Say no to the XFL and yes to College Football Spring Games

By:Terry Norvelle

First things first. Vince McMahon has more smarts in his pinky finger than I have inside my entire cranium. But McMahon, the Wrestling Mogel and Multi Millionaire, could use my advice before he basically burns the $500 million that he has pledged to devote to the relaunch of the XFL in 2020.

College Football spring games are a cash cow sitting out there begging to be a win,win,win,win, WIN for the: The Power 5 Conferences, The Universities, The Broadcast Networks, The Investor and...THE FANS!

Go buy the spring football game rights of the Power 5 Conferences. Promise all 5 conferences $30 million per year. They have to agree to play their spring games on a 2 year home and home basis against teams from other conferences. The Conferences can distribute as they see fit and considering that the largest conferences right now have 14 teams each athletic program will easily be handed a free $2 million plus dollars per year for basically doing something they are doing now anyway. At the negotiating table I would be sure to point out that to the conferences that an extra $ 2 million plus dollars would really help the budget of the women’s team and non-profit programs on campus.

For some perspective on the insane money being handed out by broadcast networks for tv rights let's look at a few examples. The Big 10 has a 6 year $2.6 BILLION dollar deal with ESPN/Fox. The SEC has a 15 year $2 BILLION dollar deal with ESPN. Of course for spring football the networks would not pay those kind of numbers but they will pay big money...oh yes, they will pay big money for quality programming especially during a football void time of year on the calendar.

It is worth pointing out that this is an additional “free cash” windfall that does not affect the mega-money deals already in place between the conferences and networks.

So without going all “math” on you lets run some numbers. $30 million per year to the 5 power conferences is $150 million per year total. . Remember the investor will have the rights to ALL 5 power conferences to negotiate with and will have the closest thing to “real” football during the football “offseason” to dangle to the networks who are starved for quality programming. If the per conference asking price per year is $100 million then you are covering your conference annual payout by selling 1.5 of your conferences with the remaining 3.5 conference network rights fees showing as profit.

The networks would salivate.

Some additional things to consider:

-The teams are already playing spring games so nothing new has to be created to bring in this extra revenue. -The home team would also reap a nice game day profit from ticket sales that could easily command $25 per ticket not to mention concessions from say a crowd of 50,000 at many venues. -The visiting team could have its expenses covered off the gate revenue generated as to not cost the travel team any money.

Imagine the matchups on a rotating 2 year interval. The SEC and Big 10 square off with Florida playing at Ohio St. the first year and the return game the following year in Gainesville. Or Michigan headed to Tuscaloosa then they switch it to Ann Arbor. Play that out between the SEC and the Big 10 for 2 years then The Big 12 hooks up with the SEC and the Big 10 get paired with the ACC for 2 years. The odd conference out can spend 2 years playing their games inside their conference. The possibilities are endless. Just imagine the 6-7 games generated per conference pairings from this formula played over say 3 weekends. Florida vs Ohio St. Michigan at Alabama, Penn St at Georgia, LSU at Wisconsin, Michigan St at Auburn, etc. The Networks would Army crawl over hot coals to get a seat at the negotiating table.

From the fans perspective these games would be a huge win. They would get to see their front line players at least in a few series against real competition. Even when the “starters” are pulled out the college fan will still be interested to see how the redshirt players from the previous year perform and have progressed or regressed against an opponent. And knowing college football fans as I do they may be more interested in the 2nd half of these games when the hot-shot 5* players take the field.

Let me throw this in because I know many of you are thinking this...the threat of injury is not increased just because players are being tackled by players with a different jersey on it.

So there you have it Mr. McMahon. A way for you to not only not burn $500 million but to actually scratch your football itch AND make money. Not to mention the legacy you would create for finally being the guy that figured out QUALITY spring football.



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