June 7, 2013
Quick Slant is an array of brief insights and occasionally opinionated overviews of collegiate athletics in general and the Vanderbilt Commodores in particular.
Last week we attended the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin. As always, there is a mix of big business in an atmosphere that resembles a family reunion. There are a variety of meetings going on simultaneously that include the athletic directors, head football, men's basketball and women's basketball coaches, faculty representatives, senior women's administrators and media relations directors. School Presidents meet the final day. There is always an internal agenda but these meetings include visits from major partners such as ESPN and CBS or key external consultants.
The SEC Network, coming in August, 2014, was a dominant topic. The product is expected to appear on the nation's top leading cable companies; at this moment distribution discussions are just getting underway.
SEC football ratings last fall topped all conferences to nobody's surprise. As a barometer, the BCS Championship game had ratings five times higher than the Stanley Cup final and far exceeded the World Series, The Masters, Daytona 500, NBA Finals and the NCAA men's basketball title game (which CBS reported was the most-watched championship game in 19 years). College football is America's second favorite sport next to the NFL.
The conference is eager to change what it believes is a misplaced perception that the quality of its men's basketball teams is not up to par. It was interesting to see the NCAA's long-time architect of March Madness, Greg Shaheen, was brought in as a consultant to speak to both the coaches and athletic directors.
Interesting factoid: 62% of the people who consider smartphones their primary connected device access sports on a daily basis.
SiriusXM radio says they will start doing some Super Regional broadcasts leading up to the College World Series.
ESPN2's Big Monday women's basketball ratings were up 30% from 2012 and overall ratings for the sport on the network were up 5%.