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Pac-12 Football Teams Ranked by TV Performance Ratings in Past Half Decade

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With conference realignment always a topic in the Pac-12, a look a which teams have the best TV performance numbers over the...

 

Both Ducks and Trojans had 6 regular season games with over 4 million viewers.

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Thanks for the post Annie. Again this shows an interesting fact of actual viewers, but it's not actual viewers that matter it's the size of the TV markets that the networks base their income payouts off of.

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     What’s interesting to consider is the trust cable tv corporations are putting in the consistency of traditional, regional tv viewing habits as they lay waste to the very fabric on which those habits are based.

 

     If traditional viewing habits falter in the wake of conference realignments, have ESPN and Fox miscalculated the direction in which those tv $$ are going as streaming emerges as a stronger option?Probably not since most homes will most likely fall in line with where ever they sense the ‘winners’ will be. 

 

     But some viewing resistance based on disillusionment might be expected, tossing a wrench in their almighty plans. Programs like Oregon with a well-established cross-over audience would benefit from such a scenario.

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It's been my sincere hope that GK negotiates a deal with AppleTV, Prime Video or the like. I would immediately subscribe to something like that that carries the PAC/Oregon games.  As far as Fox/ESPN is concerned, I couldn't care less about...

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On 7/21/2022 at 8:15 AM, Duck 1972 said:

it's not actual viewers that matter it's the size of the TV markets that the networks base their income payouts off of.

That certainly is true based on how the broadcasters have traditionally sold ad time in regions but there has always been a national advertising block for coast to coast broadcasts and those are the big money makers for the major networks.  The Oregon/Georgia game is a national broadcast on ABC (ESPN) and that game is BIG money (no pun intended).

 

Your point I think is that the LA media market being the second largest in the country is more valuable than Oregon.  In the local advertisement sense they are more valuable as LA advertisers are likely to spend more to buy ad time during UCLA, USC than Oregon advertisers are for Oregon games.  That LA market buy is worth a lot more revenue to Fox sports than Oregon is.  For the national brand interest you have to look at out of area fans and general football fan interest.

 

This is certainly how revenues were projected (and likely how Fox got its numbers) but that model is fading a bit for Oregon (explained at the bottom of this post). 

 

UCLA is a media draw during basketball season but UCLA football isn't worth what it once was.  USC media value is getting a bump due to the LR hire. 

 

Obviously a CFB team's media value isn't static.  Sure it has a floor value based on die hard fans but plenty of CFB fans will choose to only watch the marque games for their teams.  That percentage is much higher for CFB teams that have a disappointing season.

 

The reason ESPN is interested in the PAC media contract is they are doing a more nuanced analysis of current media value than what I described above.  When the professionals look at media rights it's always in a broadcast competition scenario.  Meaning when Fox compares it's west coast broadcast time against potential PAC content it comes up with one number based on what it already has planned.  Meaning the payout has a cap as Fox already has good offerings on the west coast (like the BIG 10 games that we will watch on the WC).  ESPN has a different number based on their program dynamics.

 

The reason I think the dynamics are shifting for Oregon is that they are attempting to position themselves as a national brand and NOT a state of Oregon brand.  The method is simple really, recruit across the entire country and play big game matchups with plenty of entertainment value.

 

From a win loss perspective what was Oregon thinking scheduling travel games against Auburn, Ohio State, Georgia?  These are low probability season wreckers.  They are also HUGE ratings draws.  Some of the future schedules include Oklahoma State, Baylor, Michigan State, Ohio State.  

 

The problem is that Oregon's schedule is being locked in too far in advance.  The Texas Tech games made sense when schedule, but probably not now.  What ESPN has in its favor is a PAC that needs a good media contract and I think that part of the negotiation is to figure out how ESPN can maximize the PAC media value.  Easier said than done but if the PAC wants football revenues to rise then they need to figure out how to have more exciting games (competitive programs) and for larger audiences. 

 

With the NCAA collapsing into near-irrelevance a good question is what rules does the PAC currently have that are standing in the way of more competitive football programs? 

 

 

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I believe the problem isn't rules but  a lack of interest in CFB in the West. The schools are not as interested in providing the funds it takes to have top notch facilities, budgets to recruit nationally, pay coaches especially assistants, and be able to increase stadium sizes because they don't have enough fans to fill them. That's why we have small venues.

 

We have a lot less population (except for Cal), therefore less players, therefore less talent, therefore we don't win national titles.

 

Oregon is the exception because of uncle Phil.

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On 7/21/2022 at 9:03 PM, Duck 1972 said:

We have a lot less population (except for Cal), therefore less players, therefore less talent, therefore we don't win national titles.

In general I agree that the size of your state certainly matters but it's absolutely not the whole story.

 

Here is a list of State population figures.  Oregon with 4.2 million (most of them usually driving in front of me on highway 101 it seems) is ranked middle of the pack at 27/50.

 

Note that Oklahoma is below us in population and is a media draw mostly because of who they play and their storied history.  Iowa is also below us.

 

Number 4 on that list with 19.8 million viewers is New York.  Plenty of football fans in New York but no serious football schools, sorry Syracuse.

 

New Jersey has 9.2 million viewers and Rutgers still sucks.  As far as college football recruiting and media markets New York & New Jersey have a combined region of over 29 million.

 

That's a huge area competing with Texas and is producing lots of talent and viewers with no major local representation with College Football. 

 

Clearly there's more to this than population advantage.

 

 

 

 

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On 7/21/2022 at 9:03 PM, Duck 1972 said:

I believe the problem isn't rules

I also agree with you that we can only do so much with rules in the Pac but it's an area where we COULD choose to lead and get us ahead.

 

I've said in other posts that PAC-12 officiating is a low paying business composed of super-fans.  We could change that for peanuts and send a statement that the PAC-12 is innovative and a leader.

 

It's within the PAC's power to pay its officials a full time salary.

 

Using better technology and a professional officiating crew enhances the game for the players/coaches/fans.  

 

Nobody wins when officials make mistakes or just look a bit silly getting flustered in the game. 

 

Think of the brand value the PAC-12 gets if officials in the BIG-10 make a mistake the broadcasters spend 10 minutes talking about how that doesn't happen in the PAC-12 now.

 

Sure pretty quickly the BIG-10 and SEC will also pay officials but people will remember that the PAC-12 innovated on that.

 

Oregon certainly didn't invent the spread, but everyone remembers Oregon took the spread into prime-time!  That has a lasting brand effect.

 

Another rule the PAC could implement is they could force the schools to spend more money on facilities to stay in the PAC.  Why?  Better facilities promotes better player development and safety for the players.  That would be the "pay to stay" rule.  Super unpopular with the college presidents I'm sure.

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