Wednesday, October 6, 1999

Terms of Tech's Big East Deal Announced

Tuesday, Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese finally ventured to Blacksburg to hold the press conference that was originally scheduled for September 23rd. The purpose of the conference was for Tranghese and Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver to officially take the wraps off of the deal that will send Tech to the Big East in the year 2001.

First of all, from what I can tell, Tranghese and Weaver publicly admitted that Miami and the ACC are flirting with each other, and that they both expect the Miami situation to resolve itself in the next 2-4 weeks (depending upon which man you're listening to, and on what news outlet). Both men also expect Miami to stay put in the Big East Conference, although I would expect them both to say that.

Secondly, our entry date in the Big East is scheduled for July 1, 2001. Mister Weaver reportedly said on the "Tech Talk Tuesday" radio show last night that if the Miami situation is resolved in the Big East's favor in the next few weeks, the entry date for Big East membership will probably be moved up to July 1, 2000, less than a year from now. This is no doubt in response to the news from a week or so ago that the Atlantic 10 is contemplating jettisoning Tech after this 1999-2000 school year.

Lastly, the information you have all been waiting for the financial disclosure of Tech's entry into the Big East (as relayed by Justin Ditmore of Channel 10 in Roanoke on the 6:00 news Tuesday night):

  • Tech will pay $2.5 million spread out over the next ten years.  The payments will be $200,000 per year for the first five years, and $300,000 per year for the last five years of the ten-year stretch.
  • No revenue sharing for Tech for the first five years.
  • Revenue sharing for Tech will start in year six, and will average approximately $1.3 million per year (as compared to a paltry $100,000 that we currently receive from the Atlantic 10).

The Hokies will pay $200,000 to exit the Atlantic 10.

So, with the A-10 exit fee ($200k), five years of lost A-10 revenue sharing ($500k total), and five years of Big East entry fees ($1 million total), this deal is going to cost Tech $1.7 million over the next five years. Big-time ouchie.

Most or all of that money should be made up by Tech's new marketing deal with ISP. ISP will guarantee Tech about $900,000 annually over the next four years from their new deal with the Hokies, which was announced last week. This is an increase of about $450,000 per year over the current deal with ISP, which means that in the next four years, the Hokies will make about $1.8 million more from ISP than the old contract (there's potential for even more money there, but the figures I just gave you are guaranteed).

Hmmm, those numbers cancel out, so that's nice. Bringing Big East teams into Cassell Coliseum for both men's and women's basketball will no doubt mean higher ticket sales figures, which will help the Hokie coffers tremendously and will swing the financial pendulum back into the black, before Big East revenue sharing even begins.  Of course, I realize that the Big East membership deal has nothing to do with the ISP deal - I'm just wondering how Tech is going to do over the next few years relative to what it's like now.

Tech will try to make up the money lost by moving to the Big East Conference by increasing the cost of football tickets. Mister Weaver also announced on Tuesday that in order to help pay for the costs of entering the Big East, the cost of Hokie football tickets, long one of the lowest among Top 25 rated teams, will increase.

The Hokies currently charge $25 for less-glitzy games like JMU and UAB, and $27 for biggies like Syracuse and Miami (for comparison purposes, the ticket I had for the Tech/UVa game in Charlottesville this year had a face value of $30). Those figures will increase, although it has not been stated at this time by how much.


Rutgers TV Brouhaha

Local Hokie fans are ready to riot upon hearing that WJPR/WFXR (Fox 21/27) will not be showing the Tech/Rutgers TV broadcast in its entirety on Saturday. Instead, due to Fox network commitments, the stations will have to show a baseball divisional playoff game. The baseball game starts at 4:00 p.m., and upon its conclusion, the Tech football game, which starts at 6 p.m., will be joined in progress.

Ay caramba. I'm thinking with the way playoff baseball goes, with the pitcher substitutions, pinch hitters, and commercials, it may run as long as three and a half hours or more. You may have to kiss the entire first half of the Tech broadcast goodbye, and maybe more.

Fox 21/27 will rebroadcast the game in its entirety at 9:00 on Sunday morning, but as I told someone via email, a football game isn't like an episode of "Friends" -- you can't just bump it back and expect fans to be satisfied. A live sporting event needs to be shown live to be fully appreciated.

None of this is intended to bash the folks at WJPR/WFXR. They're doing what they have to do. I haven't walked a mile in their shoes, and I have no idea of what pressures they're facing, so I'm not fit to critique their actions in this matter. But I know lots of folks in our area will be hanging on Bill and Mike's every word from 6 p.m. until who knows?


HokieCentral Tailgate Planned for Syracuse Game

I have started the planning for the Third Annual HokieCentral Tailgate.  It will be held the day of the Syracuse game - October 16th, which is also Homecoming.

Like previous HC tailgates, this one will be free to everyone, and more than likely, it will be held in the Litton-Reeves Parking Lot (did I spell that right?), which is Lot #9, for you Hokie Club members.

Last year, I had food for 150 people, and this year, I'm turning it up to 200 people.  The tailgate will run from 2:00 to about 5:00 or 5:30, so plan on stopping by at some point during the day, or heck, just spend the whole day there.

I'll post more details later, including a menu and a map, so be on the lookout for that information.  The game, in case you haven't heard, is scheduled for 6:00 p.m, and will be shown by ESPN.


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