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dxmnkd316
09-23-2010, 11:58 PM
Continue...

blockski
09-24-2010, 12:04 AM
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/14868365" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/14868365">Big Ten PSA - Impact the World</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/vanidavae">Vanida Vae</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>

blockski
09-24-2010, 12:38 AM
On a serious note, I don't want Frank the Tank's post late in the last thread to get lost:


I've been lurking here for a bit and wanted to provide some input from a Big Ten perspective. While I'm not a college hockey guy as an Illinois alum, I do have some insight on how the Big Ten thinks, the way the Big Ten Network works and how the conference approaches expansion decisions (as I'm the writer of Frank the Tank's Slant, which is a blog that has been focused on college realignment for the past year). A few things to think about regarding the prospect of a BTHC:

(1) The BTN does NOT have first dibs on hockey TV rights today - Contrary what appears to be a common belief on this board, the BTN isn't granted rights to any hockey games and has to buy telecasts from the CCHA and WCHA while working through the various schools. This has proven to be much more difficult than originally anticipated, which is why there are relatively few hockey games on the BTN right now. (It's NOT because the BTN supposedly doesn't care about hockey.) Mark Silverman, who is the president of the BTN, has been on the record as stating that getting more hockey games is the #1 priority for the network after football and basketball. The BTN really wants a BTHC to be a pillar for all Friday nights and most Saturday nights (as the games wouldn't have conflicts with football or basketball). Now, the CCHA and WCHA might be willing to grant the BTN more games now instead of losing the Big Ten teams entirely, but it's very likely too little too late. Being able to take all hockey games involving Big Ten teams in-house without having to go through a third party for TV rights is something that the conference would MUCH rather do.

(2) Remember about online streaming - Maybe even more important than the BTN on TV is leveraging hockey to build out the BTN's online streaming component via PPV and/or season passes. While people note that college hockey games aren't necessarily great general ratings draws, it's actually a perfect vehicle for online streaming - a sizable niche audience that's rabid enough to pay to watch games online. Since football and men's basketball games are all on TV and women's sports don't draw great online interest, it's hockey that provides the best opportunities to build up the BTN online and make that platform into a money-maker. Don't underestimate this as more and more viewers are watching games online - building out that online site is an extremely high priority for the BTN.

(3) Ohio State and Penn State have NO sympathy for Minnesota and the Gophers will fall into line - There are tons of comments in this thread refer to how Minnesota could lose out on local TV money and WCHA rivalries with the formation of the BTHC. While that might be true for the hockey program specifically, it's a "penny wise pound foolish" argument from the perspective of the entire athletic department and university. Note that before the BTN was formed, Michigan, OSU and PSU all looked into starting their own school networks with football and basketball, which would've been worth a gazillion times more to those schools than the Minnesota FSN hockey package. Jim Delany persuaded those schools to give up those plans for the greater good of the Big Ten conference and pool those TV rights together to form the BTN. As a result, the Minnesota athletic program featuring a football team that can't beat FCS teams from the Dakotas has literally made tens of millions of dollars per year off of the backs of Ohio State and Penn State. Minnesota makes more TV money than Notre Dame (even with its NBC contract), Florida, Texas and USC all because of the Big Ten's TV revenue that's equally distributed among members. This means that OSU and PSU will rightfully tell Minnesota to go ****** itself if it whines about any revenue it would supposedly lose with a BTHC - the Gophers are making a whole lot more money off of OSU and PSU than the other way around and the least it could do is provide something of value in the one sport that it's actually considered to be a power.

The overall point is that there WILL be a Big Ten Hockey Conference - there's no "if" here. It's wasted breath in lamenting its formation because it's a foregone conclusion from the conference's perspective. Note that the Big Ten was willing to throw schools like Iowa State (which is a neighborly public school with Big Ten member Iowa), Missouri and Kansas to non-BCS conferences like the Mountain West when it took Nebraska from the Big 12 (and almost triggered the dissolution of that conferences if Texas and its minions had moved to the Pac-10). The Big Ten also casts a Grim Reaper shadow over the Big East if the Big Ten ever decides to expand again. So, if you think it's going to care one bit about the smaller hockey schools, you're extremely naive. Therefore, the WCHA and CCHA schools really need to have a game plan to cope with the loss of the Big Ten schools (because it's going to happen whether the hardcore college fans like it or not).

My reply:

Frank - love your blog and all the commentary on Big Ten expansion over the past year. It's been great to read.

I think point #2 is spot on, but I'd also note 4four4's comment:


Live streaming in Minnesota will not go over very well especially since every Wild game is on television.

