Just ranting here a bit but this has been looming on my mind. We have been building the AAC along with our member teams for 5+ years now and have been fairly successful. But to sit here and hope some conference will come pick us up and a few other members is a pretty insane/unreliable strategy. Not saying it could not happen but we need to think about what are we missing out on while we pursue this strategy.
More specifically, ESPN and AAC were considering signing the grant of rights(GOR) where conference members would get locked in and will not be able to leave for a more lucrative conference. I think the conference should consider reducing their current 12 year contract down to a 7-10 yr contract with a GOR signed considering that revenue ticks up by a minimum of $5M per school.
Additionally, a second option should be proposed where with the GOR rights, the schools that are least likely to be pulled into a major conference concede 50%(or whatever makes sense) of their revenue to lock in the most desirable schools. In our case, if our payout increases by $5M plus another $2.5M from disproportionate revenue sharing as a result of GOR then that is something we should definitely consider. This will put our total pay out to $14.5M per year while the lesser schools in the conference (no offense intended) being Tulane, ECU etc. will still get a $2.5M bump in pay and conference security. That is enough money to change the landscape and actually build the conference into a true power. It’s enough money to get great coaches both in basketball and football.
Not to mention, when we ultimately expand, new conference members are likely to pay an entrance fee as Wichita State did ($2.5M for basketball only). We should pull in 2-3 more schools that ESPN does not currently own to increase maximum conference payouts. I’m talking about the MWC here and those basketball powers that are on a stranded island. BYU to AAC although lifts our profile, it does not add value to ESPN because they already own the property. Boise and SDSU are not owned by ESPN at the moment. Either way, $1-2M of entrance fees over several years from them and additional value that they add to our contract, that will put us at $14-15M per year high end and prob $11-13M at low end.
What are your thoughts on the topic and do you think AAC as a permanent home with the outlined economics and payouts would be worth staying in the conference and calling it a home? This is money now and most likely guaranteed as oppose to getting an invite into the wonderland which no one knows if and when it will come. Frankly, it’s quite degrading to be pegging all of our hopes on that. I also think there’s a sense of pride of building something from ground up as opposed to trying to join an established entity.