Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reading the tea leaves on Big Ten hockey

The BCI crew took note of Penn State adding hockey and how it will impact BC. Their fear is that the money generated by Big Ten hockey via the Big Ten Network would give those six schools a huge advantage over traditional power conferences like the Hockey East. I actually think Big Ten Hockey helps BC. Let me explain:

-- The Big Ten is not done expanding.
Despite the relative calm now that they've added Nebraska, I don't believe the Big Ten is done expanding. The Big XII is still in a precarious position as is the Big East and the Big Ten is in the catbird seat because of their TV money. When the next conference shuffle comes, the Big Ten will be influencing much of who goes where.
-- If hockey becomes a focus of the Big Ten Network, hockey programs will be needed too. Football will always drive the conversation and the network's revenue. Basketball is next. But hockey could become a lucrative staple of the cable network. So in looking for expansion candidates, you will be hard to pressed to find someone who does all three better than BC. What candidate, other than Notre Dame, would offer the Big Ten those three elements?
-- BC is still a better TV play than most schools out there.
Our ratings are strong on a local level and on a national level (for a non traditional power). The Big Ten has little market presence in New England or on New England cable systems (as a premium channel). BC would help on that front.

Now, I don't think the Big Ten officials are huddled in Chicago thinking "how can we get BC to defect?." They would never add us as a stand alone 13th team. But the hockey factor makes us that much more attractive as a school that might join with one or three other universities.

Despite our comfort in the ACC and being a founding member of Hockey East, BC would certainly entertain the idea. I know Father Leahy and Gene D dread the idea of going through another conference shuffle, but they also fear the idea of BC being part of a leftover conference. Money is important to the school but so is association. If we can have a financially stable conference and still be associated with Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia, etc, I think BC would gladly stay put. But if BC is left in a conference with the Big East retreads, the school wouldn't think twice about joining the Big Ten.


John said...

Good points, except that we are not one of those officially sanction 'research universities'. Seems like the Big 10 is looking only at schools with that criteria

blist said...

Come on the AAU designation means nothing. ND doesn't have it. If we really, needed to have it, we'd apply for it to satisfy the BigTen bean counters and have 12 schools support us off the bat.

I like the hockey East, but living in Boston after living in Ny for 15 years, I'm surprised there is not more HE hockey on TV during the season

Michael said...

Here is a reported list of 2007 hockey revenues per school:

Bemidji State 771,701
Bentley Coll 677,722
Boston College 3,327,797
Boston Univ - 4,136,864
Bowling Green 893,361
Brown Univ 613,379
Canisius 747,925
Clarkson 1,371,056
Colgate 1,687,813
Coll Holy Cross 841,675
Colo College 3,560,331
Cornell 1,458,405
Dartmouth 844,310
Ferris State 938,159
Harvard 801,166
Lake Superior St. 866,442
Merceyhurst 838,467
Merrimack 1,255,239
Miami 1,742,761
Michigan State 2,762,075
Michiagn Tech 1,808,304
Minnesota State 1,211,490
Niagara 1,203,582
Northeastern 1,236,383
Northern Michigan 1,206,489
Ohio State 1,001,949
Princeton 712,601
Providence 1,688,962
Quinnipiac 1,524,752
Rensselaer 1,714,604
Robert Morris 723,706
RIT 715,803
Sacred Heart 694,148
St. Cloud 1,803,863
St. Lawrence 1,338,680
Union 482,747
U of Ala-Huntsville 554,468
O of Alaska-Anchorage 1,130,704
U of Alaska Fairbanks 1,537,282
U of Connecticut 202,132
U of Denver 2,081,175
U of Maine 2,673,406
U Mass Amherst 1,676,681
U Mass Lowell 1,012,033
U of Michigan 2,562,685
U of Minnesota Duluth 1,870,293
U of Minn Twin Cities 6,689,971
U of Nebraska Omaga 2,429,187
U of New Hampshire 2,724,024
U of North Dakota 3,717,479
U of Notre Dame 594,244
U of Vermont 2,682,885
U of Wisconsin 4,796,972
Western Michigan 595,488
Yale 1,039,852

I am sure the numbers have changed since 2007 but they are simply too small to be any significant factor.

Seth9 said...

We'll take Notre Dame because they have excellent academic standing, they're expanding their focus on doing research, and most importantly because they would bring a ton of revenue into the conference. BC wouldn't, so an exception is doubtful.

blist said...

Michael -- 3 million or more isn't chump change - heck, that's more than most Big East programs have been earning in football, if I recall figures I saw reported over the winter correctly. How does BU earn more?

Nick P. said...

The thought of moving to the Big Ten for hockey is quite a stretch. The market for hockey isn't big enough to really weigh significantly into the Big Ten's decision to invite other schools into the conference. Also, BC's success is rooted in recruiting hockey players from New England. The recruiting pipeline would be significantly damaged should the school remove itself from the Hockey East and no longer play the local New England schools on a regular basis. Kids in New England literally grow up "BC kids" or "BU kids", etc. because of the rivalries in the Hockey East. Jerry York would probably quit if BC left the Hockey East.

For likely a variety of social and economic reasons, I'm sad to say, the idea that somehow a Big Ten hockey conference could be more desirable because of being on TV than the Hockey East is far fetched too.