Blog Entry

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:10 pm
 

Presidents from the Mountain West and Conference USA will meet Sunday in Dallas to discuss forming a new league, CBSSports.com has learned.

The move was not described as a full-on merger and talks are still in the early stages. According to a source, the new league could be football only, all sports or some other consolidation. Two sources said not all of the two conferences’ presidents will attend the meeting.

But there is urgency on both sides.  Raiding by the Big East has caused each conference to reconsider its future.  Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told CBSSports.com last week that he is concerned about membership issues in light of recent defections. The NCAA requires a league to have at least six members that sponsor, at a minimum, eight men’s sports and six women’s sports.

The leagues announced in October that they were forming a football “association” for scheduling purposes. Back then, the idea was for the champions of the two leagues to play with the winner getting an automatic BCS berth. That was before the Big East moved aggressively to invite a combined five schools from both conferences.

A 90-day memorandum of understanding that came out of the October announcement expires on Sunday, the same day as the meeting.

Also in October, the Mountain West and Conference USA proposed a consortium with the Big East that would include more than a quarter of the 120 FBS schools.

CBSSports.com’s Brett McMurphy reported in December that the two leagues were looking at an all-sports merger. Boise State and San Diego State from the Mountain West as well as SMU, Houston and Central Florida from Conference USA were formally invited to the Big East in early December.

Crippling the leagues further: According to an industry source, Boise, SMU and Houston comprise three of the four most TV-attractive schools from the current Mountain West and Conference USA. Air Force is the other.

The earliest the new league being reported today could begin play is 2013, but that start date may have to be pushed back.

With the apparent end of automatic qualifying conferences (beginning in 2014), the two leagues would be fortifying themselves are strongly as possible. One Conference USA school source speculated how different a new league would be from the new Big East in terms of football strength and television viability. The answer as of now: Not much.  

Comments

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:42 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

 And the "market" argument is crap. 
It ain't crap, it's the sad truth.  Every conference (except maybe the Big East) is moving towards making thier own cable network, just like the Big-10.  It doesn't matter who is or isn't watching a team in that particular media market, it only matters if you have a team in that media market.  Why did the SEC want Missouri?  The Kansas City Market.  It was explained to be this way...  For every BTN subscriber in the eight-state footprint of the Big Ten, the league gets 70 to 80 cents a month. For every subscriber outside the footprint it gets about 10 cents.  When the SEC makes it cable network it stands to make something on the order of $3.6 to $4 million more per month, from the KC market thanks to the additon of Missouri.  This doesn't include deals with CBS, ESPN, and the likes to broadcast football games, that's just for the rights to carry the SEC network in the KC market.  The SEC would also make money from advertising.  The Big Ten received a $60 million rights fee up front in 2009 for the BTN from Fox Sports. Then the BTN made an additional $66 million in profit from advertising alone, and advertising revenue was up 30 percent last year in a down economy.  When the economy turns around the SEC and Big-10 stand to make a killing.  Advertising rates are directly tied to how many eye balls are in your media footprint, and how many subscribers your network has.  They wanted Texas A&M for exactly the same reason.  The Big-12 is already working on it's own network too.  It's the wave of the future.  Sadly, some will be left out in the cold becasue their market is already claimed or becasue they are from a state with a small population.  ECU is left out in the cold becasue the closest big media market in NC is already claimed by Duke, UNC, and NC State. If ECU was closer to Charlotte they'd be sitting pretty right now, with lots of conferences showing interest. 



Since: Jan 1, 2010
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:05 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Big East will never be ahead of the MWC not even a chance.



Since: Jan 1, 2010
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:04 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Big East is a garbage conference even with Boise they are nothing.



Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:37 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

The Big East's automatic BCS bid is on life support. Yes, West Virginia crushed Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but they are headed to the Big 12. The rest of the conference is a joke in football for the most part (so much that TCU left before they started). And the "market" argument is crap. Most of those schools barely fill their stadiums. Yet, a school like East Carolina has a passionate fanbase and fills their 50,000 seat stadium regularly. 



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:18 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

This was written as sarcasm, right?



Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:16 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

"One Conference USA school source speculated how different a new league would be from the new Big East in terms of football strength and television viability. The answer as of now: Not much."

Is that a joke? A Conference USA/Mountain West merger would elicit NOTHING from TV execs. Ooh, can't wait for Marshall vs. Nevada or Tulsa vs. Fresno State.

Give me a break. The Big East took anything of value from both conferences, with the exception of Air Force. Add in Navy and the Mountain West/CUSA isn't in the same ballpark as the Big East in any sort of way. They have no markets, no appeal and no good teams outside of Southern Miss.

Let's see, the Big East has football teams in San Diego, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Tampa, NYC, Louisville, Cincinnati, a national brand in Boise and possibly an even greater national brand in Navy.

What does the Mountain West/CUSA have other than Air Force as a draw?

The Big East is also going to have a nice fat contract from the new NBC Sports Network, who needs programming and would LOVE to showcase Big East basketball with UConn & Louisville leading the way.

A test signal would get better ratings than Rice vs. East Carolina.   



Since: Sep 20, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:11 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

ECU missed it's first bowl game in 6 years, has a winning record over most of the schools in the Big East not to mention all the AQ wins over the past 20 years and consistently plays one of the toughest non conference schedules in the country.  Tulsa has been Bowling 6 of the past 7 years and just beat Notre Dame at ND last year. USM hasn't had a losing season in 17 years.  So yeah as I said HISTORICALLY the 3 best teams are staying in CUSA. 



Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:11 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

Incidentally has anyone considered that this proposed conference has the potential to be worse than the Big East in terms of travel for football?  Hawaii is scheduled to become a football only member of the MWC next year and with this merger that could potentially have the following matchups:

Hawaii vs Southern Miss
Hawaii vs Tulane
Hawaii vs Marshall
Hawaii vs East Carolina (this matchup would be by far the greatest travel distance in all of college football)

To say nothing of the likes of Fresno State, UNLV, and Nevada being matched up with the aforementioned teams in regular season. 



Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:04 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

"With the apparent end of automatic qualifying conferences (beginning in 2014) " - source
I think it is just supposition based on the fact that so much talk is swirling about the +1.



Since: Sep 22, 2011
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:02 pm
 

MWC, CUSA talk forming new league

I would agree with you on Southern Miss, but ECU has truly been struggling these last several seasons.  Tulsa is decent but has done horrible against ranked or BCS opponents. 


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