Turn back the clock just about thirteen months ago and try and remember where this University and this football program was at. We were entering the month of June, what was supposed to be one of the two "dead months" for fans of college athletics. We were trying to be optimistic about the upcoming season while simultaneously being weighed down by the knowledge that Dan Hawkins was still our football coach. Then, out of nowhere, a bombshell was dropped:
Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, the Texas Longhorns Rivals site, is reporting that he has been told by numerous "sources" that the Pac-10 is preparing to offer 6 Big 12 schools the opportunity to join a new, 16 team conference. The 6 teams would be Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and Texas. The newly added Big 12 schools would combine with Arizona and Arizona State to form the eastern division and USC, UCLA, Stanford, California, Oregon, and Oregon State would make up the western division.
Thus began the great conference realignment race of 2010. Go ahead, take a look at the headlines of our stories for the next seven days.
Seems like a lifetime ago doesn't it? That's just the seven days of Colorado specific stories. That doesn't include Nebraska, Utah, etc. It's easy to forget now how stressful that week was. Were we going to get an invite? Would we be left out if the Big 12 disbanded? Would Mike Bohn & Co. be aggressive enough to lock up the deal? Was CU making the right decision? Would the Pac 10 really be forced into taking Baylor over Colorado? Last summer, this was a risky move, one that could crush the University of Colorado's athletic programs if not handled correctly. We'll never know how close we were to having a completely different looking college athletics landscape.
When a decision this large is made it can take many, many years before the parties involved are able to look back and assess the choices that were made. While that is still somewhat true for CU thirteen months later, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that it was the right decision. Today, on Colorado's first day as a member of the Pac-12, let's take a look at the wins that have already paid off.
- First, the big one:
The New York Times is now reporting that the Pac-12 television deal is worth an estimated $3 billion over 12 years or $250 million per year. Earlier reports believed the deal was worth $225 million per year. Confirming earlier reports, ESPN and Fox will share the television rights but an important note, the Pac-12 will own the network, unlike the Big 10 Network or Longhorn Network. The television deal starts in 2012, not this year.
According to the New York Times, "the Pac-10, is following the media model of the Big Ten Conference, which in 2007 created its own network and negotiated a 10-year, $1 billion deal with ESPN." The details of the deal are expected to be announced Wednesday.
- Second, our new commisioner, Larry Scott, continues to show his superiority over Big 12 commish Dan Bebee:
Model 3: The future is now.
The Pac-12 would opt against the traditional subscription-TV model and become the first conference to create an internet-based network. Instead of teaming up with Time Warner or Comcast, the league would align with Google or Apple. Instead of turning on your television to watch the Pac-12 Network, you'd turn on your computer (or tablet or mobile phone). The drawback to this approach would be the loss of short-term revenue -- potentially tens of millions of dollars per year -- that comes from subscription fees. But because of the 12-year, $250 million annual deal with Fox and ESPN, the conference has the financial flexibility to choose a network structure that best suit its long-term needs. Partnering with Google or Apple would be a gamble on the next generation of technology -- that in three or five years, the internet will be widely accessed through big screen, high-definition televisions.
Do you think the Big 12 would have ever reached out us and BlockU to write feature stories for Big12.com? Not in a million years.
- Third, today. Excitement. Hope. Momentum. Whatever word you want to use. There is a new, attitude amongst Buff fans the world over. Heard over to twitter and read through the timeline. The Ralphie Report has existed since April of 2008 and there certainly hasn't been a time since then that Buff Nation was this energized. I suspect it is much longer than that still.
While we may have to wait 5-10 years from now to see the true impact that the move west had on our university, there is no doubt that we can stand up and say today, that the decision was the correct and successful one.