Category Archives: Football


Say Goodbye to Division IV

453653643In my opinion, Division IV was like Texas threatening to leave the Big XII; it was never going to happen. Texas wanted Longhorn Network and all the money that came with it, and the Power 5 (the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) want autonomy within the confines of the NCAA.

Click here to keep reading my thoughts on why Division IV isn’t happening over on Outkick the Coverage.


Conference Realignment Timeline

When I was writing my business of college football book, Saturday Millionaires, it was practically a full-time job keeping up with conference realignment from 2010-2013. Lucky for me, all got quiet about the same time I published the book, so you’ll find Chapter 4 is still a completely accurate tale of not only this round of realignment but previous rounds as well.

Feeling nostalgic for the good ole days when you never knew what conferences might look like in a week or a month or a year? Here’s a detailed timeline of how it all played out….

A big thank you to my intern extraordinaire, Lauren Nevidomsky, who helped me put this together!

Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)

How much are college athletic facility naming rights worth?

Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)
Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)

UPDATE: Boise State’s new naming rights deal with Albertsons was unintentionally omitted. It has been added, which has changed the average annual values in the original post.

What’s the market value for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities? It’s much more difficult to estimate than if we were talking about professional athletics. Universities often complete these deals at less than market rate in order to acknowledge past gifts by major donors.

For example, naming right for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at University of Louisville is officially on the books as a $5 million donation for 52 years. In total, however, Papa John’s had donated approximately $22 million for the football stadium through 2011.  Would University of Louisville have agreed to a naming rights deal with a company it had never done business with previously for 52 years for $5 million? Not likely.

It’s not uncommon in these deals for past donations to be taken into account, causing the naming rights deal itself to be below market rate. That’s somewhat unique to college athletics thanks to its nonprofit status and history of relying upon donations.

We’ve recently updated our database for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities. Quite a few of the deals are for the life of the stadium or arena, and details of the deals aren’t always disclosed, especially when it involves a private university.

However, just for the sake of trying to pinpoint something approximating an average annual value, here are some average annual values based on what we do know: Continue reading

Adidas - Texas A&M

Selling Jerseys with Current Players’ Numbers Isn’t Worth the Risk

“…it’s foreseeable they might get out of the business of selling jerseys with numbers corresponding to current student-athletes if push came to shove.”

No. 12 jerseys will be the only ones available at retail for Texas A&M this year (photo credit: Adidas)
No. 12 jerseys will be the only ones available at retail for Texas A&M this year (photo credit: Adidas)

I made that prediction last August, and now it seems push has come to shove.

ESPN’s Darren Rovell is reporting today that several schools – Texas A&M, Arizona and Northwestern – will discontinue the use of current player’s numbers on jerseys, sidestepping any future litigation or obligation to split proceeds with student athletes. A licensing director told me last year he thought this would happen before schools would divide the revenue with student athletes, and certainly last week’s EA Sports settlement renews the discussion about sharing revenue arguably driven by student athletes with those student athletes.

At the end of the day, the revenue simply isn’t worth the risk for schools. As I reported for ESPN last year, schools don’t really make that much from jersey sales in the grand scheme of things (similar to their situation with regards to video game revenue). Here’s a sampling of jersey sales numbers from the 2012-2013 school year, which include jerseys for all sports, not just football: Continue reading

Everything you need to know about Northwestern student athlete unionization ruling

On Wednesday the National Labor Relations Board’s regional office in Chicago ruled in favor of scholarship student athletes at Northwestern, declaring them employees and allowing them to collectively bargain with the University going forward, much in the same way we’re familiar with professional sports leagues collectively bargaining with their athletes. Here are the answers you need to about how this ruling might impact college football:

What does the ruling mean?

Click here to keep read my answers to your biggest questions about the NLRB ruling on Bleacher Report.

How are Fans Getting Their College Sports Fix?

Fans love their live college sports. It comes as no surprise then that over the years more and more NCAA games have been available on Cable and Satellite, with teams getting more national exposure than ever before. When teams and conferences create their own networks, the deals that cable providers make to carry these networks can be extremely lucrative. The most recent of these deals comes in the form of DISH network coming to terms with The Walt Disney Company to carry both the Longhorn Network and SEC Network.

In response to this new deal, it is interesting to note how college sports fans are really watching their favorite teams compete. Prior to SEC Network signing on with DISH, the only providers that had arranged to carry the network were not national ones. Thus, if someone from outside the coverage networks of either AT&T U-Verse or National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative would have wanted to watch a program on SEC Network starting this summer, he or she would have had to look elsewhere.

With the proliferation of online streaming services, such as Netflix, when viewers can’t get their college sports fix on TV, it makes sense that they would turn to the Internet. In fact, ESPN is giving 15 college conferences their own dedicated, national TV channels streamed over the Internet through WatchESPN. These channels will initially be available on Apple TV and Roku set-top devices, but there are plans to expand to computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. Typically, one can access WatchESPN, a website that allows one to stream a multitude of ESPN channels, if he or she is a current subscriber of a traditional cable provider such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse TV, Cablevision, or Verizon FiOS. WatchESPN has also been available through Apple TV and Roku, whose subscribers have spent a higher than average time viewing WatchESPN, in comparison to those that have access to it through their cable subscriptions. The 15 new college conference channels are from those conferences that do not have a major TV presence currently, such as the ACC, America East, Big West, Mid-American, Missouri Valley, Southern, and Sun Belt.

The Costs of Watching College Sports

One of the advantages of WatchESPN providing these channels on Roku and Apple TV is that the conferences do not need to negotiate with cable or satellite providers about carriage fees and terms. What some viewers do not realize is this helps them from paying those TV subscriptions fees that seem to increase every year. When ESPN inks a deal with a certain conference (professional or collegiate), it usually pays a hefty price to broadcast the games. Those costs are then passed onto the TV providers (cable or satellite) that broadcast ESPN. Finally, those costs are then passed onto the viewers, who continue pay for the cable and satellite subscriptions due to the fact that these TV providers are still the main players in bringing live sports action into the home.

Besides the costs borne by viewers, TV providers also stand to bear dire costs by not providing their subscribers with the college teams that they want to watch. Presently, DirecTV, unlike its main competitor DISH Network, has not come to terms to carry the SEC Network. This has angered many fans, with some of them taking to Twitter to threaten that they would switch providers if DirecTV will not carry it. How many subscribers would actually switch still remains to be seen, but since many hardcore sports fans choose DirecTV because of its NFL Sunday Ticket package, the number could potentially be substantial.

A more in-depth breakdown of the costs associated with carrying collegiate sports on television can be found here.

Florida State Football Season Ticket Sales Skyrocketing

Hot off their national championship win, the Florida State Seminoles are experiencing extremely high demand for football season tickets. With a 90% renewal rate from previous season ticket holders and more than 9,400 new season tickets sold, Florida State could conceivably sell out of season tickets by the end of spring.

The 9,400 new season tickets sold so far this spring is 200% higher than new season tickets sold all of last year. The Seminoles are also seeing a renewal rate that is 210% higher than in past years for existing season ticket holders.

Season ticket sales boost the athletic department in a number of ways.

Click here to keep reading my piece on The Motley Fool.