One key element of the original BTN sales pitch was that once the BTN had carriage agreements with all the local cable providers, every single school saw the number of games their team was on TV for football or basketball increase over the previous arrangement.

As point #3 notes, there's no sympathy for Minnesota's lost revenue from the other Big Ten hockey schools, all of whom carry more weight than Minnesota does when it comes to football and basketball. However, there will be a revolt if Big Ten hockey means fewer Minnesota Gopher hockey games are available on basic cable in the Twin Cities.

I love the idea of trying to bolster the streaming video market online, but asking Minnesota to go from having nearly 100% of their games, home and road, on expanded basic cable TV to some number less than 100% will be a very difficult lift. With the beginning of the BTN, all you had to do was wait for carriage agreements. If the BTN starts putting Gopher Hockey online, then that's a problem.

Not that it would be a great idea to do so anyway, the Gophers get good ratings in the Twin Cities. Maybe the solution is to somehow regionalize hockey broadcasts - the Twin Cities get the game that Minnesota is playing, Milwaukee gets the Badgers, etc. However, asking Minnesota to decrease the coverage their team receives will be a very difficult ask.

Yes, the WCHA and CCHA do need to plan for this proactively, rather than wishing that it won't happen.

That said, a scenario where a BTHC plays 20 conference games and 14-16 non-conference games gives those conferences a window of opportunity. Reducing the number of conference games for all teams in college hockey would be a welcome change, and might make this transition a little smoother.

dxmnkd316
09-24-2010, 12:50 AM
Also, I don't want it lost that he's completely wrong on his first point. BTN does get first dibs. He's self-admittedly not plugged into college hockey yet seems to be an expert on the big ten's intentions with hockey.

I'm no expert, about as far from it as you can get, but those in the know tell me the BTN gets those rights and FSN picks up the rest.

He also seems quite ignorant on exactly how ****ty the ratings are for college hockey outside of Minnesota and Michigan. WHo is it that has that in their signature? Priceless?

Also, his second point is completely ridiculous. People are not going to pay $3 a game for even a small chunk of the season just to watch it on a computer screen. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

On an unrelated note: One of the big money makers for the WCHA is the tournament. It's only successful because of the extremely high density of hockey schools in the region surrounding the X. Cut the teams by 40%, force air travel/hotels/vacation on the fans, and it's a recipe for a relatively empty arena for a conference tournament.

Edit: SOrry for the scattered points. It's late and I'm tired.

badger79
09-24-2010, 12:59 AM
From the last thread:


Your last paragraph is silly. Live sports programming is very expensive to produce, especially if you have to fly your on-air personalities around the country and put them up in hotels and pay for their per diems.

College hockey is tiny. TINY. Being passionate means zero to revenue. That's worth stating again, there is only ONE thing that means anything to revenue: Ratings. Period. College hockey doesn't have them.

Live sports programming is cheap if you don't have to license it. Which the Big Ten Network wouldn't under a BTHC. It's like reality TV; you don't have to pay actors or writers. There are no major development costs. No sets or makeup artists or hairdressers or costumes or anything like that. The costs for on-air personalities are relatively cheap compared to these things. In fact they could probably get away with using local talent.

The ratings are kind of not the biggest point, though. The point is to replace reruns with live sports. Nobody, least of all Silverman and Delany, thinks the BTN is going to get rich or strike ratings gold by televising college hockey.

dxmnkd316
09-24-2010, 01:09 AM
From the last thread:



Live sports programming is cheap if you don't have to license it. Which the Big Ten Network wouldn't under a BTHC. It's like reality TV; you don't have to pay actors or writers. There are no major development costs. No sets or makeup artists or hairdressers or costumes or anything like that. The costs for on-air personalities are relatively cheap compared to these things. In fact they could probably get away with using local talent.

The ratings are kind of not the biggest point, though. The point is to replace reruns with live sports. Nobody, least of all Silverman and Delany, thinks the BTN is going to get rich or strike ratings gold by televising college hockey.

JFC... THe BTN gets the right of first refusal.

It's not like reality TV at all. That's a terrible example. You have to pay play-by-play, color, camera operators, producers, etc. for a broadcast. Now, if you want your sport to grow, you have to add coverage before and after the games and add programming that analyzes it during your general sports programming. Not only that but you have to bring along the production truck for each location. This is all immensely expensive. Even Wisconsin doesn't do it and they're one of the better teams out there. Reruns will probably get the same ratings as college hockey so ad revenue doesn't increase but the essentially free reruns are replaced with an entire production spread across an entire region from Minnesota to Pennsylvania.

