Now that the Big 12 has found comfort in its Media Rights Grants and the approximately $20 Million annual revenue per school it doesn’t seem like there are any changes on the foreseeable horizon.
The Atlantic Coast Conference recently followed the big 12’s lead and all member schools granted their Media/revenue rights to the ACC.
The Big East is now the AAC (American Athletic Conference) not be be confused with the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference)
The AAC does not have a grant of rights from its member schools but it has a hefty exit fee of somewhere north of $20 Million (I think, can’t find the exact amount) West Virgnia paid somewhere around $20 Million with some help fromthe Big 12, probably with exit fees from Colorado, Nebraska, TAM and Mizzou.
So the point of this exercise is coming up with a short list of expansion candidates that make sense to the Big 12, all things considered. BYU and Notre Dame will not ever join the Big 12, everyone knows that so they are not in the discussion as far as I am concerned.
So what would it take to add 2 or 4 or 6 teams to the Big 12 for 2014?
(1) Prospective members would have to generate approximately $20 Million annually each of added value to the conference.
(2) Prospective members would have to be free of substantial encumbrances (grants of rights, exit fee/penalties)
(3) Prospective members would have to be a match geographically for scheduling purposes. (likely excludes Boise State, San Diego State, Hawaii…
So here are my three scenario expansion candidates and my reasons for them. I obviously don’t have any data to support a justifiable valuation to meet criteria (1) above but here I go anyway…
A. Expansion to 12: (1) Cincinnati and (2) Connecticut
B. Expansion to 14: (1) Cincinnati, (2) Connecticut, (3) Colorado State and (4) New Mexico
C. Expansion to 16: (1) Cincinnati, (2) Connecticut, (3) Colorado State and (4) New Mexico, (5) USF and (6) UCF
Without getting into the nuts and bolts of added value.. I think if Cincinnati and Connecticut are available you have to add them to give West Virginia some Regional Rivals and lighten their travel load.
I think Colorado State could be a good market gain. Boulder (remember Boulder?) is 30 miles from Denver City Center, Fort Collins (Colorado State) is 65, close enough that there should be a pretty good demand for Big 12 Football. I think it would be fun for the Big 12 to make Colorado State a bigger powerhouse in football than Colorado. This would put the Big 12 and the PAC 12 in head to head competition in the Denver market.
New Mexico would bring Albuquerque into the Big 12, a good size market (with no other competitors for market share) and not too far off the beaten Big 12 path. (one state away from Love Field)
Central Florida and South Florida would give the Big 12 two schools in the sunshine state Orlando and Tampa and would put the Big 12 squarely in market competition against Florida (SEC) and Florida State (ACC)
As stated previously in the current Big 12 political environment any prospective new member(s) would need to bring approximately $20 million in added value to be invited/accepted into the conference.
So for the sake of this discussion lets say my six prospects are added, the next flight of fancy would be divisional splits.
Baylor, Colorado State, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, Texas
Cincinnati, Connecticut, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, UCF, USF, West Virginia (see how I have conveniently place K State in a Division with 2 Florida Schools, virtually guaranteeing at least 1 trip to Florida each November)
At 16 teams you have 7 divisional games and 2 inter-divisional games, (in this example) K State would only face Oklahoma and Texas once every 4 years (regular season), which in theory would give Texas 3 more wins in a 4 year period (not having to play K State every year). If we ever get to 16 teams in the conference, and K State is in separate divisions form OU and UT, it means Oklahoma and Texas would only set foot in Manhattan once every 8 years.
I’d be interested in hearing form anyone who might have a clue, (as I clearly do not) what market/media value these 6 schools might be expected to have.
Connecticut is in the #1 market - New York and #30 Hartford
USF is in the #14 Market - Tampa St Petersburg
Colorado State is in the #17 market - Denver
UCF is the #19 market - Orlando
Cincinatti is the #35 Market
New Mexico is in the #47 market - Albuquerque
Comparatively, Big 12’s existing Top 50 markets:
Dallas - Ft Worth is #5
Pittsburgh #23 (this is the West Virginia Market Area)
Kansas City is #31
San Antonio #36
Oklahoma City #41
and yes, I do have way too much time on my hands…