Canzano: Mailbag deals with Pac-12 football, movies, beer, and NBA expansion
Your letters, my answers...
I love movies. I especially enjoy seeing them in a theater. Dan Lanning told me about his favorite movies the other day. The Oregon Ducks’ first-year head football coach broke from talking about the upcoming season to share the movies he loves to watch.
I present Dan Lanning’s top, all-time movies here (with Lanning’s comments):
The Last of the Mohicans — (“The soundtrack makes the movie.”)
The Departed — (“I like mob movies; it’s got an amazing cast.”)
Mystic River — (“I know, you’re starting to feel like, ‘This guy is kind of dark.’”)
Seven — (“It’s a great movie, it’s surprising.”)
Road to Perdition — (“Now you probably don’t want to hang out with me.”)
I’m having a lot of fun with this new writing endeavor. I am grateful for those who have subscribed or given family members and friends full gift subscriptions. It’s been a blast in the last few months.
Thanks to all who have read, subscribed and sent words of encouragement.
Onto the mailbag… your questions, my answers:
Q: What are the odds the Big Ten or SEC adds more schools that fit as institutions and good markets, even if not great football of late? Colorado, ASU, Washington, Stanford may not raise Big Ten profits just yet, but they’re great fits otherwise. If Rutgers and Maryland did it, why not? — @cjmfour
A: The Big Ten added Rutgers and Maryland years ago to capture New York (7.45 million television households) and Washington, D.C. (2.45 million). Any expansion candidate would now have to generate $70 million-plus in projected media rights revenue for justification. Of those you mentioned, Stanford is the most interesting. Academically attractive, great brand, and 2.65 million TV households in the Bay Area. However, the projected media value of Stanford only falls somewhere around $38 million, according to the experts and analysts I consulted with. The other Big Ten members would have to be OK with subsidizing Stanford.
Q: Is the Big Ten playing hardball to get the likes of UW/UO/Cal/Stanford to get desperate and agree to an unequal revenue sharing deal below their fair value? — @TomeiTyler
A: The Big Ten already gobbled up UCLA and USC and it’s full… for now. It’s also finalizing its media rights packages (which cause a pause) and it will wait to see what Notre Dame does in the next 12-18 months (independent or no?). I think the Irish will stay independent as long as they believe they have access to the playoff and a good TV deal with NBC. I suspect those programs you mentioned would love to be with the “haves.” Maybe this process softens them up from a negotiating standpoint, but it’s more likely that the Big Ten is just going to exhale for a bit and see how this works out.
Q: While admittedly not at UW or UO level why is WSU considered a “have not”? Metrics like 1 million+ viewed games and average viewership put them third highest among the remaining Pac-12 schools, yet they are always lumped in with OSU (who they’ve beaten 8 straight btw). Perception? — @Smittytheclownn
A: Pullman (35,000 population) is a close approximation with Corvallis (58,000). The WSU and OSU campuses are located in true college towns. Both are state universities, both immediate TV markets are modest in size, and both fancy themselves agricultural schools. Also, both programs finished 7-6 last season on the field. You’re right, though, WSU won 61 games in the decade that ran 2010-2019. OSU only won 43 games in that same span. Head to head, it was a TKO. Still, those two get lumped together for the list of aforementioned reasons.
Q: It feels like Portland getting an MLB team has really cooled off. What’s the latest on a team coming to Portland? — @TylerHergert
A: MLB owners will one day generate billions in new franchise fees with expansion. But baseball remains in a holding pattern, perpetually looking for stability for the franchises in Tampa and Oakland. Portland isn’t well positioned right now from a political standpoint. There isn’t a lot of will and vision in local and state leadership positions. But I believe the Portland Diamond Project is still exploring at least two suburban stadium sites and is waiting to see what happens with MLB.
Q: Oregon is a household name in college football. Aren’t these experts being short sighted here? Shouldn’t they be looking at the opportunity here? If Oregon joined the Big Ten and got another $20-30 million per year, how much more relevant would they be? — @jbeam22
A: The math doesn’t work right now. The Big Ten members are going to receive $70 million to $100 million in distributions from their conference. If the Big Ten took Oregon, it would have to do it at a deep discount to justify it. The Ducks need to continue to invest heavily in football and make the playoff in football. I’m told by Pac-12 sources that an uneven distribution of bowl game revenue and units from the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament is on the table. Basically, if you win big in football and basketball, you get a larger share of the proceeds generated by your success. Previously, those winnings were split evenly among members. Oregon would benefit greatly from this new model, if it happens.
Q: A few weeks ago a alliance between the Pac-12 and the ACC sounded like the best option for both conferences going forward. I haven’t heard any talk of the alliance lately and heard no mention at Pac-12 media day of the ACC. — @dpstang
A: I’m told a “loose partnership” is still very much on the table. It solves financial problems for the ACC and Pac-12 and allows ESPN to get the Pacific Time Zone and a pile of new content for ESPN+.
Q: Light beer or big, hoppy IPA? You can only have one, which is it! — @Beavsfan11111
A: These days? With the loss of tradition, the transfer portal, NIL, and this college football expansion mess? Give me the IPA. It has a higher alcohol content.
Q: Taking away your “neutral” media hat, who are your favorite college football, basketball and professional teams? Have they changed since you were in grade school? — @2022SportsGuy
A: I used to root 49ers, Giants and Warriors because I was loyal to my soil growing up. My college team was San Jose State because of proximity to my childhood home and ticket affordability. I’m still a fan, down deep. But I root more for good stories now. Also, at one of my newspaper stops (The San Jose Mercury News) I ended up covering the 49ers and Giants. It was eye-opening to encounter some of the players I’d grown up rooting for in a new, professional context.
Q: What are you reporting on Pac-12 valuations? And compared to the Big 12? Also status update on the negotiation window? — @vakaviti
A: The Pac-12’s 30-day, exclusive negotiating window with ESPN and Fox expired Aug. 4. Industry experts did not expect a deal to be announced in the early window. Former Fox Sports Networks president Bob Thompson told me, “I think the conference will be wise and want to see who is on the outside looking in when the Big Ten option ends. There’s going to be some folks who expressed an interest in collegiate football who aren’t going to get it in the Big Ten deal.”
The Pac-12 will slow play this, then eat what’s leftover in the market. I believe the Pac-12 has some advantages over the Big 12 right now. Kickoffs in the Pacific Time Zone are especially attractive to ESPN, for example. Also, the current Pac-12 Network content is coveted by ESPN+. I think the Pac-12 will eclipse the Big 12 for those reasons. But ideally, you’d like both conferences to do well on the media rights front to ensure the overall health of college football.
Q: So do you think NBA expands after 2024 season? — @bcspang
A: The NBA owners are waiting for their new television contract. The current $24 billion deal is up after the 2024-25 season. The league is seeking a package worth $75 billion — a 3x increase. Once they’re done with that, owners will likely vote to expand. The franchise fees become a second windfall and Las Vegas and Seattle are no-brainer additions.
Have a great weekend everyone…
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