Not much bothers my wife more than the ACC tournament in Brooklyn.
In the space of just six months, the collective donor enterprise has easily become the biggest development – not just in name, image and likeness – but in the whole of the college athletics. What size? Up to half a billion to a billion dollars per year among the 130 FBS schools. This is the amount of money that will be given by the donor community to these collectives supporting college athletes in the very near future, possibly this year.
Opendorse CEO and Co-Founder Blake Lawrence and I made spit balls that considered $5 million per school would be donated to collectives each year. In some schools, this number will be much higher. The Clark Field Collective in Texas opened with $10 million in commitments.
The numbers will be much lower for schools outside of the Power 5. The 130 schools in the FBS, multiplied by $5 million, is $650 million, or more than half of $1 billion. This raises compelling questions. If this model flourishes, could the CEO of the collective, which is a third-party company, become as powerful as the AD?
It also says a lot about the fact that key development figures are now working in the collectives. Cavalier Futures launched this week in Virginia with Lo Davis serving as executive director. He had been part of the UVA foundation since 2010. The Classic City Collective of Georgia launched last week with Matt Hibbs, a 13-year veteran of college athletics at UGA, Tennessee and Ohio State, leading the business. This tells you how important these positions are.
I asked Lawrence if he thought the collective model was sustainable. “Yes, it’s here to stay,” he said. “Donors are going to continue to buy the best coaches, they’re going to support the facilities and they’re going to make sure the athletes get paid. It’s not this or that. It is this AND that.
Collective funds are like the salaries of athletes. And, best of all, none of these funds come from the athletic department budget.
Ad inventory for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has run out, Turner Sports and CBS Sports said, continuing a trend of robust ad sales for live sports and major events. While the tournament has sold out in the past, it has never sold out this far in advance, helping the two rights-sharing companies generate record revenues this year.
“We’ve had a hell of a sales season,” said John Bogusz, CBS Network’s executive vice president of sales. “Our teams are still working remotely to get these deals done, so let’s congratulate them.”
Turner Sports Exec VP and CRO Jon Diament added that the strength of the NCAA’s Champions and Corporate Partner Program, which includes 17 companies, has provided sales teams with a solid head start. Over 60% of inventory is purchased by these partners.
On the digital front, Diament said the March Madness Live ad was also sold out. Automotive, insurance and fast food are the three categories where sales were strongest.
The category that showed the biggest rebound was Hollywood studios, which fell significantly last year but came back “to a reasonable degree this year,” Bogusz said. Travel was up and technology, especially the mobile category, saw strong sales.
It was around this time last year that the Nebraska athletic department came before the school’s board of trustees and sold them the promise and potential to take its media rights in-house. Now the athletics are returning to the board, this time under freshman AD Trev Alberts, who is looking to return to an outsourcing model.
The school said it works exclusively with JMI Sports on a 12-year contract. SBJ reported in January that Alberts was meeting with all major media rights holders to outsource Cornhuskers’ rights again. JMI has established itself as the privileged partner.
The Huskers’ deal is worth a total of $215 million, or $18 million a year, but industry insiders don’t believe that whole number is guaranteed. Revenue values may be affected by items such as a third party purchase of a suite or tickets, as well as the achievement of certain sales goals.
Nebraska represents a huge win for JMI and a homecoming of sorts for agency president Tom Stultz, who brokered Nebraska’s first media rights deal when he was at IMG College in 2008. JMI CEO Erik Judson and Stultz worked on this latest deal, alongside Chief Commercial Officer Paul Archey and Senior Vice President/National Sales Nicole Metzger. It will go before the regents for approval next month.
JMI’s other school customers include Kentucky, Pitt, part Georgia (with Learfield) and part Notre Dame (with Legends).
ESPN averaged 3.98 million viewers for North Carolina’s 94-81 victory over Duke on Saturday night, which featured Mike Krzyzewski’s final practice at Cameron Indoor Stadium, my colleague Austin Karp reports. That number is the best for a regular-season game in the UNC-Duke rivalry since 2019, when the second game of the season averaged 4.16 million viewers (it was Zion Williamson’s year at Duke, although he was DNP in that second game).
|Trending Duke-North Carolina regular season hoops on ESPN|
|DATED||START (ET)||VIEWERS (000)|
|Saturday, March 5, 2022||6:36 p.m.||3,980|
|Saturday, February 5, 2022||6:06 p.m.||2,188|
|Saturday, March 6, 2021||6:07 p.m.||1,871|
|Saturday, February 6, 2021||6:06 p.m.||1,866|
|Saturday, March 7, 2020||6:02 p.m.||2,232|
|Saturday, February 8, 2020||6:04 p.m.||2,674|
|Saturday, March 9, 2019||6:06 p.m.||4,162|
|Wednesday, February 20, 2019||9:00 p.m.||4,343|
|Saturday, March 3, 2018||8:17 p.m.||3,369|
|Thursday, February 8, 2018||20:00||2,429|
Saturday’s ESPN issue did not take advantage of the pregame ceremony for Coach K, as the network stayed with Texas-Kansas in overtime, moving the pregame to ACC Network and the start of the game. real to ESPN2.
Saturday night’s game was by far the most-watched college game this season, beating Gonzaga-Duke’s Nov. 26 tally of 2.79 million viewers.
|Most-watched college basketball games for the 2021-22 regular season|
|State of Ohio-Purdue||1/30||SCS||2,277|
Average entry price per ticket for conference tournaments, according to data from Jonathan Marks, CEO, Dynamic Pricing Partners:
- Big East, session 4 (semi-finals): $185
- Pac-12, Session 5 (semi-finals): $117
- Big East, session 5 (semi-finals): $115
- Pac-12, Session 6 (championship): $105
- ACC, Session 6 and Big Ten, Session 6 (semi-finals): $90
- Signing the Pac-12 to a subscription deal gives Israeli tech company WSC Sports another big account in the US, where the cloud-based highlights streaming service hopes to grow significantly and has targeted the university space as a fertile opportunity.
- Opendorse today said it will produce more school-branded marketplaces like the one it launched last week in Oregon. The company does not name the next schools in the pipeline, but I was told there were schools from each of the Power 5 conferences and several schools from the Five Eyes.
- As Texas-Kansas headed into overtime on Saturday night, ESPN had decisions to make around pregame ceremonies for Coach K in his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. My colleague John Ourand spoke to Burke Magnus about how programming choices were made around UNC-Duke.
- ACC Network will rebroadcast a full recall presentation of the Duke-North Carolina game on Friday and Saturday, including all of the pregame and postgame ceremonies for Coach K’s retirement. And ESPN promises not to miss Coach K’s entry this time.
- The $84 million loan center opens today in Henderson, Nevada, as the Big West basketball championships begin just outside of Las Vegas, notes SBJ’s David Broughton. Hercules Tires is back as the event’s title sponsor, while the Hawaiian Islands will be the title sponsor.
- Reggie Miller is back to promote Wendy’s during March Madness, notes Ad Age. Data from iSpot.tv shows Wendy’s was the 15th biggest spender on TV ads in the men’s event on CBS, truTV, TBS and TNT ($18.7 million). The QSR ranked No. 11 in ad spend in the women’s tournament on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN ($145,179).