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[+] Team Summaries

Friday, August 20, 2010

Conference Contributors, WAC and MWC

With all this realignment talk, I've been thinking a lot about how much a team is really worth to a conference. Conference alignments are, first and foremost, about money - they are, in fact, nothing more than a cartel that would be illegal outside of sport. (90% of what happens in sports would be illegal elsewhere.)

Because the rewards of cartel membership are shared, you want to be sure that each team pulls its own weight, or in other words, represents a positive marginal value to the conference. Some teams represent a positive marginal value because they bring the conference to 12 members, or because the legal ramifications and negative PR of kicking the team out would be too costly. Iowa State and Baylor got an unfair share of Big XII dollars before this summer because they had 12-member, legal, and PR leverage. When they lost that, they were glad to take a smaller share of new Big XII money to keep the conference alive. And this is the reason the WAC/MWC showdown has been so bloody - the only leverage these teams have is there own capacity to generate revenue.

So what do these teams have to offer? Yesterday, I posted that BYU and Utah represented 43% of ticket sales in the MWC. Ironically, Boise St, Nevada, and Fresno St represented 43% of sales in the WAC in 2009. To the left is a listing of the ticket sale value of each team in the two conferences. Basically, this value represents the demand each team creates at home and on the road. While this is only ticket sales, you can assume there is a strong correlation between this value and television viewership, merchandise sales, etc. Every team below Air Force contributed less than 1/9th of ticket sales in their conference.

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