Okay, so we established the fact that there are some shortcomings in the on-the-field results to this point in part one. Basically, the B1G is around 3rd place, and while many have pointed out the reality of competing up, there is still work to be done. Let's be honest, none of that is really news, and I think most of us are okay with not being the SEC so long as we have fans in the stand and do things the right way. That's really the foundation of this part of my look at the B1G's competitiveness right now.
One of the things we are proud of in the B1G are our stadiums and history. You have the Shoe, the Big House, White Outs at Beaver Stadium, Jump Around at Camp Randall, Card Tricks at Kinnick, the Sea of Red in Memorial, and many many more intense environments. The Conference seems to love that Nebraska was added because it put eyes on screens despite Nebraska itself being a tiny little state, and almost all of us love that the Big Ten Network is the envy of our peers. If you were to ask a Big Ten fan, and probably most everyone who reads OTE would agree, our conference is competitive not only because we put the right brand of football on the field, but we will follow it through thick and thin and cheer it on the way only B1G fans can. Of course, that's never the whole story.
What do the raw numbers say? After all, isn't that what this entire series is about? Where does the conference stand and what does it all mean? I look to answer these questions NEXT!
Attendance has always been a source of pride for the conference, but in what is becoming a little too predictable, we come in second in that category... In average attendance, the B1G had 70,491 fans come through the gates each game more than 5,000 less than the SEC. It is worth noting that The B1G has 3 schools that average over 100k fans, 7 over 70k, and the lowest attendance was Northwestern who still averaged more than Vanderbilt. Numbers were as follows:
(Note: Information via Sports Business Daily)
There is not a lot more to say about that except that we should all stop and take a moment of silence for our friend the Big East who is in the hospital with mortal wounds to their ego, pride, and all around ability to be a real conference. The brain damage has been so severe that they now believe Idaho to be in the 'East'... It's a sad situation. (But seriously, they really shouldn't be a major conference)
Look, let's just put our cards on the table. The Big Ten Network is the best TV situation across all of NCAA Div I-A football. As of right now, the revenue generated plus the amount of homes that can tune into any B1G game is the gold standard for all of the copycats. With that said, it's hard to quantify how much that really matters nationally outside of just talking it up and explaining that it's a wonderful little bargaining chip when making other TV deals. So let's take a moment to bask in our awesome network's brand appeal:There is not a lot more to say about that except that we should all stop and take a moment of silence for our friend the Big East who is in the hospital with mortal wounds to their ego, pride, and all around ability to be a real conference. The brain damage has been so severe that they now believe Idaho to be in the 'East'... It's a sad situation. (But seriously, they really shouldn't be a major conference)
...aaaaand we're back. Alright, glad we got that out of the way. Look, I'm with you all. I love the fact that I can watch Olympic sports, every conference football game, and pointed analysis. Still, that's to be expected from fans of the conference. But how else can we make better statistical assumptions? One of the best ways to really judge eyeballs is the CCG weekend and Bowl Season. Now, let me start by saying it was nearly impossible to find the ratings from CCG Weekend. Nielsen might have the worst site known to humanity, and no one really wants to report all the findings on the interwebz that I could find. Still, let's go with what I could figure out by googling stuff over and over and over. Here are the ratings (allegedly) from the Conference Championship games plus the de facto Big XII game between Oklahoma and Okie State.
SEC Championship Game: 7.4 (CBS)
Big Ten Championship Game: 4.3 (FOX)
Big XII de Facto Championship Game: OU vs OSU: 3.7 (ABC)
Pac 12 Championship Game: 3.2 (FOX)
Okay, so what jumps out at you? First off, I'm going to go ahead and tell you that FOX seems to be the crappy NCAA Football station. Of course, if I'm not mistaken, the Pac 12 Game was held on a Friday and the SEC Game had a prime spot on Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless, these figures will be brought up a lot during the next round of negotiations by the SEC folks and all of their good friends at CBS and the WWL. Still, for a game that many B1G fans were just trying to wrap their minds around, a 4.3 representing something like 7 million viewers is nothing to scoff at.
Moving over to the bowl games, HoyaGoon posted an excellent link in FanShots about the bowl ratings as Nielsen reported them. Anyhow, the information is hard to parse into really interesting facts. The reality is that the SEC, the Pac-12, and then the B1G had the most average viewers. While it's difficult to decide if that's an equal way to look at things considering the amount of bowls and the smaller viewerships for things like the Pizza Bowl and the TicketCity Bowl. Overall, I think something to take away from all of this is that as a whole almost every bowl was on a downward swing,especially up top. My question for the commenters is this: How should we interpret these numbers?
And now we talk $$$
Okay, so I'm just going to finish it out for the day here. The B1G is the second most profitable conference in football... to the SEC. On average, each B1G's school's net worth, according to the Wall Street Journal (and a shout out to MNWildcat's FanShot), is $289.55 Million to the SEC's $359.58 Million. There are not a lot of ways to parse this data out. Simply put, their net worth is higher than ours. Oh, and Texas makes more than everyone else combined. If you go to the FanShot, I actually commented on all of the ways Texas makes more than everyone (although somehow I thought 805.1>818.4... it's not). With that said, I wouldn't go around worrying about the viability of the conference. 7 schools are in the Top 25 highest net worths, and even Purdue is worth $111.2 Million.
What I want you all to take away from this is that there is no reason the B1G shouldn't be using that money to do more. I mean, I am not advocating for a system where we pay for Cam Newton to win us a championship or anything, but how about we start by paying assistants? Look, all of this is basically a quick snapshot of where the B1G stands against its competition. As a whole, there really aren't a lot of complaints. With smaller population bases, less resources or opportunities for year round training, and the obvious shift in people going to places where there's a beach, it's going to be tougher. That's all I got here. What more can we do? I guess that's the real question. In my final piece (coming soon), we'll look at our favorite part of the conversation - education. I'm excited.