Saturday, September 30, 2006

Naïve or Prophetic

The combination of Sears/ K-Mart and Kent University, the Golden Flash, are a forgotten teams in an also ran locations. The most profitable part of the combination of Sears and K-Mart is the real estate that their lonely stores sit on. In the same way Kent has a hidden asset that other D1A schools are looking for.

Their record as reported at for the past ten years:

2005 1-10

2004 5-6

2003 5-7

2002 3-9

2001 6-5

2000 1-10

1999 2-9

1998 0-11

1997 3-8

1996 2-9

Since 1962 the Golden Flash have recorded just eight winning seasons with the 1976 being the high water mark at 8-4 (12 games allowed at they played Hawaii). The administration and alumni needs to look at where they are with football and look at the cost vs. return of upgrading their football program as a dynamo for the athletic program and the school. The odds are stacked against any epiphany at Kent unless new leadership arrives with a new vision for the school.

That side Kent should take full advantage of their cupcake status and begin to the process of selling their losing record to the highest bidder.

To Be Announced

Chris Givens of Arkansas Democrat has a history lesson on why your team does not set game times until a few days prior to the game. As we know television is the tail that wags your team. As a service the final paragrph is included below with the formatting changed for ease of reading.

SEPT. 1, 1984 Pittsburgh vs. Brigham Young is the first game televised live on ESPN.

JAN. 2, 1986 No. 2 Penn State upsets No. 1 Miami in the Fiesta Bowl to win the national championship. The game was moved to prime time from New Year’s Day and drew a 25. 1 Nielsen rating, the best rating ever for a bowl game.

SEPT. 2, 1987 Pittsburgh vs. Brigham Young is ESPN’s first Wednesday night telecast.

FEBRUARY 1990 NBC announces an exclusive agreement with Notre Dame to televise Fighting Irish home games starting with the 1991 season.

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1990 Arkansas of the Southwest Conference and South Carolina (an independent ) accept invitations to join the SEC.

JANUARY 1992 The Bowl Coalition is formed to bring order to the bowl selection process. SEPTEMBER 1992 ESPN debuts weekly Thursday night telecasts.

NOV. 13, 1993 ESPN’s College Football GameDay makes its first on-campus live appearance for the game between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 1 Florida State in South Bend, Ind.

FEB. 11, 1994 The SEC breaks from the CFA television contract and announces a four-year deal with CBS Sports to televise SEC football games.

FEB. 21, 1994 Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor announce plans to leave the Southwest Conference to join the Big Eight Conference schools in forming the Big 12 Conference.

OCT. 16, 1994 Texas at Rice is ESPN’s first Sunday night telecast. AUGUST 1995 The Bowl Coalition morphs into the Bowl Alliance, with the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta matching the nation’s top six teams.

JUNE 1996 The Southwest Conference officially ceases operations. JUNE 30, 1997 The CFA disbands.

JULY 1997 The Bowl Coalition becomes the Bowl Championship Series, with the Rose joining the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta to create a No. 1 vs. No. 2 title game each season.

SEPT. 7, 2001 ESPN televises its first Friday night game, Northwestern at UNLV.

OCT. 16, 2001 ESPN 2 televises Southern Mississippi-Louisville, the first game on a Tuesday night.
AUG. 9, 2004 ESPN announces that it will televise a record 112 regular-season games during the 2004 season.

SOURCE: Democrat-Gazette Press

An addition to the list is coming up this Sunday October 1, 2006 when ESPN debuts Sunday Night College Football with Eastern Illinois at Hawaii.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hidden Dollars

Both these articles are several month old. The intentions was to comment on these two stories but they got left behind. The point of interest for each is the light that they shed on the money in the cable business.

Dolan's Magic Kingdom In Danger of CrumblingThe Business of Sport

The Dolans, who own the MSG Network and are partners in FOX Sports New York, collect about $4 each for somewhere between 3.8 and 4.5 million subscribers for both services, which means cable subscribers, whether they watch either channel or not, are paying more than $180 million a year in revenue for the channels. TV and government assistance help make the Knicks a lucrative business,which makes Dolan a lot of money.

Industry sources said that CSTV would command about 15 cents per month per subscriber from a cable company. Multiply that by one million, and that would cost a cable company an additional $150,000 per month if the channel is offered to all subscribers.

Network Disconnect

Transition in your approach to your business model and integrating new technology are tricky to pull off in business as the unexpected is usually the most common problem you will encounter. The Mountain West Conference and Big Sky Conference are both learning this lesson hand.

