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American Athletic and ESPN do not reach agreement during exclusive negotiations for new TV deal

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Here is a link to a longish Orlando Sentinel article where Aresco discusses at length where the AAC is prior to entering into negotiations with ESPN. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/os-sp-aac-mike-aresco-0129-story.html

“I can’t say too much about it other than our negotiating period is just days away and we’ll be engaging and obviously we love our relationship with ESPN and we’ll see where that goes.”

“I think it's very important to our conference to play those Friday games. It’s really critical to the survival of our conference as a major TV entity. We have a great product on Saturdays, too. We have great Thursday games. Fridays are important and they're more valuable than Thursdays because you don’t have the NFL sitting there.”

 The important thing to know is that an exclusive negotiating window exists in the AAC's tv contract with ESPN that ends at the end of February.  The MW anticipates beginning it's media rights discussions in April after the AAC either renews its contract with ESPN or hits the open market where Fox, Comcast/NBC and AT&T can all make offers to the AAC.  Ideally, the AAC sets the floor of the market for the Mountain West's own rights while the Pac 12 contract is the ceiling.

Personally, I expect the AAC and the MW both to see an increase due to the escalating value of live sports media rights.  Exactly how much and who is paying the MW and AAC after 2020 are the  big deals.

I haven't seen much about this topic yet.  I presume this is a 'no news is good news' situation because both parties are talking to each other and very little is leaking.  Once leaks start happening, we'll know that one side isn't happy with the progress of negotiations and that is far more likely to be the AAC side than the ESPN side.

Also, the basis for the MW's TV value has a lot more to do with the value/quality of the Pac 12 than what the AAC is worth.  It is a major mistake to think that the AAC/MW are competing for TV dollars in the same way that the two leagues compete for a New Year's Six bowl spot because the AAC's value to ESPN has a lot more to do with comparing that league to the ACC and the SEC rather than to the MW.

Finally, I think ESPN has a particularly strong interest in obtaining the MW's exclusive rights because the Pac 12 Network is a competitor to ESPN and the MW is the only alternative with comparable inventory for Window 4 national broadcasts (east coast prime time) to the Pac 12, and because the MW hosts four bowl games at conference member stadiums (After 2020, Hawaii, San Diego, New Mexico and Boise are the likely sites to host bowl games along with games in Tempe and Tucson plus a Texas game - just a guess) .

 

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OK, so my final prediction....

Carnac.jpg

AAC resigns with ESPN and the deal runs from 2020-2026...six years, 50 million per year (4.167 per team), 300 million total for the contract.

this is a little more optimistic than my previous prediction, but whatever.

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The bubble will burst at some point.  In the past 3-4 years, ESPN has been a financial anchor for Disney (at least in terms of historical revenue growth comparisons).  ESPN's response has been to dispose of all their high-priced veteran talent to cut costs.  At some point, they'll need to reduce broadcast rights payments as more and more of their audience converts to digital options.  I'm pessimistic about the AAC's and the MWC's upcoming negotiations.

At some point down the road, I'd expect the true power players (upper echelon P5 programs -- think Ohio State, Texas, USC,etc.) will realize their individual value is much higher than their share of conference payout and will begin to "cut out the middleman" and stream a significant portion of their games through some form of a subscription-based model. 

The Media Players, like ESPN, will also realize that paying $30 million per year for the broadcast rights to Oregon State isn't a value deal!

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31 minutes ago, Bruininthebay said:

Here is a link to a longish Orlando Sentinel article where Aresco discusses at length where the AAC is prior to entering into negotiations with ESPN. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/os-sp-aac-mike-aresco-0129-story.html

“I can’t say too much about it other than our negotiating period is just days away and we’ll be engaging and obviously we love our relationship with ESPN and we’ll see where that goes.”

“I think it's very important to our conference to play those Friday games. It’s really critical to the survival of our conference as a major TV entity. We have a great product on Saturdays, too. We have great Thursday games. Fridays are important and they're more valuable than Thursdays because you don’t have the NFL sitting there.”

Interesting to see Aresco talk about Thurs and Friday night games. I noted back in November in the TV ratings thread that the AAC numbers showed value in its weeknight games. I made a joke about Weeknight AACtion games back then but apparently even Aresco admits that is one of the AAC value points. The question becomes how many weeknight vs weekend games will Aresco agree to.

18 minutes ago, UofMTigers said:

AAC resigns with ESPN and the deal runs from 2020-2026...six years, 50 million per year (4.167 per team), 300 million total for the contract.

this is a little more optimistic than my previous prediction, but whatever.

But I think it is still more realistic than the $6 million, $8 million, $10 million numbers being thrown around on the AAC board.

