Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Big XI Channel--Part 3

The emergence of the conference specific media could be the most significant economic change to college sports since ESPN and the breakdown in NCAA contol over football broadcasts. An article from Dennis Dodd at CBS, Don't underestimate power of Big Ten's new network fills in some of the blanks as to the plan here but also opens up new questions.
Several important points:
Direct TV a division of Fox which seems to be willing to take bold steps in sports with its NFL, NASCAR, and MLB contracts may seem to have al full plate but having a relationship with on of the top conferences could pay dividends in the future should they decide to drop one of the current assets. Further Big10 TV may be a great selling point in the fight against cable.
The channel may also have the advantage of selling the institutions, "League presidents also love the fact that the channel will broadcast 660 hours of non-sports programming. The Big Ten is controlling the message by trumpeting its greatness." Perhaps instead of merely creating infomercials the universities could make time available to showcase artistic and academic programs or have students produce educational shows.
The four P's of marketing are product, price, promotion, and place. Of the four place is most often overlooked yet is the part of the puzzle that will break a new product quickly. Apparently Big10 TV is looking to put pressure on the cable operators to carry the channel in the key Mid-West cities (or face viewers switching to Direct TV). This project will succeed or fail based on the level of distribution the obtained. While the article hints at Internet broadcasts in the future, MLB has shown the way with their successful MLB.tv subscription service which is reportedly one of the largest users of bandwidth on the Internet. Football and men's basketball will sell the channel but the balance of the time may be a metaphorical empty stadium or another CSPAN.


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