Sunday, July 30, 2006

2006 College Football Preview BS-damus

Not directly business related below is a guess as how Nostadamus would have written predictions for the 2006 college football season.

In heart of the farmers
Near the equinox of the year
A team from the large decade
Shall fall to the center of America

A violent wind will swirl
Those that sow wheat and corn
Will serve those of the bovines
Scandal shall befall the twelfth

A storm born of Sahara
The solstice will arrive
The sea bird shall fail to soar
Will not reign on the coast

No more an ocean of pax
One of the decade will rise
A desert will bloom for one
Another will rue the autumn

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

Canine to growl heard by all
Through flight and hurry
The bite cannot draw blood
Pack finds strength in defeat

Hatched of a humble nest
Upon wings of iron one soars
Knows no fear on the earth
High beyond where known

Slip silent through the grass
Stealth and patience in design
Teeth upon neck causes death
Feast from weakness of the herd

Add your own vague prediction for the 2006 season to the comments.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Nine Is Not Enough

The Mountain West Conference could look at adding a tenth team in the opinion of David James of KUTV. The article argues that the move to 12 games has forced the MWC to reconsider the four home and four away that the current nine times affords. Mr. James quickly concludes that a 10th team would make more sense.

"MWC Athletic Directors found four non-conference games were one too many. Ideally, MWC schools have one good opponent at home and one good opponent on the road. Then the third game is a money game. They either bring in a 1-AA opponent at home and get an easy win in front of a big crowd, or schedule a road game against a glamour opponent and collect a big check."

The artcle then goes on to suggest various contenders to fill the void: Fresno State, Boise State, UTEP, Utah State, Hawaii, San Jose State, and Nevada. Fresno is given the lead due their large television market and sucess playing aryone anytime with Boise in second place.

The article does not do the hard math of determining which if any of these selections will grow the collective pie enough that every members slice gets bigger. Further with the MWC network arriving soon would an addition improve sales or just add complexity.

Given the correct mix of teams the MWC could scrabble to the top of the heap in college football's mid-majors. Will this heap put them at the top of the also rans or at the bottom of the BCS goal?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Creating Tomorrow's Problem

Among all the good feelings and smiles at the Atlantic Coast
Conferencepreseason media hype secession (an event common to
all the conferences),John Swofford announced a more structured
format for bowl gameassignments. At the risk of over
simplifying the pecking order goes something like this:

1/1a. BCS
2. Chick-fil-A (Dec. 30 in Atlanta)
3. The Gator Bowl (Jan. 1 in Jacksonville, Fla.) 4 Champs Sports
(Dec. 29 in Orlando, Fla.).
5a/b/c. Music City (Dec. 29 in Nashville), the Meineke Car Care
(Dec. 30 in Charlotte) and Emerald (Dec. 27 in San Francisco)
6. MPC Computers (Dec. 31 in Boise)

This plan solves the issue created at the end of the 2005 when
Boston College at 8-3 was passed over by the Meineke and Music
City for teamswith less impressive records. The Eagles of B.C.
despite going 5-3 found themselves on the cold tundra Smurf Turf
of Boise. The reason was the two way money exchange that is
college bowl games and the expectation that B.C.'s fans would
not do their part, show up in numbers and spendmoney.

At the top of the bowl pyramid the game and the venue are
sufficient togenerate the dollars required to make the economics
work. Those games without attractive locations or a rich history
are dependent upon the teams bringing fans to fill hotels and
restaurants during the holidays when businesstravel slows.

This solution may be the seed a future problem for the bowls in
a partnership with the ACC as being forced to take teams that
do not generate the revenue required may find themselves going
the way of the Garden State Bowl or Cherry Bowl.

Tidy Bowls article from the Orlando Sentinel although this Mr. Clean in the part of Mr. Tidy.

Remember things rarely are a TIDY as planned!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Selling a Sickly Cowboy

In marketing the strength of a brand allows the seller to charge a premium price for a premium product. Generally speaking the premium is the the result of goodwill with the consumer be it real or imagined on their part. For example, most people cannot tell the difference in beer without the label but none the less very loyal to the brand. This must be the case with OSU Cowboy football fans that are asked to pony up for a price increase for a team that went 4-7 last year season although have the first three games against the likes of Missouri State, Arkansas State, and Florida Atlantic will create the perception that things are off to a great start.

