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What is driving the B1G expansion?

  • First it started with a Nebraska a couple years ago and now we have Maryland, Rutgers and now we're on the verge of adding GT and possibly Virginia. Anyone have any clue what could be driving all of this behind the scenes at all? It started off slow and now all of a sudden we may add at the minimum, 4 new teams to the conference. It just seems like something has to be driving this faster paced expansion then what was beforehand. It has to be some form of increased revenue tied to the BTN but it just seems like all these rumors really ramped up over the past month. Contract talks coming up with Fox in the next few years and they want to have a higher bid from them to carry B1G games? Not sure but it just seems like something is coming down the pike with all this much faster than any of us really would've figured.

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  • There have been about 20 posts on this over the last two weeks but the best I've seen so far is:

    Excellent summation here. You can also scroll down the page and pick any of the several expansion threads and take a read. More on Page 2.

  • #1. money - many athletic programs are in the red because they have to support so many non-revenue generating women's sports.

    #2. Population shift to the south for better weather or job opportunities or both.

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  • The SEC/ESPN channel will start up in 2014. Estimates say it will bring in $1 billion in the second or third year.

    The B1G is in an arms race with the SEC.

    Right now providers pay 90 cents a month for each subscriber in the B1G footprint. Outside the footprint they pay 10 cents per subscriber. Let's say there are 20 million subscribers in the expanded footprint (there are probably more), the equation is 20,000,000(subscribers) x .80 (dollars) X 12 (months) = (about) $200 million per year. This does not include the increase advertising opportunities and revenue.

    This is a very very conservative estimate.

    This post was edited by quackie 19 months ago

  • Expansion with Nebraska was for competitive reasons, and like the link referenced above stated, Big 10 expansion is related to the AAU,academics, federal research grants, tv rights, population footprint and sports. The Rutgers and Maryland additions bring AAU schools, federal research grants (i.e. federal $$$$'s) tv rights and population footprints, and lastly the sports. Neither Maryland or Rutgers will make a big splash in sports for a while but they're members now (or soon will be).

    The talk of North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech is there because all three of these schools are AAU members,have high academic ratings, bring large amounts of tv rights and population, that along with federal research grants.

    Grants and research dollars are big elements of universities like Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern... the amount of research and grant money at Ohio State is unbelieveable. That's what driving all this, this research money pays a lot of the bills, from the maintenance people of the buildings to the professors and researchers of the universities.

  • Plus probably most importantly the research dollars are worth billions and with collaboration with other schools it helps get those dollars.

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    Anaheim Buck

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  • Thanks for posting the article it was very informative! I would have been quick to think it was all about gaining revenue thru the expansion of the BIG Network prior to reading this. Although being a Buckeye that resides out of state I am hoping it will increase the opportunity to watch games at my home in lieu of bars crowded with local team fans.

    This post was edited by Buckeye Bic 19 months ago

  • playmea

    Babb's thread was fantastic and covered a great deal on the academic benefits of expansion. But it did not cover what is pushing the B1G to expand. Only the residual monetary benefits of expansion academically.

    For example, Delaney made it very clear in the previous round of expansion that our motivation was to have a 12 team conference so we could have a Championship game. Not having the champ game put us at a competitive and monetary disadvantage.

    But now that we have 12 teams, why do we need to expand to 14 or 16 or even 18??? That, I don't think has been adequately covered. There has to be a greater factor than money that hasn't been illustrated. While money is a great motivator, it is usually not the only motivator.

    My thoughts have always been that we needed to maintain long term strength and brand equity as an athletic conference that enjoys great academic success. If the future of the environment evolves to the point where there are superconferences, then the dynamics will have changed slightly. While supconferences should not force the B1G to expand, because initially we would still enjoy a guaranteed spot in any playoff, we cannot make that promise long term with a volatile and uncertain environment. This leaves leadership with some strategic decisions to make. We could wait for the environment to change and react accordingly, or we could force the environment to change and then watch how the others react. The B1G has evidently taken the proactive approach of forcing change and having a direct impact on the college athletics landscape as a result. This long term strategy, if done correctly, can ensure future bargaining and placement power. Thus, no matter how any of the athletic landscapes evolve, the B1G will always have a seat at the table.

    If we subscribe to this logic, that leaves the question who to add. Babb did a great job on that from an academic perspective. Too many people jumped to the conclusion of TV markets. I think that is far too simplistic. And I don't believe it is the great money grab many delude themselves to believe. The TV money is there, but insignificant in the grand scheme of things when you consider existing marketshare and diluted profit distribution. Academics had to be a primary factor and Babb covered that.

    I'm not dismissing the TV markets by the way. Just not placing primary emphasis on it. There will be a monetary increase. But not so much that it is the primary motivator.

    Population shifts were also indicated by Delaney. To me this hints more about long term strategic positioning. Essentially we are moving chess pieces into position. If you look at the SEC as our "opponent", the B1G just defined (is defining) territorial boundaries. Also throwing down a metaphorical gauntlet. The beauty of it is, in a sense, it limits SEC expansion. However, I'm not sure the SEC is concerned. But from a B1G perspective it was a necessary move. Or else the SEC could have expanded their footprint further north and reduced the geographic hold of the B1G.

    So, to conclude, (in addition to money) my contention is that the B1G is doing all of this:
    1. Be proactive in instigating change rather than reactive so they can better influence outcome
    2. Getting an early start on grabbing specific and desirable geographic areas
    3. Maintaining B1G long term inclusion and equity in college athletics

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