If they aren't going to get rich by putting the BTHC together then they aren't going to do it. Plain and simple. If it's a losing endeavor, they aren't going to do it. No intelligent company would just burn money. ANd that's what the BT is, a very large company.

darker98
09-24-2010, 01:14 AM
I thought it was about student athletes? Obviously for a few small programs "they're athletes are going pro in something other than sports." It's about Money so I think the Big Ten has their conference and leave the other 53 to play for an NC$$ championship. Just like football. The Big Ten can pit 5th and 6th place in the Totino's Frozen Pizza Bowl. 3rd and 4th in the welch's frozen concentrate bowl. 1st and second in the Klondike bar bowl. F@%k the Big Ten.:mad:

Priceless
09-24-2010, 01:55 AM
He also seems quite ignorant on exactly how ****ty the ratings are for college hockey outside of Minnesota and Michigan. WHo is it that has that in their signature? Priceless?


I used to have a sig with the # of viewers for the NCAA regionals on ESPN vs. the WSOP final table. Poker had 2.1 million viewers and college hockey averaged ~80,000. Sports Business Daily printed the top sports programs from FF weekend. The lowest rating on their list was a .3 rating for NBC's coverage of the Paralympics from Vancouver. That means that the championship game drew fewer than 300,000 viewers. Would anyone be surprised if it drew less than half that?

Ratings for hockey suck. Pro hockey ratings are pathetic and college hockey ratings are even worse.

badger79
09-24-2010, 02:14 AM
If they aren't going to get rich by putting the BTHC together then they aren't going to do it. Plain and simple. If it's a losing endeavor, they aren't going to do it. No intelligent company would just burn money. ANd that's what the BT is, a very large company.

The BTN currently televises live softball, soccer, volleyball and women's basketball among other sports that draw negligible ratings. They're burning money, but they're doing it for a reason.

LynahFan
09-24-2010, 03:52 AM
While we're quoting from the other thread...


Do you honestly think that we will expect 3-4 schools to get in EVERY season even with 16 spots available? That doesn't happen amongst those programs now.

It usually does, actually. The last 2 years there have been only 2 BT teams, but every other year of the 16 team tournament there have been at least 3, and all 5 made it in 2004. Minnesota has only missed 6 tourneys going back to 1980, so anyone who expects their 2-year trend to continue (BTHC or no BTHC) is nuts.

I would say that 3 BT teams in the tournament would be a virtual lock with the BTHC, and 4 would not surprise me at all IF they're really able to pack their NC schedules with weak teams at home. Also, PSU is likely to do quite badly within the conference at first, so it's entirely possible that 4 teams will have winning in-conference records. There are 60 wins to distribute (with a 20-game schedule), so if PSU only gets 5 of those, then the average record of the other 5 teams is 11-9. If 5th place only goes 7-13, then the "Big 4" would average 12-8. Throw in a bunch of NC wins, and those are definitely tournament-worthy numbers.

dxmnkd316
09-24-2010, 07:36 AM
The BTN currently televises live softball, soccer, volleyball and women's basketball among other sports that draw negligible ratings. They're burning money, but they're doing it for a reason.

That's a good point, one of the few I've heard in favor of the BTN maybe televising college hockey. Although, I'd bet women's basketball will still get better ratings than college hockey. Softball and soccer, probably about the same.

However, if they want to grow the sport of hockey and make the BTHC actually viable, they are going to need to show a hell of a lot more hours than they do for PSU volleyball and whomever is dominant in the other sports. Are they willing to make that investment of time and resources?

Gurtholfin
09-24-2010, 07:37 AM
While we're quoting from the other thread...



It usually does, actually. The last 2 years there have been only 2 BT teams, but every other year of the 16 team tournament there have been at least 3, and all 5 made it in 2004. Minnesota has only missed 6 tourneys going back to 1980, so anyone who expects their 2-year trend to continue (BTHC or no BTHC) is nuts.

I would say that 3 BT teams in the tournament would be a virtual lock with the BTHC, and 4 would not surprise me at all IF they're really able to pack their NC schedules with weak teams at home. Also, PSU is likely to do quite badly within the conference at first, so it's entirely possible that 4 teams will have winning in-conference records. There are 60 wins to distribute (with a 20-game schedule), so if PSU only gets 5 of those, then the average record of the other 5 teams is 11-9. If 5th place only goes 7-13, then the "Big 4" would average 12-8. Throw in a bunch of NC wins, and those are definitely tournament-worthy numbers.

