I hereby nominate user steviebrownforheisman for the honor of first MGoUser to make a viable case for Nebraska's expansion candidacy. Spurred on by GCS's rejoinder to Dreisbach Turner Overdrive's dismissal of Nebraska's ability to expand BTN viewership, my nominee made the following bold statement:
Nebraska has a large, extended fanbase of people that live outside of the state. Not only that, Nebraska football is the only sports team worth half a shit in the state. New York has other, non-Big 10 universities to compete with, not to mention the Bills, Jets, & Giants. Take it from someone who used to live in Nebraska: EVERYONE IN THE STATE WORSHIPS HUSKER FOOTBALL.
Edit: There are many other reasons. Nebraska, I would be willing to wager, has more people watching their games than Syracuse, Rutgers & Pittsburgh. Nebraska played in the Big 12 Championship last season. They have sold out every game since 1962. Syracuse & Rutgers probably didn't even sell out all of their home games last season.
I'll agree they may not have as strong a resume as some of the other candidates, but the only schools that have been discussed that would add more prestige to Big 10 football are Texas and Notre Dame. [Ed. emphasis mine.] To dismiss them as undeserving of joining the Big 10, to me, means that you think people actually give a shit about the Big East.
I'd also like to give due credit to user wile_e8 who in his response to my nominee, astutely linked to what turned out to be a particularly prescient post in Frank the Tank's Slant. In that post. FtT made a persuasive argument that the schools that were the most valuable to the BTN were not necessarily the ones that brought the largest number of subscribers into the BTN footprint. Rather, since the ratio of BTN advertising revenue to subscriber fees is 60/40, Nebraska was actually the third most valuable school after Texas and wait for it, Rutgers.
(1) The 60/40 Rule – This might be the most important piece of information regarding Big Ten expansion that I’ve seen to date: the Big Ten Network makes 60% of its revenue from advertising and 40% 0f its revenue from carriage fees. I’ll be honest with you – I thought that it would’ve been the other way around and it has definitely altered the lens through which we need to look at expansion candidates. What this basically means that if push comes to shove, the Big Ten should pick a school that has a great fan base (which translates in viewers for ad revenue) as opposed to market size (which contributes to carriage fees). We’ve been very focused on footprint sizes and research funding in our discussions lately, but at the end of the day, ad revenue is the #1 source of dollars for the Big Ten Network and that’s based on finding schools that Joe Blow in Anytown, USA will want to watch. Here’s a chart of some of the expansion candidates with their football TV ratings from last year. (Note how well Nebraska and Pitt performed compared to everyone else.) Now, that doesn’t mean that expanding the footprint is irrelevant (as the New York City market is still an important target for the Big Ten), but it definitely lets people “think like sports fans” a little bit here.
(3) If the Big Ten wants to make a ton of TV money, it will invite Nebraska – I’ve been increasingly become more and more supportive of Nebraska joining the Big Ten lately and Patrick’s analysis completely sealed it. Nebraska’s small market be damned – the Husker fan base is as rabid as any other in the country and they will tune in anytime, anywhere. ...[W]e should remove Nebraska from the realm of “Well, they might be coming instead of Missouri” or “They’re a good back-up if Notre Dame doesn’t want to join” and put the Cornhuskers into the “lock” category instead. I will now officially be shocked if Big Ten expansion occurs without Nebraska involved.
So, the floor is open for a second to my nomination and for additional nominees if anyone can find an earlier post that makes a cogent argument for Nebraska as a serious expansion candidate.