 

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This link from the summer of 2017 (!) shows that the MW is still WAY ahead of the American in terms of having substantive discussions about their next TV contract.

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/sports/csu/football/2017/07/29/mountain-west-considers-cutting-cord-next-tv-deal/520989001/

"Thompson and the athletic directors of the MW's 12 football-playing schools are taking a closer look at all the options before agreeing to any new media rights deals. CBS-Sports Network and ESPN, he said, have offered to extend the current deals under the same financial terms, but the MW is in no rush to renew. Those discussions won't take place for another 18 months or so, he said, giving the conference time to better understand and explore the options."

 

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3 minutes ago, Bruininthebay said:

This link from the summer of 2017 (!) shows that the MW is still WAY ahead of the American in terms of having substantive discussions about their next TV contract.

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/sports/csu/football/2017/07/29/mountain-west-considers-cutting-cord-next-tv-deal/520989001/

"Thompson and the athletic directors of the MW's 12 football-playing schools are taking a closer look at all the options before agreeing to any new media rights deals. CBS-Sports Network and ESPN, he said, have offered to extend the current deals under the same financial terms, but the MW is in no rush to renew. Those discussions won't take place for another 18 months or so, he said, giving the conference time to better understand and explore the options."

It's not a race....

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1 hour ago, Bruininthebay said:

Here is a link to a longish Orlando Sentinel article where Aresco discusses at length where the AAC is prior to entering into negotiations with ESPN. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/ucf-knights/os-sp-aac-mike-aresco-0129-story.html

“I can’t say too much about it other than our negotiating period is just days away and we’ll be engaging and obviously we love our relationship with ESPN and we’ll see where that goes.”

“I think it's very important to our conference to play those Friday games. It’s really critical to the survival of our conference as a major TV entity. We have a great product on Saturdays, too. We have great Thursday games. Fridays are important and they're more valuable than Thursdays because you don’t have the NFL sitting there.”

 The important thing to know is that an exclusive negotiating window exists in the AAC's tv contract with ESPN that ends at the end of February.  The MW anticipates beginning it's media rights discussions in April after the AAC either renews its contract with ESPN or hits the open market where Fox, Comcast/NBC and AT&T can all make offers to the AAC.  Ideally, the AAC sets the floor of the market for the Mountain West's own rights while the Pac 12 contract is the ceiling.

Personally, I expect the AAC and the MW both to see an increase due to the escalating value of live sports media rights.  Exactly how much and who is paying the MW and AAC after 2020 are the  big deals.

I haven't seen much about this topic yet.  I presume this is a 'no news is good news' situation because both parties are talking to each other and very little is leaking.  Once leaks start happening, we'll know that one side isn't happy with the progress of negotiations and that is far more likely to be the AAC side than the ESPN side.

Also, the basis for the MW's TV value has a lot more to do with the value/quality of the Pac 12 than what the AAC is worth.  It is a major mistake to think that the AAC/MW are competing for TV dollars in the same way that the two leagues compete for a New Year's Six bowl spot because the AAC's value to ESPN has a lot more to do with comparing that league to the ACC and the SEC rather than to the MW.

Finally, I think ESPN has a particularly strong interest in obtaining the MW's exclusive rights because the Pac 12 Network is an competitor to ESPN and the MW is the only alternative with comparable inventory for Window 4 national broadcasts (east coast prime time) to the Pac 12, and because the MW hosts four bowl games at conference member stadiums (After 2020, Hawaii, San Diego, New Mexico and Boise are the likely sites to host bowl games along with games in Tempe and Tucson plus a Texas game - just a guess) .

 

ESPN has inventory in "window 4" already:

(1) PAC12 (PAC12 has a deal with Fox and ESPN)

(2) BYU (BYU is currently negotiating its next deal with ESPN, per Tom Holmoe last week)

(3) Boise State (Boise has a separate ESPN TV deal from the MWC)

 

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I'm just saying that public reports about actual negotiations are further along because it's relevant to determine how credible any reports about "a number" are.

The article I linked clearly shows that Aresco isn't throwing around any numbers before negotiations.  

No one but the people at the table know if the AAC is going to get $4 million per member per year or $10 Million.

EDIT - Boise State's rights are sold separately but they are part of the overall MW package.  Boise State isn't holding a separate negotiation.

How ARE BYU's negotiations going?  Those rights are up in 2020 as well- my best guess is Fox Sports takes them over because ESPN doesn't care that much about big ratings in Utah since they get all the Ute games they want.

What will BYU's bowl tie-in's be? A Four year rotation of the New Mexico, Hawaii and Potato with an east coast game against a Sun Belt or CUSA is probably the best case scenario 

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1 hour ago, Bruininthebay said:

Ideally, the AAC sets the floor of the market for the Mountain West's own rights while the Pac 12 contract is the ceiling.

