I started this as a response to the diary by maizeonblueaction, but I figured it would get more play on the main board. I'm interested to find if anyone cares to defend the B1G acquisition of Rutgers and Maryland. I feel like cable contracts with the BTN are not the end all, be all factor as to whether our forray out east will be successful.
I'm not as sold on BTN bound TV sets being the sole reason to branch into populace areas. Sure, that's a huge focal point for now, but it's not the only thing. When speculating on decisions, there is a general trend to underestimate those who come to said decisions. It's easy to poke holes in most arguments, as there are very few 'no-brainers'. Sure, there are stupid people everywhere, but by and large the people who have cash to back up their decisions have proven themselves in some facet. It is presumptuous to assume that a rag tag group of message board patrons have out-thunk a group of people who make insane amounts of money to assure that even more insane amounts of money and power are retained by said group.
I can list a few other items that should not be overlooked in the event that TV channels are no longer bundled. These are listed from the perspective of CFB, but can also apply to other sports in some cases...
1. Recruiting. This is not to be undersold. Higher population equates to more talent that can be swayed into staying home. In this instance, the Nebraska coup was a net drain on the conference. Sure, Nebraska will hold onto some of their recruiting territories in Texas and out west, but most of their kids will need to be cherry picked from the midwest. We have one more heavyweight eating from the same piece of pie. Conversely, New Jersey and Maryland are hot states for football recruiting. Though the schools may be lightweights, they've brought more pie to our party! In a way, bringing them into the fold helps mitigate our fat uncle Nebraska. ( I swear this is the last time I analogize high school recruits to pie. It's creepy.)
2. Word of mouth. Even if we can't edge our way into the TV sets of the entirety of Baltimore, DC, and the greater NYC area, getting our foot in the door creates a starting point. If mouths start talking about the Big 10 in those areas, they have the power to spread our gospel like a targeted plague. You can even speculate that if Rutgers and Maryland benefit from the status of being in the Big 10, they will be able to raise the profile of their teams and compete on a national stage, bringing even more relevancy.
3. Lamestream media coverage. I despise the term. But the mainstream media will parrot what it thinks is best for self preservation. When ESPN sees that the large demographics are now more tuned into B1G interests, it will cater to that demand. More curious eyes means more exposure. More exposure means more curious eyes. I guess this dovetails with number 2 on my list, but it stands as a potential point. The antithesis of this is the NHL. It is, by all means, a great product. But Bettman and lockouts and unwarranted expansion that dilutes the product caused a lot of casual fans to turn away. Now, ESPN couldn't take enough pay to touch the league, which threatens to further nichify the sport.
4. Access to coastline. In the event of Civil War II breaking out between the B1G and the SEC, any military person recognizes the basic need of coastline. Nobody likes to be landlocked. Laugh now, but crazier shit has happened.