Saturday, May 8, 2010

Domers vs The Big Ten

I have been following Rock's House over at for some time now and am fascinated by the fact that Domer contributors seem to be obsessed with various aspects of the expansion issue, from the issue of joining the Big Ten to financial questions concerning the Big Ten Network (BTN).  They are in fact more obsessed than Buckeye fans seem to be.

After writing the introductory paragraph, I traveled to and found that the top thread was one started by this post, titled: How to Back Door the Big 10.
So all this conversation about the BTN got me thinking. We keep equating Big 10 conference with BTN, but they are two very different entities. If the Big 10 wants ND to join its conference to improve the BTN economics, lets make a deal.

Screw the conference. Let's see what kind of dollars the BTN would pay for ND football rights. Why couldn't they match NBC dollars? You could kill two birds as they say: the BTN gets programming to drive it into basic and up HH coverage and ND gets its revenue without joining the dam conference.
This illustrates just how ignorant Domer fans can be.  Yes, the BTN and Big Ten are separate entities but the Big Ten owns 51% of the BTN and so there can be no back dooring.  Mark Silverman, who runs the BTN, would probably give the university presidents a heads up.

Some will object that I refer to Domers as "Domers."  It is not respectful.  Writers at ndnation often refer to the Big Ten as "The Integer." This is how rivals treat each other.  Yes, though Ohio State doesn't have any plans to play Notre Dame, the Domers do play 3 Big Ten teams t his year and I root for them -- yes, even for Michigan -- or, for that matter, any team that plays Notre Dame. My first encounter with "The Integer" was in an essay entitled, "No means No," which lays out the argument against joining the Big Ten.

The next thread on the front page of Rock's House mentioning the Big Ten is titled, "Something about the BTN thing doesn't add up to me."  This wanna be financier writes
The idea seems to center around the fact that adding teams that happen to be in a certain geographic market will force cable providers to add the BTN to every subscriber's cable package in that metro area. While that might happen in the short run, that does not seem like a sustainable business model in the long run. Eventually, people are going to figure out that they don't want to pay $150 a month for 2000 channels when they only watch 10 and on-demand/ pay-per-view is going to become "the way".

It seems like the Big Ten is making the proverbial 40 year decision based on market conditions that may only last for 5-10 more years. If I were them (and thank god I'm not) I would be more focused on finding schools that are a good fit for the long-term than adding schools primarily to get access to a new television market. If the quality of the conference teams and competition is good enough, people will pay to watch it. That seems like a more sustainable business model to me. 
Another post in this thread is titled Jim Delaney may be more worried CEO than visionary.  Then comes, in that same thread, this set of post titles:
* Well, since Purdue's number for 2008-09 was - destewart 2010-05-07 17:48:51
      o That was all TV revenue - crazymary 2010-05-07 18:10:48
* How is the $22m number unsubstantiated? - Boston Domer 2010-05-07 16:33:25
       o Because it's total income from all sources, not BTN. - 84david 2010-05-07 16:43:45
             + Where did you read that?

What is interesting about this is the interest they have.  But, first, a clarification.  No one in the Big Ten has said that the $22 million payment to Purdue (assuming for the sake of argument that that is the right figure) came solely from the BTN.  In fact, anyone who actually knows the situation would know that it comes from ESPN (football on ESPN and ABC), CBS (Saturday basketball broadcasts), bowl money to the conference, and NCAA basketball money to the conference, and the BTN,  The point of joining the Big Ten is not that the BTN will pony up $22 million per year to your school but that the conference will.

Further down there is a thread started off  with title Blurb on the Big 10's $22 million per year.
If ND adds up the NBC contract, bowl game, the NCAA basketball tournament, and licensing fees, how much of a gap is there with the Big 10's $22 million per year? Anybody have a good guess?
This is a very interesting question and it brought forth the response
While no one really knows, $15 million for the NBC deal (reported in the NYT), $3 million in rev sharing from the Big East (reputed avg payment for basketball schools) and $1 million BCS guarentee (non-BCS year) to $4.5 million BCS payout (BCS year). That's $19 to $22.5 million right there. That doesn't figure in the national radio deal (only school to have one), non- BCS bowl revenue in a non-BSC year and licensing fees. Of course this analysis is about as robust as the $22 million per Integer team that is being thrown around without citation--no one really knows.
We see here the characteristic delusions of grandeur of so many Domers.  They have so little going for them right now  in their major sports even an exclusive national radio contract is touted as a major asset.  One thing is that he believes his analysis is as robust as the $22 million figure "being thrown around without citation."  The Dude seems not to like to do research since the figure of $22 million has been well-documented.  Check out this Sports Business Journal Article for some of the data.  Let me just provide the basics along with some other references:  it comes from the division of 
$22 million in BCS money (usually 2 teams go)
$10,700,000 in non-BCS bowl money
$80 million automatic BTN licensing fee, paid no matter what
$42 million in BTN profits (half of the $84 million profits after paying the licensing fee)
$100 million per year from ESPN for football
$15.3 million per year from the NCAA for March Madness
$2 millions from CBS per year for basketball
This gives a total of $272 million per year.  This figure does not reflect bowl expenses. The figure of $22 million per school would require a total of $242, which would suggest that bowl game and March Madness expenses as well as in conference travel expenses for Big Ten games might amount to $30 million.  The NCAA has a crazy quilt way of distributing money to schools, which is one reason not to let it close to the football post-season.

So, Domers, the money is solid.  Read the figures and weep.  If you have questions or want further documentation, please ask.  

I don't really think I want Notre Dame in the conference.  Who can forget the Fainting Irish's tie with Iowa, a game in which the august Frank Leahy got his players to fake two injuries.
A controversial 14-14 tie against Iowa denied the Irish another potential national championship....
The controversy over the tie with Iowa stemmed from the fact that both of Notre Dame's touchdowns (one late in the first half and the other late in the game) came after a player had faked an injury. In both instances, Notre Dame had used up their allotment of time outs, and under normal circumstances, time would have expired in each half before they could run another play. Faking an injury was a widely-used ploy in football as a means of buying time, but in most cases there was no impact on the outcome of a game. In Notre Dame's case, they used this ruse not once but twice in the same game, and both times they managed to score touchdowns. A new rule was implemented the following year forbidding players from faking injuries, and many saw this as punishment directed at Notre Dame, who were branded as the "Fainting Irish."
Does the Big Ten really want this bunch of Cheating Cheaters in the conference?  We should probably force them to change the record of that Iowa game from a tie to a loss before admitting them.

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