I may be one of the few that believes that the management of egos and the dilution of rivalries caused by these mega conferences will ultimately lead to their demise. Right now conference commissioners are building empires, and the fans are supportive because it is a game of who can add the best pieces to their war chest.
Lost in all of this is the long term impact on the product caused by the increase in the number of members. A big part of the appeal of college athletics is the rivalries created by years of competition. I think people underestimate the impact these rivalries have on attendance and ratings. I also believe that super conferences are destined to struggle with the management of too many egos. Ultimately jealousies will develop and conflicts will ensue.
I'm of the opinion that at this point if the Big XII expands it is simply being a follower. The Big XII could ironically establish itself as a leader by bucking the empire building trend. Maybe the best strategy is to focus on your brand by making it the best it can possibly be. Work on strategies that help promote and enhance to relative competitiveness of your members.
In my opinion that will be the best approach to maximizing value as opposed to trying to add more pieces then the next guy. Quantity by itself will not lead to a more valuable or stable product. Success of the membership will lead to stability and value.
MT85, i see where you are coming from, but there will always be egos to deal with, whether at 10, 12, or 20. What makes programs put aside their egos? Money. Its why the big 12 survived at 10, and why the big 12 could have issues at 10 if it falls behind once other conferences renegotiate their deals. And honestly there are some benefits to size. If one school has a bruised ego and leaves from a 10 team conference, that is substantially more damaging to that conference than if that team leaves from a 12\14\16 member conference.
As for building the brand, that's why you dont add minor-brand teams. We're not talking about adding tulane or NIU or something. If expansion happens it will be ACC schools, schools that mostly have desirable brands. Getting into the southeast, ideally with at least one florida school, would be good for the Big12 brand. It would get the conference into strong growth areas, strong recruiting areas, and add brands that have nationwide draw.
Wouldn't surprise me at all if in 20 years, everybody looks at each other and goes, "wow, this sucks" and then the fad is eight 10 team leagues. That'd be ideal IMO.
Like I wrote, I love the 10 school league but unfortunately, unless something happens, the Big 12 is going to get left behind in five years just like it did over the last decade.
I think expanding to 12 while maintaining a quality would be the best move. Get divisions and a championship game back, then sit tight.
Here's a great take, different from mine by Dennis Dodd today. A lot to think about, consider.
ACC/Big 12 alliance makes sense to stiff-arm conference realigment - CBSSports.com
I love where we are. I think 2 more teams could be ideal.
I don't think that egos will crush expansion, since they are part of human nature. Instead, I think that the bubble bursts on the breakneck expansion and leads to a real financial crush for a lot of schools and programs. Markets don't expand forever.
To me, that is the greatest problem with this thing. I believe in growth, but you have to be smarter about it than networks and conferences are being.
I think we have to feel good where we are at right now compared to a few years ago. As CW mentioned, playing a little offense right now (expanding) is a whole lot better than playing defense (trying to keep the league in tact)! Let's see that deep ball and hope someone is down field ready to catch it and take it for a TD!!
There seems to be a dogma that if you don't expand that you will be left behind. Is there proof that revenue per school is really enhanced by 12, 14, 16 members versus 10. There are only so many TV spots available under tier 1 and 2 contracts, so I'm not convinced that a larger membership equates to more revenue per school.
I believe that the primary driver behind conference expansion is having a conference network, and having the power to force those networks onto basic cable. Due to the fact that the Big XII is not pursing that type of model, it makes expansion much more difficult to justify. I also believe that the success and profitability of these networks is going to be undermined by the breaking of the cable TV monopolies. Ala Carte TV technology is being developed by a number of companies, and down the road the B1G won't be able to force these products onto those that don't wish to have them.
Furthermore, TV revenue is only a part of the revenue per school. Attendance is also a major driver. My theory is that as you dilute rivalries and regular opponents attendance will begin to decline. So even if a 16 team conference could result in an increase in television revenue the net impact on a schools revenue may be less then people believe.
I wonder how close college football, as an entity, is to critical mass. Meaning how much longer can prices and TV revenue continue to increase before consumers just can't manage being fans anymore. Cable package prices already go up on a regular basis, driven by costs of networks like ESPN. How long is that sustainable? Along with that, ticket prices for live events tend to go up over time driven by the facility/coach salary arms race.
How long before college football and really sports in general are no longer sustainable?
At the very least, I'm much more confident in Bowlsby than I was in Beebe steering the ship...
As we all know this is driven by money and TV viewership. The issue is that we are doing all this because of football, has anybody realistically looked at where football might be at in 20 - 30 years? I am not saying football is going to disappear, cause I don't think it will, but football could be drastically changed. If further evidence of brain problems continues to come to light, are parents going to push athletic kids to other sports?
I just wonder if in 20 years we will all look back at this in laugh because the landscape of sports in America will have shifted so much that all this wrangling for football TV viewership will be for nothing, or something considerably less than it is now.
I'm not sure the Big 12 can be offensive if a school (like FSU) has a shot at the Big Ten or SEC. They will sit and wait to see if one of those suitors offers. The Big 12 is their safety net.
The only way I see that changing is if the Big 12 makes a large block offer to 6, 8, even 10 ACC schools. Even then, only maybe.
And mt85 is right, super conferences are probably destined to fail long term, but they still may happen.