Archive for January, 2016

The NFL has spoken.  The St. Louis Rams win as they return to their Los Angeles roots.  Inglewood is a vision of joy via stadium construction and the rest of Stan Kroenke’s vision.

Which leads us to the Chargers.

Granted, the NFL offered Dean Spanos the opportunity to be Stan Kroenke’s junior (emphasis) partner.  File that offer under throw the dog a bone.  As Mr. Spanos considers the reality of junior partner coupled with the one year of advantage given the Rams, he would be foolish to head north.

All public and private praise regarding stadium development will land at the feet of Mr. Kroenke.  Inglewood denizens will pause in wonder at the transformation witnessed as the stadium rises into the sky accompanied by hotels, restaurants and general consumer friendly development.  Dean Spanos will have stand in jealous wonder.  Stan Kroenke becomes the older, popular, more successful brother.  Mr. Spanos will know the social sting of being “allowed” to play in Stan Kroenke’s sparkling new stadium adorned with all things Rams.  Mr. Spanos will truly know the feeling of rent.  Multi-millionaires do not rent.  Thank you very much.

Sadly, Mr. Spanos will continue to sneer at the most logical solution: the renovation of the Q along with all the impressive commercial development coupled with a ready and waiting November vote requiring a simple majority of city voters.

Yes, the NFL did toss another $100 million at Mr. Spanos for a breathtaking total of $300 million in NFL stadium subsidies.  Yet, is there such a thing as too much free money?  Why must the wealthy use their own cash?  What is next?  Driving their own cars?

In the NFL’s world, where the impossible does not exist, we are given the possibility of the Oakland Raiders moving south to San Diego.  Mark Davis finds the idea plausible.  Mr. Davis will not have the downtown obsession affliction of Mr. Spanos.  Mayor Kevin Faulconer has made the Raiders his Plan B.  Given history, this Plan B is as painful as the Yankees playing weekend games at Fenway.  However, the Chargers have not responded to any San Diego negotiation since June, 2015.  Is Mayor Faulconer to wait by the phone forever?  Perhaps Mr. Davis will call and send flowers long before Mr. Spanos returns his attention to the ignored Mayor Faulconer.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda.

Mr. Spanos has a long proven reluctance to remove his wallet to spend his own money (or endure the bothersome process of instructing his financial advisors to access lines of credit and loans as other business people do on a daily basis).  That reluctance negates any chance of his delivering the approximate $550 million in relocation fees to the NFL to play tenant in Los Angeles.  A bruising spring and summer of idiocy awaits as Mr. Spanos comes to the slow (painfully slow) realization that San Diego is a wonderful place to play football and make money.



The Probable Implosion of C-USA

Posted: January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized
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C-USA’s television contract expires at the end of the 2015/16 athletic season.  Change awaits.  Enough change that C-USA ceases to exist.

FOX currently holds the broadcast rights to C-USA football.  Given the small to medium media markets found in C-USA, I find unlikely that a bidding war breaks out between FOX, ESPN or even ROOT Sports to land the C-USA broadcasting rights.  Broadcast interest in C-USA football may be nonexistent.

The media markets of note are Rice, UTEP, UNC-Charlotte, UTSA, FIU and to a lesser extent UAB (returning for another try at establishing a football program) and FAU (Boca Raton is close enough to Miami to warrant consideration.  Sort of).  And, no, I’m not about to claim that Houston (Rice) or San Antonio (UTSA) is on par with L.A or NYC television/radio markets.  C-USA schools are strictly of local interest that results in not much national interest.

I will dare to use geography (having long ago left the realm of college football) to claim potential interest leading to invitation that may lie elsewhere.  But, geography may be the undoing of C-USA as much as an expiring television contract and general lack of interest.   UTEP to FIU or FAU is several thousand miles.  ODU to Rice is also a long flight.  Include the cost of travel with the cold fact of finding a mere 15,000 people in attendance at many a C-USA football game, and you will hear the unmistakeable painful moan of athletic departments struggling to finance football programs few seem interested in.  Or simply put, boarding a football team, coaching staff and all that gear on an airplane is expensive.

The MAC and Sun Belt are the two primary conferences finding value in C-USA football.  MTSU, WKU and Marshall would fit well within the confines of the MAC.  The MAC currently holds thirteen football schools.  Fourteen seems a nice round number.  I lean towards Marshall given football history, attendance and the fact that Huntington, West Virginia makes travel sense for MAC schools.

Eleven football schools make the Sun Belt.  I anticipate fourteen as the ultimate membership goal.  Rice and UTEP bring stadium capacity.  Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss bring the passion that is southern football.  But wait.  Coastal Carolina joins Sun Belt football in 2107.  At that time, the Sun Belt will stretch from Texas to South Carolina.  Ouch.  Why ouch?  The aforementioned small crowds coupled with expensive travel.  That ouch.  The Sun Belt must form along the Gulf.  Best choices come from the following group:  FAU, FIU, UAB, Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss.

Could the Mountain West take a school or two?  Yes.  The MW has discussed and shelved (momentarily) the inclusion of Rice and UTEP.  UTEP was once part of the long ago WAC as are most of the MW schools.  Rice offers the coupling of a travel school with UTEP.  The geography of the Mountain West makes the inclusion of Rice financially manageable.  Several of the Mountain division schools (Air Force, UNM, CSU, Wyoming) are within a reasonable distance of Houston.  Frankly, UTEP and Rice joining either the Sun Belt or MAC doesn’t hold much attraction for either school given the lack of similar football facilities found in those two conferences.

As college baseball and softball wind down, prepare for the tumult that will be the destruction of C-USA.