No matter where it is you call home, or what colors you wear on Saturdays in the fall – it’s universally understood that the SEC seems to have everything figured out. While diehards in the midwest or along the Atlantic Coast may not freely admit it, the Southeastern Conference has top to bottom the biggest fanfare, the most sellouts, and the highest television ratings by a considerable margin. While fans don’t shy away from citing statistics that help the case for their conference’s superiority, SEC administrators are left stewing in frustration because there’s one area in which they’re far from best; revenue.
Andy Staples of The Athletic released an article this week breaking down the economics and history behind the CBS-SEC deal. The current agreement has the network paying the conference $55 million annually for the league’s best games, week in and week out, totalling 15 broadcasts. That breaks down to $3.67 million a game. That figure might seem laughably low in 2019, and it is, but when the paperwork was signed things were much different.
With hindsight being what it is, we can now say the financial crisis of 2008 put the SEC in an uncomfortable negotiating position and CBS in the driver’s seat. It was that summer, when countless Americans were losing their homes and jobs, that the current deal was negotiated. On top of that, this was several years before conference networks were commonplace. The Big Ten Network had launched the season prior, but the data at the time did not indicate that was a model that would pay off as much as it has.
Finally, CBS and the SEC had history. As the conference was producing powerhouse programs the likes of Florida, LSU, Alabama and Auburn year in and year out fans across America were able to watch on CBS. Vern Lundquist’s voice became associated with the SEC, and several administrators felt they had built a brand worth continuing with their current network parter. All those factors led to the signing of a 15 year contract. In under 5 years, it was clear CBS walked away with one of the best deals in sports.
To put things in perspective, the SEC’s thrilling championship game in which Alabama came back to defeat Georgia 35-28 in Atlanta drew 17.5 million viewers. Several weeks later, Alabama took care of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, a CFP National Semifinal, by a count of 45-35. That game drew 16.8 million viewers. Some quick math would show Disney paid roughly $118 million for the broadcast rights for that one game – more than double the number CBS pays for it’s annual SEC rights.
Clearly, we’re headed for a biblical bidding war come 2023 when the current deal expires between FOX and ESPN. That is, of course, if CBS can’t reach an agreement with the SEC in the next few years. They’re in the driver’s seat and could appease their partners in the south by torching the current deal and paying market value for their product in the next few years. Until then, the SEC can claim their number one in ratings, number one in game attendance, and number two in television revenue.
Jack Ferris writes feature stories for BSM and serves as an update anchor for iHeart Radio in San Francisco and as a freelance contributor for the PAC-12 Network. Previously he has worked as a sports anchor for KXLY-TV in Spokane and as the co-host of the Don West Show on KPQ in Central Washington. You can find him on Twitter @JFerris714 or reach him by email at FerrisJack54@gmail.com.
FOX Sells Out Super Bowl Ad Time
Some advertisements were sold for more than $7 million, while the average price slotted between $6 and $7 million.
FOX Sports has reportedly sold out its allotment of Super Bowl ads, with some fetching $7 million for a 30-second spot.
According to a report from Deadline, the average price per ad was between $6 and $7 million, per FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Mark Evans.
Evans also told Deadline the ad slots for the event sold out two weeks ago. Volatility with some advertisers — like cryptocurrency brand FTX — and economic conditions were listed as reasons for why it took until three weeks before the event to sell out.
“As things have now settled down a bit and people feel better about the economic trajectory, a few of those units that were available picked up in earnest,” Evans said.
FOX claimed in September it had sold 95% of its available ad space for television’s largest event.
The $7 million price-tag for a 30-second commercial is in line with what first-time Super Bowl ad buyers paid for in 2022 when the event aired on NBC. That network’s reported asking price for commercials was between $5.8 and $6.2 million, with 40 advertisers joining the fray for Super Bowl LVI.
Kevin Harvick Joining NASCAR on FOX Booth in 2024
“Getting the chance to step into the booth with Mike and Clint in 2024 is an honor.”
NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick is retiring from the sport after the 2023 season, but he won’t be leaving completely. Sunday, Harvick announced he’ll join the NASCAR on FOX booth next season.
Harvick will join Mike Joy and former teammate Clint Bowyer for FOX’s portion of the NASCAR schedule.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the FOX NASCAR team full-time,” Harvick said. “I’ve enjoyed the experience in the booth the last several years because it has given me valuable insight into what being in the booth is all about. Getting the chance to step into the booth with Mike and Clint in 2024 is an honor and a great way to stay connected to the sport and NASCAR fans.”
Harvick has been a regular contributor to the network’s coverage of NASCAR’s lower series’ — the Craftsman Truck Series and the Xfinity Series — since 2015. He’ll make appearances in the FOX booth for select races in both of those series’ telecasts during the 2023 season in preparation for his full-time role in 2024.
“I can’t overstate how thrilled we are for Kevin to be an official member of the FOX Sports family,” FOX Sports President of Productions and Executive Producer Brad Zager said. “This is a marriage eight years in the making — since he first stepped into our NASCAR Xfinity Series booth with more presence and poise than most newcomers dream of. It has been fun to watch Kevin learn the TV ropes, and we cannot wait to hear him, Mike (Joy) and Clint (Bowyer) call their first race together.”
Harvick has raced in NASCAR’s top series since 2001, having the unenviable task of replacing legend Dale Earnhardt after his death during the 2001 Daytona 500.
The 47-year-old Harvick has won 60 races during his career. He won all four of what would be considered NASCAR’s “crown jewel events”, the Daytona 500 (once), the Coca-Cola 600 (twice), the Southern 500 (twice), and the Brickyard 400 (three times). He also took home the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series Championship, in addition to two Xfinity Series Championships.
Carlos Beltran Leaving YES Network For Mets Front Office
Beltran was preparing to shift from a game analyst to a studio analyst for the 2023 season at YES Network.
Carlos Beltran will leave his broadcasting position with YES Network to return to the New York Mets organization, a report from The New York Post reveals.
Beltran was preparing to shift from a game analyst to a studio analyst for the 2023 season at YES Network, but will instead be rejoining the Mets organization in a yet-to-be-announced front office position.
The Mets hired Beltran in 2019 to serve as the team’s manager, but fired him before the season after he was named as one of the leaders of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season. In the report from MLB, Beltran was the only Astros player implicated as a conspirator behind the plot to steal opposing teams’ signs and relay them to batters by banging on trash cans.
The 45-year-old played for the New York Mets for seven of his 20 Major League seasons.
YES Network has now experienced several changes to its Yankees coverage this offseason. Cameron Maybin was not retained for the 2023 season. He has subsequently joined the television booth of the Detroit Tigers, where he’ll announce select games. Meanwhile, YES Network strongly courted Don Mattingly this offseason before the Yankee legend ultimately decided to join the coaching staff of the Toronto Blue Jays. The network reportedly continues to chase after Yankee legend Derek Jeter for a broadcasting role, as well.