That may be ideal, but it is hardly realistic. Assuming I am reading it correctly. 

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Currently the floor is the MW current deal and the ceiling is the Pac 12's deal.  If the AAC reaches a deal before the MW does, it is completely reasonable to expect the total value of the MW's deal to be comparable to that of the new AAC deal.  I would include the value of the new bowl game deals hosted by MW schools as well. 

Don't forget that the owner of the MW's tv rights will earn a significant additional revenue stream from sports bars in the east and central time zones of the US who must pay a lot more than the price of a home cable subscription to show Boise State games - when Aresco says that Friday night games are important, it's partially because of the value to sports bars who want to broadcast a football game on Friday night.  A 7 PM Pac kickoff usually means that a college football game will play until last call/2 AM throughout the eastern and central time zones.

This is a good time for the MW to compare itself to the Pac 12.  The Pac 12's men's basketball has better overall depth but the MW and the WCC have the teams with national rankings and prominence that aren't UCLA/Arizona (both schools are down due to coaching issues).  The most prominent and well paid Pac 12 football coach made his reputation at Boise State, - not his present job.  It's probably the case that Fresno State is the best football team in California because the Bulldogs are better than USC and Stanford right now.  My impression from Sports Media Watch is that when both teams aren't ranked the Pac 12 and the MW get comparable ratings in Window 4 on ESPN2 and ESPNU.  A MW game on ESPN beats a Pac 12 game on Fox Sports every single time.

If the price to put Pac 12 games on ESPN is $24 million per year, then the MW's close but not quite equal ratings for a lot of broadcasts is undervalued.  If you get ~80% of the ratings, it seems unfair to pay less than 10% of the price for an FBS football game.  A value of $8 million per school (~33% of the Pac 12 value) is not unreasonable if the AAC is able to get a deal that is ~ 25% of the SEC and ~33% of the ACC.

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30 minutes ago, Bruininthebay said:

I'm just saying that public reports about actual negotiations are further along because it's relevant to determine how credible any reports about "a number" are.

The article I linked clearly shows that Aresco isn't throwing around any numbers before negotiations.  

No one but the people at the table know if the AAC is going to get $4 million per member per year or $10 Million.

EDIT - Boise State's rights are sold separately but they are part of the overall MW package.  Boise State isn't holding a separate negotiation.

How ARE BYU's negotiations going?  Those rights are up in 2020 as well- my best guess is Fox Sports takes them over because ESPN doesn't care that much about big ratings in Utah since they get all the Ute games they want.

What will BYU's bowl tie-in's be? A Four year rotation of the New Mexico, Hawaii and Potato with an east coast game against a Sun Belt or CUSA is probably the best case scenario 

BYU's ESPN rights end in 2019 (this upcoming season)

https://byucougars.com/story/athletics/nid/espn-exercises-option-byu-football-contract/

 

Tom Holmoe has stated that BYU is going to renew with ESPN----no other network.

Make all the jokes you want about BYU, but BYU will get payed more than the MWC deal (maybe double), and will also get decent bowl ties from ESPN.

 

Your assumption that ESPN desperately needs to sign the MWC for MTN/ PACIFIC broadcasts is made on a bad assumption.   Like a said, ESPN has plenty of programming to fill that slot between BYU, Boise, and the PAC12.   I do expect ESPN to sign a limited deal with ESPN, though.

Hair Thompson has stated that he is pursuing a deal with Facebook.

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8 minutes ago, Bruininthebay said:

Currently the floor is the MW current deal and the ceiling is the Pac 12's deal.  If the AAC reaches a deal before the MW does, it is completely reasonable to expect the total value of the MW's deal to be comparable to that of the new AAC deal. 

"Comparable" is not the same as a "floor".

I do expect our TV deal to be comparable to the AAC, but would imagine that they will pull a bit more than us, just due to reality. I would be shocked if we ended up in the same ballpark as the PAC. That's just fantasy land. 

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If BYU gets ~ $6 million per year, I think that the average MW school plays $8 million football.

A third of the Pac 12's current per member distribution isn't fantasy land.

Did you see Chip Kelly's latest recruiting class?  :shrug:  Pac 12 football is a mess/Chris Peterson's playground for the foreseeable future.

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Just now, Bruininthebay said:

If BYU gets ~ $6 million per year, I think that the average MW school plays $8 million football.

A third of the Pac 12's current per member distribution isn't crazy.

Did you see Chip Kelly's latest recruiting class?  :shrug:  Pac 12 football is a mess/Chris Peterson's playground for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for the laugh.

