John, does having the A&M/LSU game at 12 noon (EST) make any sense? On paper anyway, this is clearly going to be the second best SEC game of the day. I read an article on OKTC .... it attributes this to ESPN's protectionism of the University of Texas Longhorns because, as you know, ESPN and the University of Texas are in partnership together with the Longhorn Network. I would appreciate your views on this matter. If indeed ESPN is trying to enhance the Longhorn brand because they do not want the A&M/LSU game in the same time slot as the Texas/Baylor game later in the day, what can the SEC do to prevent this kind of maltreatment from happening in the future? Its not as if the SEC is anyone's doormat, so it just seems that Mr. Slive could do something more to protect our great conference's interests.
I don't like talking about other sites around here, but as someone who's worked in television for 20 years, I don't buy the theory you speak of. The majority of the population WILL because the majority of the population always believes in conspiracy theories.
First, ESPN/ABC are owned by the same company. They're one and the same. So they're looking at an overall slice of the pie in terms of ad revenues. You mean to tell me they won't to help their 7pm ratings/sales by hurting their ratings elsewhere? I told someone yesterday morning that I thought Alabama would likely land a 7pm start because they are the #1 team in the country, they have a massive following, and networks like to carry the #1 team that has a massive following. So while someone else thinks the fix is in, I thought this is what would happen.
Second, the game in question isn't on the Longhorn Network which might have given the theory more clout. So this isn't trying drive folks to Texas/ESPN's co-owned network.
Third, ESPN is also partners with the SEC and Texas A&M. Now, A&M fans -- like every fanbase I've ever talked to -- believes ESPN hates their school. But the reality is that ESPN has partnerships with darn near every league and team in the nation. That makes for a lot of conflicts and a lot of complaining when someone gets an early or late kickoff.
ABC/ESPN broadcast games to make money. Depending on how they package their ads -- game by game? network by network? overall sponsorships spread throughout? -- I really don't think they're moving games around to protect this school or that one. They're moving games around to make sure they've got one or two ratings-winners in every daypart.
Finally, the SEC now has 14 teams squeezed onto CBS and ESPN (plus an ESPN syndicated package). ESPN then sells off a few games per year to FSN and CSS. More teams means more games and that means more 11am CT and 9pm ET start times. It's the sad price of progress.
But I'll be in the minority as I think companies simply look to make the most money possible... not screw over Team X or Conference Y. And ABC/ESPN are one entity looking to make as many bucks across numerous channels from 11am through midnight. I don't think they're trying to build up Texas at the expense of the SEC, Texas A&M or LSU.
Just my take.
Thanks for reading the site,
@John at MrSEC Thanks for your insights. However, I jsut don't see the logic in putting the 'Bama/UT game in the prime time slot given the game that is between A&M and LSU. Sure, 'Bama is the best team in the nation by far. No doubt about it. But that is the point. Unfortunately, UT is having a down year so that game is likely going to be romp. A romp equals poor viewership unless people just want to see perfection in the way 'Bama runs over the Vols. Of course, anything can happen and I wish the Vols well. Heck, look at the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team! But odds are that one will be a romp and surely the network knows it. Conversely, the A&M/LSU game is between two ranked teams. Admittedly, A&M might get run over as well by LSU (especially given the poor defensive play I saw Saturday night), but the odds are clearly that the Aggie/Tiger game will be a far more competitive contest than 'Bama/UT. Just my take but obviously the network does not see it the same way.
Personally, I am looking forward to LSU/A&M more. It will be A&M's 2nd chance at an elite SEC team.... but there is something very interesting about watching the well oiled college football machine that is Bama.