In actuality, the home game against the Oklahoma Sooners is most likely the premium product being sold here (to the OU fans) and surplus Baylor tickets may be a great bargain.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rutger Sports--Chicken vs.Egg

Are non-revenue sports cut because all the money is spent by football and basketball on the ever important facilities? Or is it that the institution has become depending upon the taxpayers to foot the bill for athletic programs? It is rare that you see Penn State or Texas cutting sports as their football programs pay for the other sports including the requirement of Title IX (I X out men's non-revenue sports).

Rutgers is play catch up in the growth of revenue sports but should be taken to task for allowing the situation to get this bad over the years. With a campus on the edge of the largest metro area in the nation Rutgers could have an athletic balance sheets that resemble those of a major sports power rather than an also ran. Paying Schiano a million dollars per year is a step in the right direction and while he has not gotten the Scarlet Knights a signature win he has made the team respectable for the first time since the Carter administration.

The outcome of a close football game may appear to have been decided in the final seconds but, the final score may also be a result of opportunities missed earlier in the game. In the same way, the lack of vision by the Rutgers administration years ago may have doomed these six teams more than a budget crisis in Trenton.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Hot Seat is Rarely A Throne

John L. Smith at Michigan State has been repeating the FACILITIES mantra. While the stadium is getting an upgrade the football building with the very important weight room has not yet gotten the improvements that today’s blue chippers are looking for. With an 18-18 mark perhaps Mr. Smith could produce on the field and convince a wealthy alumni to finance the project otherwise his complaints sound more like excuses.

Let's Look at the Numbers

The University of Chicago is one of the great educational institutions in the nation. In the late 1930’s under Chicago’s football stadium the first nuclear reactor was built. The university is renowned for producing some of the greatest economist in the latest fifty years such as Milton Friedman (an M.A. in 1933 from the University of Chicago and Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago from 1946 to 1976). Yet to the average man on the street as they do not have a big time football team playing each Saturday in the fall the University of Chicago is not the equal of Notre Dame or University of Michigan.

Big time college sports are among the most effective promotional tools available. A televised game is a three hour advertisement with the name of the product announced to the audience repeatedly. This infomercial for the two universities involved has the impact of cementing relations with existing fans and alumni with the benefit of also hitting potential applicants which is easily seen by the flood that Virginia Tech received after Michael Vick put them on the map.

Bobby Petrino's recent contract for $2.5 million per year for the next ten years with the University of Louisville when seen in the light of the manager of a significant part of the university’s marketing program maybe a bargain. The job of football head coach is one that involves being a teacher, operations manager, personal manager, and spokesperson. Failure in any one of those areas and the Mayflower truck may be parked in front of your house.

Louisville has a very well know and profitable men’s basketball program generating $18,523,619 in gross revenue netting $13,108,283. The football team generated $11,036,267 in gross revenue netting $2,048,120. With entry into the Big East and therefore the BCS the football team has tremendous upside with the revenue from basketball giving them the freedom to make this move. Further, Louisville is currently ranked #37 ahead of Arizona and Kansas State and close behind Maryland in football revenue with considerable upside.

This deal make sense when you look at the dollars.

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 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.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The More The Merrier

College basketball does not have enough teams in the post season. Yes, 65 is not enough. The post season for D1 college basketball includes a tournament for each conference ( a post-season game ) and which acts as a pre-play off sorts. This idea which may very well be put aside this year and for several years in the future may very well be the crack in to which time will work to breakdown down the barrier to ill-conceived proposals.

A where does this idea have support? The ubervillian of our story, the ACC, that felt slighted by having only four teams of the 65. Perhaps next they will content that a football team in ACC with a 5-7 record should be bowl eligible.

New Prefix for the 2006 Alamo Bowl

Master CardAlamo Bowl is looking for a few dollars to pay the bills. Given the strenght of the franchise and the teams of the Big 11 and Big(ger)12 this should be an easy sell although with the current state of change the four years they are looking for is an eternity.

A warning the rating for the 2005 game were great but may be a function of the teams rather than the game itself. The ratings for a Baylor v. Northwestern game might not be as high.
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