The “leadership” of the Big12-4+2 is so indecisive, and their TV partners suddenly becoming so skimpy, I am beginning to think that this months-long exercise will just go “POOF” - and there will be no expansion at all!
They are going to expand…They have a lot of moving parts, and are taking the time to decide whether 2 or 4…There will be lots of pulling back and forth as the decisions are made…It is NOT unreasonable to give them several weeks to decide what they want to do, since there are obviously schools that have conflicting opinions …
Even though the obvious is not to rock the boat with ESPN and Fox … I suspect their throwing a wrench in the works has set off bad vibrations throughout the P5 environment.
NOTHING IS FREE when you take $$$ from those who give it away but are actually controlling what you do who you play and how you expand.
AND if you are wasteful and outspend your portion … then you become like a heroin addict … you need your fix to survive budget wise
If I had to guess, I’d say the debate is whether to expand by zero or two teams. The TV partners are extremely sensitive to increase in cost. I don’t see a compromise involving a four team expansion. Even if the Big 12 says they’ll settle for $70 million per year instead of $80 million per year to add four teams, I still believe that is unacceptable to the TV networks. The Big 12 isn’t going to the mat for four teams because that likely means court, and the Big 12 doesn’t want to sue the partners that provide hundreds of millions of revenue per year. It just isn’t wise for the Big 12.
As for no expansion along the lines of EatEmUp’s fears, I’m guessing this is ESPN’s preferred outcome. ESPN and Fox may offer the existing Big 12 members an extra $2-3 million each to forget about expansion (and to amend the contract so that they aren’t on the hook for $20 million per year for each expansion teams). While the extra cash would be attractive to the Big 12, they have other motivations that favor expansion. I thought that the Big 12 believed a CCG was necessary to improve the playoff chances for its teams. Now it seems the Big 12 believes that a 12-team conference is necessary to improve its members chances. Even though I painted a scenario for no expansion, I believe the final compromise will be a two-team expansion for less than the $40 million per year the contract stipulates.
I believe the final answer is expansion by two. The Big 12 wants a championship game, and everyone knows a championship game with a round robin schedule is absurd. In addition, a round robin schedule requires 9 games (12 and 14 team conferences can play 8). 9 games causes teams to cannabalize each other. It also opens up another game for teams to schedule annual games with traditional rivals, desired recruiting areas, cupcakes, etc. For rivalries, you could see annual games like Texas vs. A&M, OU vs. Nebraska, etc. With an 8 game conference slate, you could even see a return off UT-A&M on Thanksgiving.
Narrowing it down to 2 teams is probably the hard part. The conference would probably agree to Houston & Cincinnati to appease UT/north schools, but the networks probably want BYU. So that is probably a stalemate unless the Big 12 miraculously agrees to remove Baylor. If FedEx comes through with enough cash, they could potentially buy Memphis’ way in.
I would love to be a fly on the wall for all the backroom negotiations right now.
I’d think that adding two and having a CCG would be beneficial. Also, ending up with no expansion after a very public desire to expand by 2 or 4 would point the finger at the networks as driving the show and restricting access. Maybe they wouldn’t care.
If this ends up with no expansion, you can bet that the TV partners will have paid off the existing Big 12 members with a few million dollars. If that is the case, it will expose this entire expansion talk as a huge money grab by the Big 12. Of course, with $20 million per team on the line and phased in shares for the new teams, adding new teams would expose this entire expansion matter as a huge money grab by the Big 12. You can tell that I think this is a big money grab by the Big 12 either way. That’s why the TV partners are ticked off. Let’s just hope that it’s not a small money grab for a few million dollars and no expansion. Let’s hope is a big time money grab worth tens of millions of dollars per year that includes adding UH to the Big 12.
Look at the dates of the other expansions . It mostly occurred in October or January in the past. I think this will be no different. At the Big 12 meeting in October, they will announce the teams. I do think it will be 2, not 4 though.
TAMU’s opinion was my first thought when UT came out for us a few weeks ago. A shady negotiation for the Big12 members to blackmail the networks. If the conference adds 4 teams, they pay an extra $100,000,000. I was thinking UT (and maybe others) proposed the networks paying the existing members, say $50,000,000 ($5,000,000 per school), thereby saving the networks, $50,000,000 and benefitting each school an extra $5,000,000