Memo to the SEC: how to earn even more money

TO: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, SEC Presidents and Athletic Directors
FR: Alan
RE: revenue opportunity
cc: Myles Brand, NCAA

The quest for college football supremacy has entered a new phase—the economic battleground. The SEC has done an outstanding job capitalizing on its new television contract. The dollars improve SEC programs. The exposure into new national markets makes the conference even more appealing. The SEC’s new online operation is another sign of the conference’s forward thinking.

Revenue is the lifeblood of college athletics. To maximize every dollar available, schools like Alabama and Auburn have crafted innovative policies to drain every ounce of revenue out of fans, and punish entrepreneurs like artist Daniel Moore. It is clear the SEC and its members know the dollar is the most important thing.

But there is one area of untapped revenue—SEC Media Days.

Right now, SEC Media Days is an event for the media elite. Fans are kept out of the sanctum sanctorum (upstairs at the Wynfrey), and must jostle for position to snag the best football player and coach autographs. Is this really the best model? All you get are “elite” media members bitching about the mass of people. This just isn’t getting the job done.

Who really needs to be there? Certainly, CBS and ESPN have earned (bought) the right to be there. But the rest of the media? Please.

The SEC should charge these minor players like the dinosaurs of the print media for access. And while charging, why not charge admission for fans too. You could bill SEC Kickoff as a major event. Sell tickets, have a big party. You could fill the BJCC, or maybe Larry Langford’s new domed stadium. It might even grow enough to move it out of Birmingham (just like the SEC football championship and basketball tournament!) How much could the SEC earn from a filled Georgia Dome? Speaking of, how much could the SEC extract from ESPN to cover this event? Forget free—people will pay and sponsors will pony up for this!

With these tough economic times, it is important to exploit every advantage possible. Let’s put the other conferences out of business by opening yet a new theater in the economic war.

Best wishes,
Alan