If you thought the financial advantages of TCU's move to the Big East were limited the league's guaranteed BCS slot and the increase in ticket sales that will be a result of playing teams like Pitt and West Virginia instead of San Diego State and UNLV, you're wrong. It seems as if the Big East will be in a position to leverage the current media landscape when negotiating their next TV deal and get all flush with cash like Jean-Ralphio.
As it stands now, the Big East TV deal pays out about $5 million every year to it's members. That's already a healthy raise for TCU, up from the $1.1 million that MWC teams make annually. The Big East just turned down an offer from ESPN, the network that helped make it what it is now (and vice versa), that would've paid each team $11 million a year.
Why? Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News weighed in last week:
"The league is gambling that other TV networks are just as desperate for live sports programming, if not more. Representatives from CBS, Comcast (which wants a prime-time Saturday night game to compete with ABC), NBC Sports and Fox were all conspicuous by their presence at Big East football media day here Tuesday and sources indicate the bidding could escalate to between $15 million and $18 million for the rights, which would give Big East football more value than the ACC, whose teams make $13 million each in their deal."
Goo! Leaving an offer from ESPN can be risky, as we've obviously seen with the dismal Mountain West TV situation. But if it means more money and more games on at desirable times (i.e. not Wednesday or Friday nights), I think it's the way to go...provided you aren't creating a network that no one can watch like the MWC did. Keep an eye especially on NBC, which has just announced plans to re-brand and revamp Versus, which is already on in nearly as many households as ESPN.