Big Troubled Sky

On of the under appreciated aspects of the Internet revolution is the ability to buy and sell products of limited appeal. Your local Wal Mart while carrying a wide variety of merchandise has probably come up wanting in an area of great interest to you and chances are with a few minutes exactly what you wanted was found online. With addition of podcasts to this network, media can added as another specialty product made available by the greatest invention of the 20th century. Given this background Big Sky has gone with a novel approach to the distribution of their football games. With little limited demand for the product the conference did what many small specialty businesses have done use the Internet as the distribution channel. The issue for this idea is what happens if too may of the curious show up for your grand opening and overwhelm your bandwidth.

Nearly 17,000 visitors logged on to the Web Site last week with close to 1,500 watching all or part of the five football games…

“Our first week of football certainly didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped,’’ said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. “As we looked to develop, we knew that we would run into some technical issues along the way, both on campus and in the streaming technology.

This novel idea bears watching but it must be remembered that until September 11, 2006 the service was free which could account to considerable amount of the traffic. Others in college football must be aware of the opportunity that is channel holds and be ready to act when the technology matures.

The mtn. has fans in a tizzy

Grocery shelves at your local grocery store offer an excellent model to describe the problems that the Mountain West is having getting their new cable network off the ground. As large as grocery store have grown the space on the shelves is finite and are a battleground where the big boys like Proctor and Gamble and General Mills rule with the little guy struggling not the be squeezed out. The Mountain West seems to have had the idea that their product would automatically get distribution on the limited space on the cable and satellite dial with fans are surprised at the lack of progress. MWC is not the Bigger 10 and there is still the issue of filling up the hours.

Reference blog entries
Conference Networks

Monday, September 11, 2006

No Room for Cynics

No Room for Cynics on this One

I (a term all but forbidden on the blog) have a new team to root for the duo of Ray Ray McElrathbey a 19 year old player and his 11 year old brother. It is both sad and encouraging that Ray Ray has taken the responsibility that his parents are unable to fulfill. The game plan for this pair is simply to stay in school and succeed in life.

More information:

Clemson's McElrathbey raises young brother--CNN

NCAA rules complicate Clemson cornerback's bid to help brother--USA Today

Challenge of a lifetime

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Economist or Journalist?

Cost of big-time football
The UConn Huskies are arguable the most successful program in recent memory when it comes to making the jump to D1 football. Ed Daigneault of the Republican-American wrote a nice piece on the dollars behind the move but it is unclear if he really understands the idea of a profit in the real business sense. The math is somewhat misleading, “So now the football Huskies have a $48-million, palatial home…” and then says “the football program produced $10.1 million in revenue and netted a $1 million profit.” The problem with this math is that the profit assumes no cost for the capital expenses of the facilities. The problem could be in the amount of space given and the background of the reader. Mr. Daigneault may have explained the financials in an overly simplistic manner because the average sports fan wants to know the details as much as a child wants a real explanation of where babies come from. If the factory was free even Ford and GM would turn a profit.

Cox? ESPNU? It's your call
Southwestern Iowa columnist realizes the complexity of the cable business after complaining about the lack of the Iowa opening day game on his cable. Nothing new in a sports pundit that over looks the power on money on sport. Journalism schools and what whatever prepares you to be a sports information director need a marketing/media/finance class. Better yet Mr. Sigafoose should read this blog and be better informed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Lazy Columnist

We've all done it taken the day off and then slapped something togther that keeps the boss your back. No thought or creativity just dust off an old idea and pass it off as something new. Somehow the Big East is the easy target for just such a day and apparently Tim Cowlishaw had one of those days this week.

Original thought like:

But here's the problem that won't go away for the BCS.

The Big East stinks.

Or insight like:

The ACC and the SEC are loaded. The Pac-10, Big 10 and Big 12 are not as deep, but whoever emerges as those leagues' champions will be deserving of a reward.

In this young season the ACC has not proven themselves to be loaded and certainly not on par with the SEC. It would premature to crow about the 2-1 reacord the BE has against the LOADED ACC this year nor call those wins a statement as Steve Megargee did in SEC, Big East make big statements in Week 1 . Perhaps the crowing could begin at the end of September when most of the OOC games are finished.

The nice thing about a blog is the lack of a boss and no need to cover up being lazy.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It Grew Back

This spring the neighbor had a maple sapling that was growing up the middle of an azalea. He cut off at almost groud level and thought it history. By mid July the sapling was as tall as it had been previously.

