working against.
In conclusion, I just wanted to share this information as I found it interesting. Again, I am not proclaiming this as gospel. This is why I have not been so quick jump on the ACC demise bandwagon. I feel it is also a reason why so many deadlines proclaimed have come and gone. It is just not conference commissioners making the decisions. ESPN is doing all they can to keep their investments intact. There is so much more but I feel I have relayed the just of what I have gathered. And like the title states, much of this will surely be considered a conspiracy theory but when it is read with everything else that has been speculated to this point it makes sense.
You'll see it's all a show, keep 'em laughing as you go, just remember, the last laugh is on you, and always look on the bright side of life!