Wilner – Future Labor Day Weekends & Pac-12 Media Deals
Jon Wilner story
There were 55 college football games available on all broadcast, cable and digital platforms on Saturday, the first full day of the 2021 season.
On Sunday there is only one.
The Pac-12 wants to increase the media exposure of its main export.
He should own Labor Day weekend.
The Pac-12 must generate income through creative planning.
He should own on Labor Day weekend.
Why play nine games on the same Saturday as everyone else when you can spread the product over three days?
Starting next year – or as soon as contracts – the Pac-12 are expected to schedule two or three games on Labor Day Sunday and one or two more on vacation.
This 48-hour period is essentially a wasteland for desperate football fans: there is no NFL and never more than one college game a day.
The territory is there for the taking – for the only time of the year.
The Pac-12 has three options:
1. Non-branded matchups.
We couldn’t help but notice that the recently announced USC-LSU game, which will serve as the 2024 season opener for both teams, has no date.
It’s Labor Day weekend but there’s a kick-off day or time missing. Maybe he’ll land as the prime-time showdown on Sunday.
If so, it’s a good starting point for the Pac-12’s occupation of the holiday weekend wasteland.
2. Conference games.
Why not start the season with an intra-conference game? The Big Ten and the ACC do, but not on Sundays or Mondays.
It’s more fascinating than watching Arizona State play Southern Utah or Washington play Montana.
The Pac-12 should even consider the Sunday conference’s dual schedules.
The start of the game could pit North against South, giving the team on the road the chance to return to campus at a reasonable time.
Game two could be closer: UCLA v Arizona State or Oregon v Washington State.
3. Alliance games.
Convince the Big Ten and ACC to schedule high-level clashes on Sunday and possibly Monday.
After all, the goal of the three-league alliance is to create compelling intersectional games that will generate additional media revenue.
Plan a triple header at neutral locations that make geographic sense for the game:
1 p.m. (Eastern time): Pac-12 vs. ACC in Arlington
4.30 p.m .: ACC vs. Big Ten in Atlanta
7:30 p.m .: Big Ten against Pac-12 in Indianapolis.
Do you know what FOX is showing this afternoon? Zippo.
Now, there are two obstacles to the Pac-12’s takeover of Labor Day weekend, both significant but not insurmountable:
– Non-conference schedules are set for the coming years.
If there is no room for maneuver in existing contracts, the implementation of our plan could require a delay of several years.
– Disruption of preparations for the match of the second week.
This is where the coaches resist. They would be wary of starting the season with a tough mission that creates a competitive disadvantage in week two.
One way to relieve their anxiety would be to schedule an FCS creampuff for the second week.
Or they could suck it off and get busy.
The Pac-12 didn’t have any quality options for expansion, so it smartly spent adding members. But the central problem remains: The conference must find creative ways to increase the value of its football product to close the income gap with the Big Ten and the SEC – and potentially create an advantage over the ACC.
Providing large networks with a compelling offer on days of high demand, when there is little or no competition, appears to be a lucrative route to this end.
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