Great read on TheAthletic about TV and the 4M club

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Posted by BJDevil on August 20, 21 at 11:05:07:

Over the years, we've had many discussions here about the business of college football. It's been intermixed (or polluted) with our own biases, etc., while many of us were unwilling to accept that it's the business of college football that really matters.

Per Andy Staples's article (which, IMO, should be required reading for any CFB fan before they enter any pissing matches online with other fans), TV execs like using the exclusive, "Four Million Club" benchmark.

It's as simple as it sounds - games with 4M+ sets of eyeballs are premium TV products.

From 2015-2019, there were:

## By conference affiliation:

* 58 games between either independents or interconference games (NOTE: ALL FIVE Army-Navy games made the cut. I had no idea it was still THAT big of a rivalry)
* 55 SEC-only games
* 49 Big Ten-only games

-- then a giant, cliff-like fall-off to...

* 13 ACC-only games
* 12 Big 12-only games (10 of which involved Texas or Oklahoma - or both in the Red River Shootout)

-- then another gentle drop to the third tier of, "Not even in the same league" of:

* 5 Pac-12-only games
* 1 AAC-only game (2017 USF at UCF)

## By individual teams, listing the top 13:

Tier 1
* Alabama
* Ohio State
* Michigan (this is, surprisingly, with or without their rivalry game stats. Go Blue still pulls in viewers. Even when they're mediocre, they are head and shoulders bigger than any team west of the Mississippi.)

-- then there's a significant drop off to "everyone else", starting with:

Tier 2
* Auburn
* Notre Dame (I thought it'd be in the top tier, but I guess like BYU really isn't "THE Mormon school" so much anymore, the Golden Dome isn't "THE Catholic school", either? And that national NBC deal hasn't really set it apart for a generation.)
* Florida
* Clemson
* Georgia
* Oklahoma
* Tennessee
* Penn State
* Michigan State
* Texas A&M

There are ZERO Pac-12 teams in that list. (So much for that "LA TV market" argument when the LA schools aren't nationally dominant). And there is only one ACC team (ND doesn't really count).

(You'd think a business/media savvy guy like Larry Scott would've understood these types of statistics when he was trying to strongarm DirecTV into B1G-like or higher fees. He might as well have been an eight year old trying to make his dad cry uncle with indian burns and such. What a one-trick pony that guy was.. But I digress...)

So, what does our conference do? We can't mint millions of new viewers unless we tap into those numbers above from back east. The SEC is out, but the B1G does need help to stay even with the SEC. And the Pac-12 (and likely the ACC) really need the B1G to need us - so let's hope some kind of confederacy happens.

IMO, the west coast embracing the ACC definitely sounds like a marriage of convenience doomed to fail. They will eventually give up fighting the geographic inertia and go with the SEC as a partner. But if that's what it takes for the time being to keep the Pac-12 relevant nationally (IF that's our goal?), then so be it. And hopefully this time around the Pac-12 leadership won't fail in making a B1G conference scheduling alliance due to conflicts/issues like they did a decade ago.

Side thought: While the Pac-12 is geographically isolated and is second fiddle to the East Coast because of it, it DOES dominate everything west of the Continental Divide. Unlike the Big-12 (which kinda like Poland, where Russia and Germany have taken turns stealing parts of it and giving them back for centuries), the Pac-X will never be completely irrelevant in national discussions as long as the top schools on the coast stay put. We (Arizona schools) are only along for the ride, and some would say, lucky to even be here.

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