The BCS and ESPN will discuss in a noon conference call their new four-year deal for the Bristol Stompers to carry the BCS bowls from 2011 through 2014.
I could gather all the links to stuff written about this, but Fang's Bites did it for me.
This is a milestone in the relentless march of major sports events from broadcast to pay TV, not long after ESPN announced plans to take over the British Open in 2010.
Unlike broadcast networks, ESPN has a dual revenue stream - advertising and subscription fees charged to distributors.
Those fees only will continue to rise, which in turn will cause your cable bill to rise.
I was amused by ESPN's statement Monday, in which it called expanded basic "a product enjoyed by 98 million homes that offers the best entertainment buy in America, including many championship caliber sporting events."
That is true for avid sports fans. But what about the majority of Americans who don't care much about sports, and whose bills include what ESPN - the most expensive channel on expanded basic - charges as part of that "best entertainment buy?"
It's time for a la carte cable! But I digress. I won't be on the ESPN call. I'll be busy with a live Newsday.com chat. See you then.
(WatchDog kudos to first reader to ID the guy in the picture. He has nothing to do with anything, other than me displaying my college football chops even though I'm a New York-area native and thus don't care all that much about college football.)
Here is the ESPN news release. Note that the Rose Bowl is a separate deal from this one.
ESPN has reached an extensive agreement with the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), granting exclusive TV, radio, digital, international and marketing rights for 15 BCS games from January 2011 through January 2014. It includes the Fiesta, Orange and Sugar Bowls each season and the BCS National Championship Game in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
The announcement was made by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, and John Swofford, BCS Coordinator and ACC Commissioner.
“The BCS will thrive on ESPN,” Bodenheimer said. “Our slogan is ‘College Football Lives Here’ and the BCS will now top college football’s best regular-season and studio coverage, the sport’s top awards shows, Bowl Week and other national championships all carried on our family of networks. This is a proud day for ESPN and an exceptional day for this great sport and its passionate fans.”
Swofford added, “We are tremendously pleased to reach an agreement with ESPN and feel that the BCS games from 2011-14 will be in good hands. With the continued growth of technology and the depth of coverage that ESPN gives to the college football fan on all its platforms during the regular-season, this post-season partnership is a natural fit.”