I'm sure ESPN is dying to show SJSU vs Wyoming games, instead of BYU vs USC, or BYU vs Tennessee games.

Remember---it's not just about showing BYU games for ESPN.   It's about showing BYU vs the schools that ESPN has put on BYU's schedule.   BYU is loaded with a lot of P5 games in future seasons.

ESPN usually shows 5 (out of 6) BYU home games per season.

 

https://www.cougarboard.com/cougarsports/future_schedule.html

 

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The discrepancy between the on the field team that Fresno State has versus the four Pac 12 schools and the amount of media rights paid is obscene.  The Bulldogs are winning with a ~$2 million per year distribution from the media deal while Pac 12 schools happily overspend on coaches and administration with our $24 million per from ESPN/Fox while the quality of football declines.  But we get to own our own network to broadcast volleyball games!

@RogueStout I should have said that BYU's current deal is the floor.  I agree that the AAC will probably be a little bit better with respect to dollars distributed for conference rights but include the extra amount that the MW will earn from hosting bowl games which the AAC will not.

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Pea 6?

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1 hour ago, FresnoFacts said:

Interesting to see Aresco talk about Thurs and Friday night games. I noted back in November in the TV ratings thread that the AAC numbers showed value in its weeknight games. I made a joke about Weeknight AACtion games back then but apparently even Aresco admits that is one of the AAC value points. The question becomes how many weeknight vs weekend games will Aresco agree to.

I expect there will be Friday doubleheaders with either an ACC or Big 12 game followed by either a Mountain West game or a Pac 12 game.  Fox currently has rights for Big 12 and Pac 12 Friday night games.  Aresco is trying to get in on that but ESPN has options that don't include the SEC or Big Ten already.  I understand the Pac 12 to be deemphasizing Friday games due to fan and alumni wishes already, and expect that post 2024 we will have more games on Saturday along with either three or four separate rights holders, rather than just two.  The Mountain West could do one Friday game and two 7 Pm Staturday kickoffs and ESPN still is getting a lot of value due to having a broadcast that lasts until closing time on Friday and Saturday nights through out football season.

If the Pac 12 has games on CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC/Disney post 2025 (we probably will focus on Saturday national broadcasts not beginning after 7 PM pacific time), the value of exclusive rights to the Mountain West would be relatively greater to ESPN than they are now.  Either the new contract has to expire in 2025 (so long CSU!) or it has to include a reasonable estimate of the value of those rights post 2025 in a world where the Pac 12 is more expensive and provides less inventory to ESPN.

ESPN succeeded in getting a lot of FBS conferences to agree to 2035 rights, including the ACC and SEC.  The Big Ten did not and they are really benefiting from that decision.

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22 minutes ago, Bruininthebay said:

I expect there will be Friday doubleheaders with either an ACC or Big 12 game followed by either a Mountain West game or a Pac 12 game.  Fox currently has rights for Big 12 and Pac 12 Friday night games. 

Fox does not have rights for Big 12 Friday games.  The Big 12 TV deal with Fox and ESPN allows for a handful of non-Saturday games, but most are generally Thursday night games, with only Black Friday being the exception, and those games, like all Big 12 games, are split between Disney and Fox.  Friday night college games are frowned upon in this part of the world. 

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1 hour ago, #1Stunner said:

Thanks for the laugh.

I'm sure ESPN is dying to show SJSU vs Wyoming games, instead of BYU vs USC, or BYU vs Tennessee games.

Remember---it's not just about showing BYU games for ESPN.   It's about showing BYU vs the schools that ESPN has put on BYU's schedule.   BYU is loaded with a lot of P5 games in future seasons.

ESPN usually shows 5 (out of 6) BYU home games per season.

 

https://www.cougarboard.com/cougarsports/future_schedule.html

 

byu* is the fat chick who hangs out with the hot ones.

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1 hour ago, #1Stunner said:

Thanks for the laugh.

I'm sure ESPN is dying to show SJSU vs Wyoming games, instead of BYU vs USC, or BYU vs Tennessee games.

Remember---it's not just about showing BYU games for ESPN.   It's about showing BYU vs the schools that ESPN has put on BYU's schedule.   BYU is loaded with a lot of P5 games in future seasons.

ESPN usually shows 5 (out of 6) BYU home games per season.

 

https://www.cougarboard.com/cougarsports/future_schedule.html

 

If BYU continues on their lackluster performance path, ESPN will realize that they can insert any west-of-the-Mississippi U.S. D1 team against USC or Tennessee and not have to have a special contract.  At some point, ESPN will realize that the value to their network of a USC vs. BYU matchup = a USC vs. Will Work for Less University pairing.

JMHO, but I don't think BYU is in a strong negotiating position for 2019... 

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