The Algorithm For Conference Realignment, Part 1


Hall of Famer
Dec 1, 2006
while to the fans, a "conference" is a group of schools that primarily play each other within the group, to the short term motivated M&A activist investor fund manager types now running the show, a "conference" is a "negotiating cartel", and how the schools schedule each other, if at all, is irrelevant to said activist investor .

the ultimate cartel would be one single entity negotiating for the whole group. (as was the NCAA at one time pre pay tv, and as the NFL now has).

the more the number of wannabe buyers outnumber the number of potential sellers, the much higher the price the sellers can command.

to fit the most lucrative definition of a "seller", a conference needs enough schools with national appeal to be able to market them to the whole country, and enough of said "national interest" schools to fill at least 2 or 3 time slots on saturday for every channel a buyer needs time slots filled.

or the seller could market a lessor number of national interest schools which go out nationally, and the other time slots are filled regionally with schools of interest in a said region.

regardless, the key for the sellers bringing the highest price for their rights, is to limit the number of cartels negotiating for "sellers" as much as possible, so as to minimize any having to compete on price for their telecast/streaming rights with other schools or cartels.

the optimal template for said conference/cartel consolidation, is to take as few schools from a targeted competing conference as necessary to eliminate said other conference as a competitor for telecast/streaming rights.

taking any more than the minimum number needed to kill off the other conference as a rights competitor is counter productive, as any subsequent acquisitions would want a piece of the pie themselves, while bringing nothing to the table themselves. (at least not enough to offset the extra divisions of the pie).

and just to clarify, being the raiding conference already has national distribution, including distribution rights/fees in the raided conference footprint, even the few schools taken to kill off the competing conference, wouldn't by themselves bring enough to the table to offset their getting a full cut of the already national rights pie of the raiding conference.

their value in the raid is in the killing off of the competing conference, not in any incremental "fans/viewers" they bring to the table. (as those incremental fans/viewers are already paying some rights to the raiding conference).

that said, those benefiting from said maximization of telecast/streaming rights is limited to a very very few select individuals at the schools and the negotiating cartels.

outside of those very select few dividing the added riches between themselves, who are also the only ones that have a say in the process, the thousands/millions of fans, school faculty, students, alumni, of said schools, not only don't get so much as a cent from the maximized rights, but are literally the ones actually funding 100% of the maximized rights through their cable/satellite/internet/streaming services bills.

so for every dollar a conference/cartel can increase rights fees through further consolidation of selling/negotiating cartels, is an extra dollar the viewer/fan pays to their cable/internet/satellite/streaming provider.

anyone cheering for their school to increase their tv rights, is literally cheering for their cable bill to go up.

and the more higher prices force fans to drop cable/satellite/streaming of their teams, the more the burden is carried by less and less viewers who's bill then goes up even more to offset the diminishing number of subscribers.

as for the schools themselves, and the very very limited few at those schools who are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of the higher rights fees, and are the very very few with input on this whole process, so much the better.

at least for those not cast aside in the realignment, of which there will be more than those taken in, and at least until we get to Part 2 of The Conference Realignment Algorithm.