Article on B1G expansion to...Canada?

Submitted by mzdmv on March 25th, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Found this retweeted by EDSBS.

Interesting blog post on the potential of the University of Toronto in the Big 10. Now, this would obviously cause some NCAA problems as of now but I think it's pretty interesting. Toronto has a lot to offer, especially as a TV market.

What do you all think?




March 25th, 2013 at 10:16 AM ^

Toronto would have an NFL team if its ratings translated into $$$ in the U.S.  U.S networks do not benefit from Toronto.  Canadian channels override U.S. channels during commericals so U.S. advertisers see little value.  The problem is that Toronto doesn't count towards rating points.  The more rating points, the higher they can sell the broadcast to the networks.

Toronto would benefit the Big Ten even less than Maryland and Rutgers, which is really tough to believe. 




March 25th, 2013 at 10:24 AM ^

I thought the NFL thing was due to Canadian protectism of the CFL.  Last time an American league tried to place a team in Canada, the PM at the time threatened to pass an act to block it (good old Pierre Trudeau).  The MLB and NHL make money despite the TV situation.  You cited the downside of it, but the upside of it is that you can sell the same commercial spot twice, one American ad and one Canadian ad.  As for rating points, having Toronto playing will boost the Canadia ratings and let you charge the Canadian advertisers more.  Beside rating points are less and less important as people start streaming more and we can provide exact demograghic data based on the BTN2Go accounts that are pulling down the stream.  Lets get in on those lucrative Canadian Tire dollars!


French West Indian

March 25th, 2013 at 11:44 AM ^

I'm not sure it fair to use the NFL as an example when referencing TV ratings becuase much of the NFL is available on broadcast TV like NBC & Fox.  Much of college football is on cable channels that are paid for whether anyone is watching or not.

If the B1G network can into the market first and gain access to Torontonian (and potentially greater Canadian) cable subscription packages, the financial windfall may easily override whatever is being lost via advertising revenue because of low ratings.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

This is a non-starter. 

Sports is not a big deal in Canadian universities. Even in hockey - if you are a serious hockey player you will play Junior `A' or, if you want to go to school too, you'll accept a scholarship to a US university. (I played hockey when I was an undergrad at U of Toronto, and I'm not very good.)

Besides the football team using Canadian rules, there is also the issue of scholarships. There are very few athletic scholarships to be had at U of T. Many have academic requirements appended, and they are capped at $3,500 per year.

Of course, U. of T. may decide to change all that. But I don't see much of an upside from an administrative point of view. Massive big-money athletic departments like those in US universities bring as many headaches as they do benefits. If you already have one (Rutgers, Maryland) it might make sense to maximize exposure etc. But this is a choice between not having big time athletics at all versus making the investment of time, money, and revolutionizing campus attitudes to get big time athletics. 

Not to mention that if some misguided administrator proposed the bright idea of engaging U. of T. with athletics to the degree major American universities are engaged, the faculty and most of the students would revolt. It is just a different culture in Canadian universities, in this regard.

"Not only would you have fan support from the city of Toronto but a lot of fans all over Canada would cheer on the Varsity Blue’s.[sic]"

This writer clearly knows little of Canada. There isn't much affection for Toronto outside of Toronto. 



March 25th, 2013 at 10:53 AM ^

While I agree that sports in Canadian universities is a decidedly different animal (I visit a co-author at Queens a fair bit, which is a major Canadian school with athletic facilities worse than my high school), I do think that (imo) there could be some compelling reasons for UT to join. 

1) Candian funding of academic institutions ain't what it used to be. The endowments relative to their US counterparts suck and, like it or not, there is strong empirical evidence that the success of sports teams (including those beyond American Football) drive annual giving,

2) While it might be tough to recruit football players, having a Canadian school in a US conference would be huge for UT, since their athletes would not need to leave Canada to complete at a high amateur level. 

As such, a model which leaves out football for now, focusing on olympics + hockey and maybe hoops could over time be pretty successful especially when hockey games would generate good interest and ratings.


Red is Blue

March 25th, 2013 at 10:42 AM ^

Will this be like baseball?  When Toronto is home, they play Canadien rules football when an American team is home, American football rules?  How do they decide which rules to play in the B1G CG? 


March 25th, 2013 at 11:09 AM ^

My cousin transferred this year from Arizona State to McGill. Montreal is great.

Academically both schools are a good fit. Athletically... not so much. Culturally, Montreal is a much bigger jump than Toronto.


March 25th, 2013 at 1:16 PM ^

I was joking of course - and was truly surprised when I checked their site and they had football.  Those Canadiens are troopers.

McGill is a great school in a great setting.  My daughter is at Michigan now but we visited McGill when she was looking and we would have been very happy if she went there.


March 25th, 2013 at 10:24 PM ^

Football has taken off in the city, because U of Montreal decided to take it seriously a few years back. Now it is the hottest ticket outside the Habs in the city by far. McGill is a beautiful campus & excellent school with a very old football tradition that they completely ignore. Too bad. Team brutal, gameday is like being inside a sealed tomb but with less atmosphere.

U of T is a big school. No way would they ever be able to handle a B1G athletic program. Schollies alone would ignite a national 'debate'. And no-one outside of Toronto would ever cheer for them.


March 25th, 2013 at 11:02 AM ^

I live within walking distance of the UT football field. Every winter they put up a big temporary dome in the middle of the field (I believe for golf). Fans walking along the street can see through the fence to the field. They do however occasionally cover up the fence.

It'd be great to see a Michigan game in Toronto, even if it was 73-0 in the second quarter.

Canada does produce the occasional NFL player like former Wolverine Tshimanga Biakabutuka (whose family moved to suburban Montreal from Zaire when he was 4).


March 25th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

...would totally screw up the Michigan Stadium pregame flow when Oh, Canada is added to the program. So for that reason, and that reason alone, as Joey Ramone once sang...


March 25th, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

U of T just doesnt have the facilities, fan support, and tradition to compete at the big leagues. No students would attend the games. They're way out of their element


March 25th, 2013 at 12:02 PM ^

UofT would probably be at a D2 level at best right now and I'm not really sure how the fan support is in Canada for colleges. My ignorant point of view is that people from Ontario only care about the OHL and the future demise of college hockey.

However...we all know expansion isn't about athletics anymore. If they can bring in research dollars and Delaney can force BTN into the Toronto TV market they might do it anyway


March 25th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

Although a few years of playing at UM, PennSt and OSU would fill the coffers to start doing upgrades.  Local support wouldn't be there though.  I am in Windsor and can tell you its hard to get our local paper to follow anything NCAA football wise, and I could literally throw a rock at Detroit.

Like I said previously, the BIG Network is on all the major cable and satellite networks and you generally have your choice of which major US cities you get, generally Detroit or Buffalo or Boston in the East, and Seattle in the West.