While some seem to enjoy flights of fancy, I much prefer fact-based posts and analysis. Unfortunately, a recent entry here on the BCS system showed once again that there are alot of opinions floating around, but frightfully few facts. So I thought that this article was particularly interesting because we actually get a few facts:
In the debate over whether college football should switch to a playoff system, Goren speculates that such a change would temper the enthusiasm that bubbles from fans and players associated with BCS bowls…
Ratings for the championship and the other BCS games have varied depending on the matchup and the competitiveness of the contest. Last season’s Orange Bowl between Louisville and Wake Forest drew a 7.0; the Rose Bowl between Southern California and Michigan on ABC earned a 13.9. The title game between Ohio State and Florida received a 17.4.
“The reality is the BCS games are as well-received and as popular in viewership as anything out there,” Goren said.
This year’s college basketball championship game drew a 13.2. The World Series averaged a 10.6, and the NBA finals averaged a 6.2. The four NFL playoff games on Fox last season averaged a 19.9.
So what are some of the key positions in the BCS vs playoff debate?
We know that school presidents are against a play-off system in college football for reasons that don’t really stand up to logical analysis. (I’m sure that we’ll see these reasons expounded upon again between now and the championship game.)
I suspect that AD’s (and to some extent the school presidents) are against a play-off system because the BCS system has proven immensely profitable. Any change to a successful system might turn out to be an improvement and might not. But once you institute a play-off system, you can never go back. So I expect that there is a good deal of sentiment to not tinker with a system that is definitely not broken financially.
If the BCS bowls are popular, then you would be silly to think that a college football playoff would not be popular as well….probably even more popular. But now comes for the tough part…increased viewers are great, but will that automatically translate into more money for the schools?
Do the networks want a playoff system to replace the BCS? Maybe…..maybe not. The network that gets to broadcast the games would certainly have increased viewership. But how much would this network have to pay to secure the rights? Would they be able to charge enough for commercial time to recoup the initial purchase price? So once again, we find a scenario where a known financial situation is exchanged for one with alot of unknowns.
Lastly, I suspect that the BCS corporate sponsors pour serious money into the current system. This money goes in at least two different directions….directly to the bowl committees and to the TV stations in the form of commercial time. It would be really, really interesting to see if any of the articles from now through the championship game give any insight into exactly how much money the BCS corporate sponsors pour into the current system.
– My contention is that the money from the BCS corporate sponsors will be mostly (or entirely) lost if a playoff system is started. Getting a feel for exactly how much money we are talking about would give some indication of how easy (or difficult) it would be to improve on the current system from every aspect.
So what’s my purpose for rehashing all of this? I hope that our readers will use the comments to record the URLs for any articles that come up over the next six weeks with real facts concerning finances of the current system, any financial projections for a playoff system, comments from school presidents and/or athletic directors, and any comments from network executives about the BCS or a proposed play-off.
Also please add any points of view that I may have overlooked. As I said in the beginning, I’m much more interested in discussing facts and the conclusions that can be drawn from those facts. Arguing opinions, preferences, and speculation will never lead anywhere….but sometimes facts can lead somewhere useful.
We already have one entry that some have used to expound on flights of fancy. Please keep those types of comments on that entry. Also, please don’t repeat your comments from the original thread.