Most in college football had thought the same of the Big East the odd duck of the BCS as it, unlike the others, has members that do not play D1 football. With the departure of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College in John Swofford's raid that would have done the likes of Carl Icon proud the league was declared as dead as the neighbor's maple sapling. But just like that sapling that Big East conference is showing a stuborn determiniation.

Not that the league stands shoulder to should with the SEC or Bigger 10 but then better to have the least house in the richest neighborhood than the best on the other side of the tracks. The math is also on the leagues side in that with the Big East in the BCS the majority of D1 schools are in the big money club (64 of 119) with the others needing to learn the secret handshake or hope the ACC to sends other #22 team to the big party.

Details on the new contract between the least of the BCS conferences and Disney Sports in conjunction with CBS (Viacom Sports) have been slim leading to the suspicion that the dollars have yet to be fully decided but the parties wanted to get the announcement out before the season started.

An aside: The worst phrase in business that you ever hear or utter, "We'll worry about those details later." Those details won't get any easier later and the deal tends to get butchered in the end.

As for the bottom line money the Big East Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston Daily Mail estimates that the dollar figure is around $14 million which is close to the pre-raid $15 million and not much of a pay cut given that the Canes reportedly took a super-sized slice of the pie before they left for greener/richer/goldener pastures.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

BS-damus Half Right So Far

For foes of the Roundheads
Dispare and disgrace they know
Course will change suddenly
Joy to be found at the terminal

Look up who fought against te Roundheads in the English Civil War to solve the riddle. Now for a good or even fair finish to the season.

Quick Hits

True story about the Pay Day Bar: Leaf Candy that owned the brand in the 1990's had the great idea to make the bar healthier by reducing the salt on the peanuts. Now if you ever had a Pay Day Bar much of the charm comes from the sweetness of the carmel played off against the salt on the peanuts. Remove the salt and the thing is bland. The problem this great idea left Leaf with alienated cutomers but could not put the salt is back on the label. While it is always temping to blame the bean counters for this one the more likely suspect was some MBA marketing type.

Kansas City Star does not think much of the new 12 game format.
The extra game is not adding to the story just to the bottom line.

More from the K.C. Star, "Call it college football’s annual September massacre — the time of year when Division I-AA schools hungry for cash play Division I-A schools hungry for wins."

Have you ever heard of Northwestern State? The Demons? Apparently Baylor, Ole Miss, and Kansas have and that is why this pillar of college football is on the schedule of all three. And at between $215,000 and $325,000 quite the bargin.
The same article says we have a new winner in the Patsy Bowl with UL-Monroe taking home $2,300,000 to be the loser de jour. Read more here.

Montana State did not get the message (or maybe the script) the BuffZone had for a 70-3 game. Does this mean the Montana State won't be invited for these games as they have the stones to beat up the host/sugar daddy? The Richmond win at Duke does not count towards this Richmond is still welcome as a Patsy as are the Blow Blue Devils

Finally had a piece about why college player should not be played. A superior arguement is put forth below.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Value of an Education

There are those that will argue that college football players are exploited by the schools and that the big football programs rake in the dollars on their backs. These players it is argued are not paid for the services they render. But any parent paying college tuition, room and board would differ with you given the the $25,000 or more those can run. Again the charge could be made that this is chump change in comparison the millions that the university makes. The player that uses the God given talent to play football wisely finishing their college degree, with the realization that professional football careers are rare and often short, can profit mighty from the deal.

How? Because, "Median earnings for male college graduates are 60% higher than median earnings for high school graduates." and in dollar terms, "...over an adult's working life, high school graduates can expect, on average, to earn $1.2 million; those with a bachelor's degree, $2.1 million..." Doing the easy math that is $900,000 of extra income. Yes, it is spread out over the next 40 plus years but again a college education is often said to be a investment in yourself. The other income that they recieve is in the form of both the college experience in general and more specifically the chance to play a sport they love.

One issue tied into this free ride in college is the scholarship student that lacks parents that can send money to pay for the extras--"Dear Mom, Send money". Whether it is someone on an academic scholarship spending numerous extra hours in the library to keep their grades up or the player in the weight room preparing for next season reasonable people can see that there will be occasions that a student needs extra support in the form of money. Would it be so difficult to make a fund available on campus for such situation without going afoul of the NCAA?

The goal of every program should be to see that the players graduate so they might all enjoy a lifetime reward which might just even up the ledger.
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