JD over at Bruin Hoop Scoop is doing a great job taking apart Pac-10's renewing of its TV contract with lack luster FSN. Apparently Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen didn't even bother inquiring with ESPN re. whether there could be other interesting options for the broadcast of conference's basketball games:
Hansen also is resigned to the fact that FSN won't sell any of its games to ESPN (though games are sold to CBS and ESPN-affiliated ABC). Well if FSN was so eager to give us as much money as they did, they obviously believe we are of value, so why not put some pressure on them to sell a few games to ESPN? Sure we would have had to take less money now, but an occasional game on ESPN would lead to Pac-10 teams being featured in highlights and game previews (on TV, on the web, and elsewhere - more on this below), thereby increasing the Pac-10's presence throughout the network. This would aid our recruiting, leading to more success on the court, and resulting in increased cash flows in the long run. Personally, I know that there are more important things in life than attention from ESPN, but if you are a high school player with an ultimate goal of playing in the NBA, how much are you giving up to go to a school that you know will not be on ESPN in any given season after December? Yeah it might have been a risk to let our exclusive negotiation window with Fox close, but that is where leadership comes in. Show some craftiness, a little persuasiveness, perhaps some strategic vision. With UCLA's re-emergence, Washington becoming a national player, and Arizona's recent history, we could have had the leverage to get something worked out. Would having two (or more) bidders instead of only one resulted in a worse deal for the conference?
This is very disconcerting to say the least. I wonder whether DG and Howland are aware of the fact that Tom Hansen didn't even bother contacting the ESPN when renegotiating the conference's TV deal with FSN. I would think it is time for Howland, DG and co. to assert their POV on this issue. After all UCLA is the jewel of this conference's basketball league, we can't afford to have our program being sold out like this. We can't have our conference commissioner be so freaking sophomoric in his negotiations representing the whole league. There has to be more on this story. Glad JD is on top of it.