Reading Big East Commissioner John Marinatto's pitch on getting the Big East a new TV deal, I couldn't help but think of all the bad things that could happen between now and the negotiations. Not that I think getting an invite to another conference would be bad. It would be for the Big East, though. There are a lot of scenarios out there that would take us to another conference, and they all have about the same chance of being right. However, if the Big East is going to survive, something has got to change about the teams here. Now. And the way we market this conference. Now.
Bringing TCU in for football is a good thing. At least in the short term. I don't know that it's a good long term fit for either of us. What would be good is for the conference to find new ways to market itself. Yes, there is a huge potential amount of viewers in Big East territory. But I really don't see any moves to get those folks interested. In football terms, they have thrown their helmet on the field expecting success. Look at it like this, every school and conference has their 30 second video about how great it is. But does anyone really do anything else?
If they do, I don't see it. I'm not being harsh. I'm sure they all do some philanthropic activities and donate to charity. Those are all good things and they should keep doing them, but it's not really marketing your stars or teams. Maybe being in West Virginia, they know they have us in the bag already. But with that huge TV market, you'd think they would try to move past the traditional.
First, yes the Big East needs another year like 2006. We need a strong out of conference record and we need more than two teams in the hunt for the championship. It's critical for games like the WVU-LSU game to be thrilling and end with a WVU victory. Because nothing markets quite as well as wins.
Second, the conference has to have a presence at every conference game. I mean a big presence. Drawing people in, big. How exactly is pretty much wide open. But working with the host schools to create and event is where the conference needs to be to ensure that not just the die hard fans are catered to.
On TV, the games need to be visually stimulating. Not appealing to the lowest common denominator with things like, BOOBIES! But something that grabs peoples attention. Also, it wouldn't hurt to ensure that the folks announcing the games have a bit of pizazz. If you've watched the Big East game of the week, you know of what I speak. The Big East should be working with ESPN or whoever to ensure the broadcast crew has a Gus Johnson. It would be worth the money to improve the watch-ability of the games. Along those lines, an effort should be made to ensure that all Big East games are at least broadcast via the Internet.
I have no doubt that there are many more things the conference could do. But if this next TV deal is as big as reported in the link above, there should be no limit to what Mr. Marinatto and the Big East are willing to do to draw attention to the games. The games by themselves aren't enough, not yet, to turn all those potential viewers into regular viewers.
And now, a moment of musical Zen: