Keep the regionals? Move the Pac-12 Network? Fold it? ESPN? Amazon? We dig into the details in our latest podcast

"Watching tv" by decade_null is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

A quick note before today’s post.

This week, my friends with Every Day Should Be Saturday are running the Charity Bowl to support New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement organization in Atlanta.

Folks are invited to donate to NAP in the most petty-way possible. For example, an Ohio State fan might decide to donate $30.27, to celebrate The Spot (which was good), a 30-27 Buckeye win. A BYU fan might donate $19.84 to trigger a Utah fan. A very rich Georgia Tech fan might donate $222.00 to make sure Cumberland never forgets. You get the idea.

I’m the child of an immigrant, and resettlement charities are a cause near and dear to my heart. I’m where I am today because folks lent a hand to my mother and her parents when they were strangers in a strange land. Cleveland, specifically.

I’m donating 100% of all new revenue from Extra Points this week to the Charity Bowl, and will throw in a little extra to stick it to Michigan. So all the money from every new subscription, every new ad sale, the works…it’s all going to support the next batch of First Round Draft Picks of the United States of America.

This may be a good week to tell your friends to sign up for Extra Points, switch to a paid subscription, or purchase an ad in Going For Two or on the newsletter. You’ll get four newsletters a week, and some folks who could use a hand will get some important resources.

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What’s going to happen with the next round of big conference TV deals?

The Big Ten is the next major conference set to redo their Tier 1 TV deal, and the industry expects the league to sign another hefty increase. The Big 12 and Pac-12 will go shortly after…and everybody wants to know what will happen out West.

If you’re a Pac-12 fan, the good news is that the Pac-12 Network is reportedly expected to produce record payouts. The bad news is that “record payouts” means finally hitting the low end of their initial revenue projections. A few extra hundred thousand dollars per school is certainly good news, but it isn’t anywhere close to enough to close the looming revenue gap between the Pac-12 and other power conferences.

So what does the league do next?

Bryan and I discuss that on the latest episode of Going For Two, which should be live in your podcast subscription feeds right about now. We dig into:

  • Should the Pac-12 ditch their regional network strategy?
  • Should the Pac-12 Network HQ move? Hell, should it continue to exist at all?
  • At what point is it worth it to trade exposure for potential revenue and jump to a FANG or streaming company?
  • What can the ACC do to close an equally significant revenue gap, outside of taking a massive conference realignment swing?

Going For Two is completely free, publishes every Wednesday, and can be found pretty much everywhere folks get their podcasts these days. Next week, we’ll do a mailbag episode, so if you have questions you’d like addressed on the podcast, leave ‘em in the comments, tweet me, or drop me an email at Matt@Extrapointsmb.com.

In other news, a few quick hitters…

Boston College is going New Balance

I’ve written a little bit about New Balance and college athletics before. The company has a deal with Maine, and recently announced a deal with the University of Denver. SBJ confirmed Tuesday morning that Boston College would move from UA to New Balance, giving New Balance their first P5 program.

I do not think Boston College will be the last D-I program to announce a shift to New Balance this year. All three schools have a significant hockey presence, and other programs that care about hockey and lacrosse might find New Balance might be a more attractive partner than other apparel companies.

I don’t believe this is a deal that’s exactly about money. Financial terms were not disclosed, but I’d be surprised if New Balance is dropping a huge cash bonus on Boston College…that isn’t really the direction these apparel deals go anymore, especially for schools outside of the top 20 or so largest programs. I’d imagine the appeal for BC is an increase in product, a more responsive apparel partner and access to the New Balance sports complex.

New Balance doesn’t outfit football programs, so somebody else will have to fill that need for Boston College…but also don’t be surprised to see more programs “split” their apparel contracts across sports, especially at low and mid-majors.

UNC is creating their own group license

Even as many states open up the NIL marketplace for individual college athletes, there isn’t an immediate path towards group licenses, which would allow say, every football program to participate in a video game, trading card system, or NFT…whatever. Fans of the EA Sports video game want this system, some proposed federal NIL bills call for a system, but so far, the NCAA and senior school administrators have resisted the idea.

North Carolina is going to experiment with doing their own system. Not for current athletes (at least, not yet), but for former athletes, with a special focus for now on men’s basketball and women’s soccer.

Essentially, the ex-Tar Heels (voluntarily) agree to participate, UNC can sell stuff with the athlete’s name on it (like, say, a Mia Hamm jersey), and then the ex-athletes get a cut. Jersey sales would be the obvious first step, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only potential product.

Via the press release:

The program will seek group licensing opportunities in apparel and non-apparel categories and maximize creative co-brand development. TBG, which has industry-leading experience creating and managing similar programs with the NFL and NBA players associations, is working closely with the University and the school's licensing partner, CLC, to identify prospective licensees. Only companies that utilize group player programs with three or more former Carolina student-athletes will be able to participate in the group licensing program.

If this works well, I’d expect several other schools to jump on board. If nothing else, that’s another perk that a school can offer in recruiting. And shoot, if an athletic department as large as UNC can figure out a way to pull this off without the world ending, extending it to other schools can’t be that complicated, right?

Personally, I love it, and I hope current college-athletes are offered this opportunity as soon as possible. It’s a win for the athletes, a win for consumers, and if done properly, potentially even a win for the athletic department as well.

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