A pair of television deals recently negotiated with CBS and ESPN will put approximately $3 billion into SEC coffers over the next 15 seasons.
And that monetary dominance, when coupled with the SEC’s on-field excellence, has other conferences across the country understandably concerned.
In an excellent, albeit lengthy, piece appearing in today’s Orlando Sentinel, Andrew Carter examines the ramifications of the SEC’s new TV deals, and what, if any, effect it will have on a competitive advantage already tilting in the league’s favor.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who on one hand says its “the players who play the game”, also concedes that money derived from the network deals could provide an edge the SEC doesn’t really need to begin with.
“I guess money’s money,” Swinney said. “And money drives facilities and facilities can affect recruiting and things like that, and can affect expansion of stadiums and ticket sales. All those things. So I guess there could be an argument for that.”
Fellow ACC head coach Tom O’Brien shares Sweeney’s sentiments.
“It’s an advantage right now,” the North Carolina State coach told The Sentinel regarding the SEC’s TV contracts, “because it gives them the ability to have more resources … I think it’s certainly something [ACC Commissioner John Swofford] is concerned about.”
Not all involved, however, fall into the doom & gloom category.
Big East associate commissioner for football, Nick Carperelli, thinks that the amount of money the SEC received will do nothing but help other conferences when it comes time for them to renegotiate their own deals.
“They’ve clearly set the bar at this point,” Carperelli said. “I think it probably bodes well for all the conferences that have TV contracts that are about to enter negations. Every TV contract gets bigger and bigger … I would think that the conferences who are up next for renegotiation are excited about the possibility to get a bump themselves.”
And we couldn’t agree more with Mr. Carperelli.
While no conference will likely come close to matching what the SEC received, there’s no doubt that bar set by the SEC will immensely improve the bottom lines of other leagues.
Much like there’s little doubt that the TV deal signed by the Big Ten prior to the SEC’s deal helped that conference, there’s also little doubt that conferences like the ACC and Big East will benefit from the generosity of ESPN/CBS.
The ACC’s current deal expires in 2011, while the Big East’s runs through the 2013-2014 season.
And, come time for the TV talks, both those two conferences and others will be thanking the SEC for setting the bar as high as it did.