Discover more from Bald Faced Truth by John Canzano
Canzano: Mailbag deals with Phil Knight, the Pac-12 and... a seafood boil
Your questions... my answers.
My brother, his wife, and their three children, live in California. They’re currently enjoying an extended visit to Oregon. So is my youngest sister, her children, and my parents, too. This week they’ll help put on Camp Exceptional — the inclusive summer camp the Bald Faced Truth Foundation facilitates for special-needs children and typical kids.
The camp has become a fun summer tradition for us. We have 20 or so family members visiting and we held a festive seafood boil in our backyard on Friday evening. It was a delight to see our three daughters, alongside their cousins, laughing, talking, and elbow-deep in cracked crab, clams, mussels, potatoes and corn.
The summer camp is special. It’s a “relationship camp” disguised as a sports camp. Kids, aged 5-15, participate. The team leaders include a core group of Portland State football players who carpool to the camp every summer.
I was left looking at the camp through a pair of glassy eyes last July as I watched the college football players take children by the hand and help them build confidence, friendships and sports skills. It’s the stuff communities — and young people — are built with.
I’m having a lot of fun with this new writing endeavor. I’ve discovered new joy and I’m grateful you’re here for it. I appreciate everyone who has supported by reading, subscribing and/or giving a gift subscription.
Thank you, all.
Onto the mailbag…
Q: I saw a piece last week about Hawaii maybe being a candidate for Pac-10 membership. New stadium underway and not a bad TV market. Wonder what your Fox media expert thinks? — @KenHollaren
A: Hawaii is a beautiful place to visit, but the state has only 445,000 television households. Honolulu’s TV market (DMA) captures all of those homes and ranks as the No. 65 market in the country. For that reason, Hawaii is not a great expansion option. Also, the travel is tough.
A: The ACC television markets are dramatically better. There are 28.2 million total number of households in the ACC footprint. After the Big 12’s coming expansion, it will have only 15 million households. It’s not close. But… if you could somehow partner with the ACC, and merge with the Big 12, wouldn’t everyone be better off?
Q: In regards to Pac-12 expansion candidates - cable companies use local DMA to assign value to a college team, what would streaming providers use? — @DRS12103051
A: I asked Bob Thompson, the former president of Fox Sports Networks, this very question. Hulu, Google TV and Fubo TV act like cable companies (but distribute via internet). Nielsen incorporates their ratings into a network’s overall rating. But Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video can tell how many homes are watching a stream of show/game at any given time. Apple and Amazon also take into account subscription gains.
Q: Does California Gov. Newsom’s issues with UCLA leave a window cracked for Oregon to replace them in the Big Ten if it becomes too muddled for UCLA? — @Deafdux
A: Feels like the bond holders of the UC system may have a bigger beef. But let’s assume UCLA does reverse course for the sake of argument. Oregon’s potential annual media value (~$30 million) is going to fall well short of the $71 million it takes to justify cutting them into the conference with a full share. But I think the Ducks would get consideration because of their brand. So would Stanford (Bay Area TV market + academic prestige) and Washington (Seattle TV market). That trio presents an interesting barstool debate.
Q: John I’m an Oregon and SMU grad who lives in Dallas. I’m still confused why SMU > TCU is a thing. SMU is a great school but isn’t TCU a better athletic brand than SMU? Maybe there’s a play to bring in all of SMU/TCU/Baylor/Houston, but just SMU seems off. Although I would enjoy it. — @ColinPetitt
A: I agree that Baylor, Houston and TCU are more attractive brands than SMU. But SMU is part of the American Athletic Conference, which doesn’t have a lucrative TV contract. The other Big 12 Conference programs you mentioned might be trickier to poach. For that reason, I think SMU gets brought up frequently.
Q: When comparing PAC 12 TV markets, how is the Portland market assigned to OSU and Oregon if it is at all? — @Ralong27
A: Both Oregon and Oregon State get credit for the 1,143,670 million TV households in the Portland (and beyond) region. Here’s a good look at the TV picture in college football.
Q: The panic of realignment has seemed to have died down with the remaining PAC-10/12 teams. Given Rick George’s comments on USC and UCLA, do either teams have to prove their worth this season? Do you think remaining teams who have USC/UCLA on the schedule have that game circled? — @JoeInOregon87
A: The hostility for the Trojans and Bruins is going to be an interesting study this football season. It will be real. I also think UCLA, which has been so-so in recent years in the Pac-12, is going to struggle to matter in the Big Ten.
Q: Do columnists in general feel competitive pressure from other columnists in the writing of their daily or weekly writings? Do you read other’s writings and feel any apprehension to perform? — @2022SportsGuy
A: My formative writing years were spent at some phenomenal newspapers — particularly The Fresno Bee and San Jose Mercury News — where I was surrounded by a deep pool of gifted writers, editors and reporters. My colleagues were so good, that I had to bring my best or I’d look bad. I love competition. But that competition, for me, is largely internal now. I’m in a daily struggle with my own limitations and determined to give readers my best stuff.
You’re going to get sourced, high-brow, in-depth reporting and commentary here. My goal is to make you smarter and elevate the conversations you’re having with friends and family.
Q: What are your top five stadium employee (elevator attendant, scoreboard operator, janitor, etc.) anecdotes of all time? — @BakersDaddy3
A: No room for a top-five list here. But I’ll tell you this, sometimes the best sources aren’t the team president, coach or general manager.
Q: Is Dutch Bros Coffee the best reason to visit Oregon? I vote Yes. — @calbearfore
A: My relatives who visit this state sometimes say this very thing. But I think they’re just trying to keep me humble.
Q: Does Phil Knight approve of the Pac-10 staying together? — @ValyaIvanova9
A: I had a well-placed source tell me that he didn’t think Phil Knight donated all those millions over the years for UO to get left in the college football minor leagues. I wrote recently about Knight’s role in this process. I believe he wants Oregon to matter and will do whatever it takes to help position the Ducks for success.
A: Long-standing habits are hard to break. The show has been on air for more than 15 years and has been positioned in a variety of time slots. I cherish the connection with listeners. Give me a listen 3 p.m.-6 p.m. on 750-AM (Portland), 1050-AM (Eugene), 960-AM (Klamath Falls) and 1490-AM (Roseburg) or stream the show from anywhere on Earth. The podcast is always there for you, too. I promise to leave you smarter (and happier) than when you arrived.
Q: Other than the loss of prestige, would OSU/WSU be better off if the Pac-12 does break up completely? In an expanded playoff, there will be a spot for a “non power 5” and I see an easier path to be that team than a champ of a major conference. — @EastboundFitzN
A: I suspect the vast majority of at-large berths for an expanded playoff would likely land with the Big Ten and SEC programs. Those two pigs are busy trying to monopolize the system and “game” it in their favor. The media revenue from being in a major conference is a game changer. It’s why the Pac-12 needs a “Hail Mary” in this round of negotiations.
Have a great weekend…
Thank you for reading. I appreciate all who have supported, subscribed and shared my new independent endeavor with friends and family in recent months. If you haven’t already — please consider subscribing.