Morning Ed: Sports {2016.06.09.Th}

Sports:

A former Kansas State athletics director writes of K-State and the rise and fall of the Big 12.

Baylor may be fortunate that there aren’t a lot of replacement candidates for the Big 12, or it might be in trouble.

Conference USA’s TV deal has gone from surprisingly bad to alarmingly bad, putting them in Sun Belt Conference territory.

How did the world’s most international sport become the game of white suburbia in the United States?

Did any of y’all play this game for the Apple IIe? It was the best. The best two boxers on it were Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano.

The Olympic committee is allowing a team of refugees.

From Marchmaine: I fully expect Hillary’s crack team of political strategists to work up a campaign showing international threats to withhold the World Cup from the US as a(nother) reason not to support Trump.


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Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter. ...more →

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20 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Sports {2016.06.09.Th}

  1. The Conference USA story is consistent with my thesis about the baseball financial apocalypse. Money quote:

    C-USA, which had the misfortune of being the first league to renegotiate its TV contracts during the current decline in cable sports revenue.

    This is the collegiate version of the same thing as is going on in baseball. Indeed, I suspect that it will be even worse for college sports. Back when I still had cable, during the football season there were all weekend, spilling over into the week, numerous college games on, with schools I had never heard of. Heck, from states I had never heard of! It seemed pretty clear that for the innumerable sports networks, this was one step up from showing a test pattern. Come one, who cares about Eastern BF Nowhere State football? Your die hard football fan might have it on because watching football is what he does, but it is essentially random whether he has on the Eastern BF Nowhere State game or the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople game. Neither is going to make the big bucks for anyone.

    On a related note, we have in recent years seen schools willing to shuffle around between conferences. It seems to me that we have a de facto informal promotion/relegation system here. A school at the top of its conference will shop around for a conference with a better television contract, while the school at the bottom of that conference will be cut out.

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    • The Mid-American Conference has to be really, really glad they locked themselves into that 10-year deal last year. Though generally considered a lesser conference than Conference USA, their TV deal is now worth twice as much. Some reports have suggested that this was primarily due to a willingness on the part of MAC to play midweek, though.

      The MAC deal really threw me, because that was *after* cable started to crater, and they should have been the canary in the coal-mine. Instead, they almost doubled their contract. Did one year make all that much difference? Or are the networks just that disinterested in Conference USA’s new teams?

      Unfortunately, there are no other conferences with TV contracts coming up with which to gauge. The Sun Belt’s contract has always been worth very little, and has nowhere down to go. The interesting thing will be the Mountain West Conference (second tier western schools like Colorado State and Fresno State) and the American Athletic Conference (eastern urban schools like Cincinnati, Temple, and Central Florida). Both of those are in a better position than MAC/C*USA/SBC), but are nonetheless outside of the P5.

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      • My guess is that midweek games is why the MAC got the deal it did. If a game is on Wednesday evening, some people will watch it because it is football, and if it is the only one on, it won’t split the audience with anyone else.

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    • Come one, who cares about Eastern BF Nowhere State football?

      Speaking for several friends and acquaintances here in The Forgotten Time Zone, they are very happy to be able to see their alma mater play occasionally as filler on the regional sports network, since the alternative is to drive to the neighboring state to see the game — all 600 miles and crossing two mountain ranges worth of driving :^)

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        • Well, yeah, that’s why they’re filler in the regional sports network schedule. The other thing is that the national networks tend to shut down on football by 11:00 PM Eastern time or so, but that’s only 9:00 in The Forgotten Time Zone. Not all that late for a Friday or Saturday night game and a chance for regional TV exposure.

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          • I’m really surprised when I read that time zone works against the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conference. It seems to me that it allows them to play at times when no one else does. I know I’ve seen more than one Hawaii based solely on that… and I don’t care about Hawaii football. But I end up following them inadvertently. Like WGN and the Chicago Cubs back in the day. It was just… there.

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  2. Soccer, football, and race didn’t go back far enough in history to provide an accurate explanation. When kid soccer started to become a big thing in the United States, which seemed to have been around in the 1970s, it started with upper-middle class white parents who were attracted to soccer for their kids because it was international and seemed less violent or dangerous than other team sports. This created a trend in who is attracted to soccer in the United States that continues till the present.

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    • The Guardian article is very good. Something it doesn’t really address is that this is part of a broader trend in America away from kids playing informal, self-organized sports and moving to organized youth sports. This is a long-term trend, going back at least a half century. Organized youth sports require money, and therefore those with more money are at an advantage. This is somewhat less true for those sports with a strong traditional presence in the schools, such as American football. But only somewhat.

      What the article describes is a tradition within immigrant communities for informal, or only semi-formal, play. It will be interesting to see if this survives into later generations as they become ever more assimilated.

      The article also talks about these urban teams that dominate the white suburban kids. What is less clear is if this advantage continues. The suburban kids go on to play in college. Are there urban adult teams that could kid those collegiate butts? Or at least individual players who could? If so, the problem on the national team level is straightforward: they need to adjust their recruitment strategy. The talk about the expense required to set up academies to develop the players suggests that the college-trained players outstrip the urban talent. This is a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it, but face it: there isn’t all that much money floating around in American soccer.

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    • It’s an interesting question. Back in 2004 MLB experimented with putting promotions for Spiderman 2 on the bases. There was a lot of pushback and they didn’t try this again. A sense of tradition is a bigger part of MLB’s product than with other sports, and ads on the bases seemed just wrong to a lot of people. On the other hand, in the coming financial apocalypse they may well say to hell with tradition and take the PR hit.

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