My main point is whether or not we will feel entitled to having that number, especially in a 12 team tourney. My team currently resides in the greatest, most powerful conference in the world and yet I don't feel entitled to a certain number of teams in the tourney.

The pairwise is so black and white that it takes entitlement out of the argument. Simple math. You either make it or you don't.

I don't think that the BTHC will be more powerful than the current WCHA(top teams), so I don't see our fans clamoring for 4 teams to make it every year. Yeah sure, the Gopher fans are a bunch of whiners, but that extends to all issues, not just the tourney.

dxmnkd316
09-24-2010, 07:40 AM
My main point is whether or not we will feel entitled to having that number, especially in a 12 team tourney. My team currently resides in the greatest, most powerful conference in the world and yet I don't feel entitled to a certain number of teams in the tourney.

The pairwise is so black and white that it takes entitlement out of the argument. Simple math. You either make it or you don't.

I don't think that the BTHC will be more powerful than the current WCHA(top teams), so I don't see our fans clamoring for 4 teams to make it every year. Yeah sure, the Gopher fans are a bunch of whiners, but that extends to all issues, not just the tourney.

I agree with everything in this post. Ensuring (or even pushing for) the BTHC gets 3 or 4 bids is the best way to fast track the death of the smaller schools.

LynahFan
09-24-2010, 07:53 AM
My main point is whether or not we will feel entitled to having that number, especially in a 12 team tourney. My team currently resides in the greatest, most powerful conference in the world and yet I don't feel entitled to a certain number of teams in the tourney.
If fans of BT teams don't feel their conferences are entitled now, why would they then?

It's a moot point, anyway - as you say, selection is black-and-white, so who cares who feels entitled to anything. In fact, I might even hope that some fans of BTHC teams DO start to feel entitled, so I can enjoy some quality schadenfreude during those years that only 2 or 3 of them make it. It's always good fun to watch newbies' heads asplode. ;)

moose97
09-24-2010, 08:42 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/hockey/2010-09-23-penn-state-hockey-conference-landscape_N.htm?csp=34sports&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+UsatodaycomSports-TopStories+(Sports+-+Top+Stories)&utm_content=LocalHost

"I fully expect the Big Ten to initiate a hockey conference..." Bruce McLeod

ExileOnDaytonStreet
09-24-2010, 09:36 AM
That's a good point, one of the few I've heard in favor of the BTN maybe televising college hockey. Although, I'd bet women's basketball will still get better ratings than college hockey. Softball and soccer, probably about the same.True. But another thing to keep in mind is a point blockski made in the last thread: using the BTN cuts out the middle man. Because it is owned mostly by the schools themselves, they get to reduce (as much as possible) how many middle men there are taking cuts from the revenue produced by college hockey programming.


However, if they want to grow the sport of hockey and make the BTHC actually viable, they are going to need to show a hell of a lot more hours than they do for PSU volleyball and whomever is dominant in the other sports. Are they willing to make that investment of time and resources?Every time I make the "I'll believe it when I see it" comment with regard to more/better BTN hockey programming, this is what it all comes down to. This is a network that has been very iffy about covering hockey. They've flat out canceled coverage of games in the past, and even cut away from two periods of a UMn-UW game for an Indiana press conference.

They've shown increased coverage in recent years, but if you want to tell me that they'll suddenly start showing two games a weekend (which, by the way, still leaves a LOT of games that won't be covered at all), all I can do is :rolleyes:

scsutommyboy
09-24-2010, 09:54 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/hockey/2010-09-23-penn-state-hockey-conference-landscape_N.htm?csp=34sports&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+UsatodaycomSports-TopStories+(Sports+-+Top+Stories)&utm_content=LocalHost

"I fully expect the Big Ten to initiate a hockey conference..." Bruce McLeod

Boy what a surprise.:D you needed him to say that or you wouldn't believe it?;)

huskyfan
09-24-2010, 09:56 AM
the cliche stock market advice : buy low sell high

IMHO the Big Ten is buying low. as their coverage of hockey increases, so will the fans, so will the revenues.

ScottM
09-24-2010, 10:25 AM
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/hockey/2010-09-23-penn-state-hockey-conference-landscape_N.htm?csp=34sports&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+UsatodaycomSports-TopStories+(Sports+-+Top+Stories)&utm_content=LocalHost

"I fully expect the Big Ten to initiate a hockey conference..." Bruce McLeod

More evidence that Bruce reads USCHO posts. :D

CHFAN222
09-24-2010, 10:39 AM
So after the B10HC comes into existence is the next thing to fear coming into existence the Big East Hockey conference :rolleyes: