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Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott Says Predominance of Night Games in Pac-12 Play Here to Stay

October 7, 2017
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Grilled by the media during half time of the Cal-Washington football game, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott stated that with the network contracts running through 2024, there will be no revisiting of the terms of the contract and that night games are essentially here to stay.

With three straight weeks of Pac-12 games with just one game time kickoff before 5 pm, the preponderance of night games has only increased for most Pac-12 teams this season, with Washington set to play at least eight games at 7:30 pm or later.

Scott noted that the trend by networks like ESPN is to put the highest-rated teams in standalone time slots, where there are no other top national teams playing simultaneously to compete with.

"As part of our new tv agreements, that was one of the things we agreed to, to add more night games to add more flexibility for our broadcast partners," said Scott. "And that was an important part in getting the significantly increased -quadruple revenue increases- we got and the commitment to be on national platforms like ESPN, NBC and Fox."

To questions about late games and low East Coast versionship potentially impacting playoff selections and Heisman voting, Scott countered with Washington being a borderline playoff contender but still being chosen for the playoffs last season and Christian McCaffrey narrowly missing winning the Heisman Trophy as well as high national rankings for several Pac-12 teams.

To hear more from Scott from tonight's media session, use the embedded viewer below:

Discussion from...

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott Says Predominance of Night Games in Pac-12...

Bobodeluxe
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This guy is pretty groovy, too.
NVBear78
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Saw him with similar comments on the Broadcast. What a flaming A-hole. As Commissioner he doesn't show any concern about fans not showing up for night games, students not watching (the future), Alums being disgruntled and student athletes out until all hours every Saturday night. What a flaming A-hole.

p.s. nobody would be complaining if one teams played occasional 7 PM games. But a regular diet of 7:30 Pm games every week is killing the conference.
Chapman_is_Gone
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All the night games really make me sad. It's hurting my love of Cal. My days as a donor may end this year.
oursdor
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NVBear78 said:

...As Commissioner he doesn't show any concern about fans not showing up for night games, students not watching (the future), Alums being disgruntled and student athletes out until all hours every Saturday night...

IBGYBG, man. he's got incentive checks to cash.
LunchTime
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Wewanted him for money and exposure.

He is doing well.

I don't like the time though. 7:45 is absurd.
BlueGoldBear
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Nothing will change unless we all stop watching all the late games, which won't happen.
Golden One
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Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Sebastabear
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The question really is whether Scott is here to stay. There may be a revolt - hopefully soon. These things are brutal once you get into this time of the year.
BearSD
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Sebastabear said:

The question really is whether Scott is here to stay. There may be a revolt - hopefully soon. These things are brutal once you get into this time of the year.
Sadly, Tennis Larry just received a contract extension. The people who gave him that extension just want to cash the TV checks and are oblivious to (a) whether anyone outside the Pacific time zone is watching, and (b) the number of empty seats in the stadiums resulting from fans who don't enjoy finding out only 6 days in advance whether the game starts at 11 am or 7:50 pm or some random time in between.

Sebastabear
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BearSD said:

Sebastabear said:

The question really is whether Scott is here to stay. There may be a revolt - hopefully soon. These things are brutal once you get into this time of the year.
Sadly, Tennis Larry just received a contract extension. The people who gave him that extension just want to cash the TV checks and are oblivious to (a) whether anyone outside the Pacific time zone is watching, and (b) the number of empty seats in the stadiums resulting from fans who don't enjoy finding out only 6 days in advance whether the game starts at 11 am or 7:50 pm or some random time in between.


Didn't know about the contract extension. Yikes. But honestly he's not the one makimg this call.. It's the ADs. If they told him these night games must go, then they would. All of them are addicted to the cash and I'm sure some (cough: Cal) don't feel like they have any choice given the state of their internal finances.
Big C
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It ought to be limited to one home game per year, maybe two, absolute max. The member-schools need to set this straight. It's BS.
Yogi Bear
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I think we could have more 5:00 starts and only one 7:30 game per week. Who exactly are we competing with, other than ourselves at 5:00? What about a 3:30 start after the 12:30 game?
Cave Bear
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It is good that he was honest. We took their money and now we have to give them what they wanted.

The problem is he's not treating it like it's a problem. He needs to say they're exploring options for when the current contract ends and he needs to mean it. It may be years down the line, but that at least offers a solution. Right now he's essentially saying 'get used to it because this is the new normal', which is a big F U to the fans of the conference's teams.
Bear8
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"Flexibility!" BS. The networks need content and there is no way we are going to impact or alter the east coast schools with a three hour difference. 'The Virginia Techs of the world have a stranglehold on the early starting times and honestly we don't want to be playing at 10 in the morning. Historically, we usually started at 1:30 and the latest broadcasts from the west coast started at 4. Everyone enjoyed those start times. But the networks saw an opportunity to fill their time slots in an area that was generally ignored. It was a new honeypot and attendance be damned. They had Carl's Jr. and BurgerKing, Toyota/Kia/Honda, AT&T, Verizon and on and on sitting there with tons of money ready to throw at the networks. It's all about the greed at Fox, ESPN and CBS and the Pac12 s complicit and has no one to blame but themselves.
Wags
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Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Yup, the fans are an after-thought for Tennis Larry.
Follow the money.
ddc_Cal
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A quote from a different topic, but applicable here:


"And, really, that's fair: Let the people provide feedback, and then give them a little more of what they told you they don't want.

That way, you can not only avoid making your product more attractive to them, but you can insult them directly."
MinotStateBeav
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Life long lesson that rings true...vote with your wallet. When attendance gets at all time lows..it will make them look really bad and they will change.
Big C
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Bear8 said:

"Flexibility!" BS. The networks need content and there is no way we are going to impact or alter the east coast schools with a three hour difference. 'The Virginia Techs of the world have a stranglehold on the early starting times and honestly we don't want to be playing at 10 in the morning. Historically, we usually started at 1:30 and the latest broadcasts from the west coast started at 4. Everyone enjoyed those start times. But the networks saw an opportunity to fill their time slots in an area that was generally ignored. It was a new honeypot and attendance be damned. They had Carl's Jr. and BurgerKing, Toyota/Kia/Honda, AT&T, Verizon and on and on sitting there with tons of money ready to throw at the networks. It's all about the greed at Fox, ESPN and CBS and the Pac12 s complicit and has no one to blame but themselves.
Good post, filled with true stuff.

Now, the member schools need to sit down with everyone concerned and say there needs to be a limit on the late games. One game after 5 PM, per team, per season. Maybe two, absolute max.

Contracts can be renegotiated.
TomBear
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So this, from the article:"As part of our new tv agreements, that was one of the things we agreed to, to add more night games to add more flexibility for our broadcast partners," said Scott. "And that was an important part in getting the significantly increased -quadruple revenue increases- we got and the commitment to be on national platforms like ESPN, NBC and Fox."

So what we see from this, and other comments he has made, is that it's not about getting fans in the seats of the stadiums, it's about getting viewers in the seats of their couches. It isn't about the school's fans, it's about the advertisers desires. As we have seen, the game day experience is nothing more than what appears on the screen, and the priority isn't in the game, but in the TV show.

The sheep at the universities and athletic departments just lay down and ***** their fans and teams to the highest bidder. And, mixed in with the plasticized game day experience, the AD wants to know why ratings are down.........amazing.
59bear
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Wags said:

Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Yup, the fans are an after-thought for Tennis Larry.
Follow the money.

Look around the country. College football is becoming a studio sport as many stadium seats are bare, even in prime afternoon games. The schools have long since sold out to TV and it isn't likely to change. It's an addiction.
GBMARIN
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Easier to take TV money than attract fans to the venues?
Games can be staged with fewer stadium employees thus less overhead.
I'm sure not going to watch any more this year unless the Bears approach 6 wins, and that is going to be increasingly difficult.
Fyght4Cal
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I'm not sure how any of this changes. Scott is meeting his revenue and exposure mandates from the presidents and chancellors. All of us PAC-12 fans wanted every game on TV; and they are.

At Cal we made two deals with the devil. First, we wanted to play both the LA schools every year. Second, we wanted the TV money.

So, we're screwed six ways from Sunday. We are guaranteed to have a tough schedule every year. We end up playing the best in the North and the best in the South most years.

Then, we play the preponderance of games at night. Bad for our older fans, who are often our most generous and dependable donors. It's also bad for our student athletes.

Plus, we no longer reap the benefits of the LA home game. There are no more sellouts at Memorial for the UCLA & USC games. We're getting killed on the field without the attendance revenue to show for it.

And I didn't even mention the Friday night games. Similar to our schedule last year, Wazzu is playing us Friday night, after having played a Saturday night game in Oregon. Our boys have a short week to prepare after getting home this (Sunday) morning at 3 or 4. This is intolerable.

Like I said, I don't know how any of this gets solved. Further, I doubt it gets solved in favor of the student-athletes. Follow the money, though we might not like where it leads.
OdontoBear66
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All I can say is, I have watched and accepted pro sports being what it is. What Larry Scott is doing to college football on the West Coast is totally business oriented. I have always liked that college FB was somewhat above that, but now it is going down the drain. The only game on the West Coast I will ever watch that starts at 7:30 is Cal. The rest, the first half and gone. Sayonara.
OaktownBear
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NVBear78 said:

Saw him with similar comments on the Broadcast. What a flaming A-hole. As Commissioner he doesn't show any concern about fans not showing up for night games, students not watching (the future), Alums being disgruntled and student athletes out until all hours every Saturday night. What a flaming A-hole.

p.s. nobody would be complaining if one teams played occasional 7 PM games. But a regular diet of 7:30 Pm games every week is killing the conference.


Let's get a couple things straight. This does not give the west coast more exposure. It gives the east coast and Midwest more exposure by removing most of the west coast games from competition for their time slots. They force west coast fans to watch east coast games when they traditionally would be watching west coast games.

Also, this is not a Cal problem. UW is in the top 10 and has a traditionally passionate fan base and they aren't showing up. This is a problem for the conference.

It was about money. Frankly they might have done it anyway, but I don't think they had any idea the impact this would have on the fans. They have made the games a studio sport. Personally, I think long term you don't get fans who watch on tv without having fans who go to the games. TV money will drop next time around. We'll see if they can get the fans back to the stadium at that point. I doubt it
wifeisafurd
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Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Some of this is both schools provide a poor game experience, and charge high prices for everything. Cal at least has more alums local, but also a has a worse game day experience. We were at Utah this weekend, which once again sold out. They have great traffic control, an army of volunteer "alum ushers" who not only make sure you get to your seats, but talk to groups in the crowds about what to expect during the game, parking is easy, and there is public transportation (the train) that actually stops right next to the stadium. They shoot off canons in the stadium, and provide actual entertainment. They have loudspeakers that work (though the 30 second clock did not), a new, large scoreboard, and many other game features which Cal lacks. They are investing in their game experience and it is working. Also, despite the late starting time, there were a lot of kids. You can actually feed your kid for $10 ($5 hot dog, $2 drink, $2 pop corn and $1 ice cream). Try that at Cal or Furd. Far as I am concerned, Cal and Furd won't have a fan base in 20 years.
OaktownBear
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wifeisafurd said:

Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Some of this is both schools provide a poor game experience, and charge high prices for everything. Cal at least has more alums local, but also a has a worse game day experience. We were at Utah this weekend, which once again sold out. They have great traffic control, an army of volunteer "alum ushers" who not only make sure you get to your seats, but talk to groups in the crowds about what to expect during the game, parking is easy, and there is public transportation (the train) that actually stops right next to the stadium. They shoot off canons in the stadium, and provide actual entertainment. They have loudspeakers that work (though the 30 second clock did not), a new, large scoreboard, and many other game features which Cal lacks. They are investing in their game experience and it is working. Also, despite the late starting time, there were a lot of kids. You can actually feed your kid for $10 ($5 hot dog, $2 drink, $2 pop corn and $1 ice cream). Try that at Cal or Furd. Far as I am concerned, Cal and Furd won't have a fan base in 20 years.


Utah also has zero pro football teams and zero pro basketball teams and it is not an area where much of the fan base is looking at getting home at 1:00 or 2:00 am. Cal's game day experience does suck, and the more they try to do the worse they make it. But $1 ice cream is not getting people to bring their kids to an event where they get home after midnight. Few kids have fun at anything at that point.

I would expect places like Utah, and OSU, and WSU to have an easier time of it, but the urban schools with traffic and competition are going to have problems. I don't think Cal and Stanford can be blamed for Udubs attendance
TomBear
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I'll take Oaktown's comment one step further.....the game day experience at Cal has become plasticized and commercialized to the point where, if it weren't for the card stunts, Cal yells, and Cal Band, you could swear you're watching an nfl game (which fewer and fewer people are doing). The marketing dept. has made Cal Band an afterthought, and at times when the students are trying to create a yell, often times they are audibly and visually knocked out by the advertising or "promotions" such as Bart Trains racing, 3 year olds doing bear yells, kiss cams, karaoke and other b.s. ad nauseum.

What pisses me off is the marketing dept. seems to think this is going to make attendance better.

My trips with two other people from L.A. take planning. Can't do that these days with start times announced 30 seconds before game time. I will not be there this Friday night because my workload for the week doesn't allow me to fly at the last minute to be at CMS on time.

How is this P12N related? Since marketing has made the things I enjoy (besides the game itself) such as Cal Band a second thought, I have only the game itself left. So as I will do Friday night, I will watch the game, miss Cal Band, the card stunts, the Cal yells, and the fun of being there. I'll get the same number of commercials and promos as if I was in Berkeley, see the same game, save the money, and Roger's enterprise will make it's money off of my doing so. That's what P12N cares about.....the Pac 12 Network enterprise.

Let me repeat that......it's about the enterprise. That's what the school's accepted, that's what we're force fed. And, sadly, it's the team (along with the fans who loved going to "Cal games") that will be the loser because of it.
wifeisafurd
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OaktownBear said:

wifeisafurd said:

Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Some of this is both schools provide a poor game experience, and charge high prices for everything. Cal at least has more alums local, but also a has a worse game day experience. We were at Utah this weekend, which once again sold out. They have great traffic control, an army of volunteer "alum ushers" who not only make sure you get to your seats, but talk to groups in the crowds about what to expect during the game, parking is easy, and there is public transportation (the train) that actually stops right next to the stadium. They shoot off canons in the stadium, and provide actual entertainment. They have loudspeakers that work (though the 30 second clock did not), a new, large scoreboard, and many other game features which Cal lacks. They are investing in their game experience and it is working. Also, despite the late starting time, there were a lot of kids. You can actually feed your kid for $10 ($5 hot dog, $2 drink, $2 pop corn and $1 ice cream). Try that at Cal or Furd. Far as I am concerned, Cal and Furd won't have a fan base in 20 years.


Utah also has zero pro football teams and zero pro basketball teams and it is not an area where much of the fan base is looking at getting home at 1:00 or 2:00 am. Cal's game day experience does suck, and the more they try to do the worse they make it. But $1 ice cream is not getting people to bring their kids to an event where they get home after midnight. Few kids have fun at anything at that point.

I would expect places like Utah, and OSU, and WSU to have an easier time of it, but the urban schools with traffic and competition are going to have problems. I don't think Cal and Stanford can be blamed for Udubs attendance
wifeisafurd
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wifeisafurd said:

OaktownBear said:

wifeisafurd said:

Golden One said:

Maybe consistent attendance of less than 20,000 per night game will send him a message. Stanfurd is already there, and we're getting close.
Some of this is both schools provide a poor game experience, and charge high prices for everything. Cal at least has more alums local, but also a has a worse game day experience. We were at Utah this weekend, which once again sold out. They have great traffic control, an army of volunteer "alum ushers" who not only make sure you get to your seats, but talk to groups in the crowds about what to expect during the game, parking is easy, and there is public transportation (the train) that actually stops right next to the stadium. They shoot off canons in the stadium, and provide actual entertainment. They have loudspeakers that work (though the 30 second clock did not), a new, large scoreboard, and many other game features which Cal lacks. They are investing in their game experience and it is working. Also, despite the late starting time, there were a lot of kids. You can actually feed your kid for $10 ($5 hot dog, $2 drink, $2 pop corn and $1 ice cream). Try that at Cal or Furd. Far as I am concerned, Cal and Furd won't have a fan base in 20 years.


Utah also has zero pro football teams and zero pro basketball teams and it is not an area where much of the fan base is looking at getting home at 1:00 or 2:00 am. Cal's game day experience does suck, and the more they try to do the worse they make it. But $1 ice cream is not getting people to bring their kids to an event where they get home after midnight. Few kids have fun at anything at that point.

I would expect places like Utah, and OSU, and WSU to have an easier time of it, but the urban schools with traffic and competition are going to have problems. I don't think Cal and Stanford can be blamed for Udubs attendance
Have to disagree on several points. The Jazz is a decent NBA franchise. Some portion of the fan base got home around 1:00, but if there were at Cal you could add an hour, and it didn't take that extra hour to get there and parked either. SC and ASU, out in urban areas, seem to be quite good at traffic control and they certainly have bigger crowds. The urban thing really is a BS response. Cal just sucks at traffic control. Onone side of campus you have untrained students controlling traffic by stating in intersections, and allowing people to be dropped off. On the other side the Berkeley police sit around in force on just two intersections, not really doing anything. Essentially every other stadium, they get you form the nearest freeway or major intersections to the stadium lots with professional traffic control that waves you through lights and stop signs. That two extra hours means a lot with kids involved. I guess Utah kids must be tougher than Bay Area kids because they all seemed to be active and with it after the game, despite the hour and not whiny. Maybe they just get more sugar than kale. And your missing the entire point on pricing. Its not the $1 ice cream, it is the totality of cost that makes it so freaking expensive to bring kids to Cal and Furd games, regardless of the time of the game.

Just example to me why I can put my kid on a train and get directly to the stadium in so many other venues, and if you have a night game at Cal, you have to walk all the way to the bottom of campus for a BART system that stops at mid-night.

Bottom line is you just don't see many kids at either teams' games. At least Furd students show, even before the game starts. And yet you say Cal is losing its future fan base because its in an urban environment or has a professional football team (one which is leaving and the other one which sucks big time, and both which play on different days and potentially different weeks)? That is the best you got?

I simply don't understand the comment about Udub.
wifeisafurd
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TomBear said:

I'll take Oaktown's comment one step further.....the game day experience at Cal has become plasticized and commercialized to the point where, if it weren't for the card stunts, Cal yells, and Cal Band, you could swear you're watching an nfl game (which fewer and fewer people are doing). The marketing dept. has made Cal Band an afterthought, and at times when the students are trying to create a yell, often times they are audibly and visually knocked out by the advertising or "promotions" such as Bart Trains racing, 3 year olds doing bear yells, kiss cams, karaoke and other b.s. ad nauseum.

What pisses me off is the marketing dept. seems to think this is going to make attendance better.

My trips with two other people from L.A. take planning. Can't do that these days with start times announced 30 seconds before game time. I will not be there this Friday night because my workload for the week doesn't allow me to fly at the last minute to be at CMS on time.

How is this P12N related? Since marketing has made the things I enjoy (besides the game itself) such as Cal Band a second thought, I have only the game itself left. So as I will do Friday night, I will watch the game, miss Cal Band, the card stunts, the Cal yells, and the fun of being there. I'll get the same number of commercials and promos as if I was in Berkeley, see the same game, save the money, and Roger's enterprise will make it's money off of my doing so. That's what P12N cares about.....the Pac 12 Network enterprise.

Let me repeat that......it's about the enterprise. That's what the school's accepted, that's what we're force fed. And, sadly, it's the team (along with the fans who loved going to "Cal games") that will be the loser because of it.
This is not a step further, but IMO is quite accurate. The stuff you describe as marketing entertainment is essentially the same as the "entertainment" at a Furd game. You can also add dumb Q&A's of the head coach which you can't hear on the crappy loudspeaker at Cal and don't want to hear on the good loudspeaker at Furd. And it is the same every game. Only material difference is Furd puts more teams out during time outs. To bad Furd is such an urban environment it can't think of anything more creative than Cal.

The late announce of game times do hurt fans that travel. I certainly not going to attend w/o the ability to plan early if I have kids.
sycasey
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OaktownBear said:

Let's get a couple things straight. This does not give the west coast more exposure. It gives the east coast and Midwest more exposure by removing most of the west coast games from competition for their time slots. They force west coast fans to watch east coast games when they traditionally would be watching west coast games.

Also, this is not a Cal problem. UW is in the top 10 and has a traditionally passionate fan base and they aren't showing up. This is a problem for the conference.

It was about money. Frankly they might have done it anyway, but I don't think they had any idea the impact this would have on the fans. They have made the games a studio sport. Personally, I think long term you don't get fans who watch on tv without having fans who go to the games. TV money will drop next time around. We'll see if they can get the fans back to the stadium at that point. I doubt it

I agree with a lot of this, but I'd also say it's not just a Pac-12 conference problem. The P12 has its own unique challenges given our time zone, but all of college football has sold out to TV revenue and you can see it in attendance issues all over the country.

The TV money will probably dry up next time the contracts are negotiated, and then we'll see what happens.
HighlandDutch
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I really wanted to throw something at the TV when Scott said during the interview that the conference seeks to "strike a balance" when it comes to scheduling games. He then went on to describe how the conference basically gives the networks everything they want. Yeah, that's a balance.
OdontoBear66
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During the day on Saturday, there were 4 out of 5 night games, admittedly two were at five o'clock. The only day game was U$C v. OSU, and that was a blowout.

So, at nighttime you had your choice of Utah/furd, Cal/UDub and that started in the 7-8 time frame. At 5 o'clock it was WSU v. Oregon, and Colorado v. Arizona.

Let the East Coast and Midwest predominate at 9AM on the west, but give us noon on.
blungld
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Spoken like a real suit: ratings, dollars, competition, eyeballs....isn't this a collegiate sport? Isn't this supposed to be an activity by students for students? The distance we are removed from that sentiment, and the way that such an observation would be scoffed at, mocked, or seen as unrealistic is a sad commentary on the current landscape. I feel bad for current students who don't get to experience the week in week out reliable tradition of the 12:30 or 3:30 kick off, the tailgate before, and the family and alumni streaming in to create a real collegiate experience...now we have bowl committee, TV revenue models, naming rights, sponsorship...and oh yeah, hope some students show up for the broadcast cutaways and B-Roll. It's actually pretty gross.

I went to a Wesleyan University football game this weekend (D3). Reminded me of all I loved about going to a college event. The fact that there's weren't corporate niceties or BCS Championship mattered not one iota. Was just nice to see a bunch of athletes playing a sport in front of family, friends, and fellow students on a beautiful afternoon with sportsmanship and high character on display. What we see now parading as college football is a minor league farm system, ruined by money, and followed by people who must "crown champions" and whose ego is on a vicarious ride--not lovers of a college, tradition, or the actual student-athlete.
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