Rose and Sugar Bowl TV Ratings Blow Up

sugar bowl

TV ratings are in for the first year playoff system games and there were a lot of people who tuned in. Here are the latest numbers from

At 5 pm, the match-up between Oregon and Florida State — despite being the most lopsided Rose Bowl contest since 1948, with a final score of 59-20 — drew 28.16 million total viewers, up 51 percent from last year.

Then at 9 pm, O-H-I-O State’s 42-35 victory over Alabama drew 28.27 million viewers, surging 150 percent from last year’s Sugar Bowl.

This is good news for ESPN who is reportedly paying $470 million annually to host the semifinal games of the College Football Playoffs.

How Many U.S. Golf Courses Are Closing Yearly?

Several times during the last few months while listening to sports talk radio I would hear the claim that “400 golf courses are closing yearly in America”. This went along with the theme that golf participation is declining and younger Americans are not joining clubs while current members are getting too old for the game. This peaked my interest because the claim of 400 a year is a lot of golf courses. So I decided to research it and find out what was happening. Bloomberg News had a nice write up back in January of this year and here is what they found:

More golf courses closed than opened in the U.S. in 2013 for the eighth straight year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

A total of 14 18-hole courses opened last year, up from 13.5 in 2012, while 157.5 courses were closed during the year, three more than a year earlier, the Jupiter, Florida-based organization said in a statement on its website. The organization counts every nine holes as 0.5 of a course.

Since 2006, course closings have outnumbered openings after more than 4,500 courses had opened over the previous 15 years. Those courses, many of which were built as part of real estate projects, shut down as the U.S. recession led to a reduction in home sales needed to support the courses. Golf club memberships and rounds played also declined during the recession.

Of the closings, 66 percent charged less than $40 for greens fees during peak times. The closings decreased the total number of U.S. golf courses to 14,564.5, the Foundation said. Public courses made up 97 percent (151.5) of the closures, with private courses accounting for 4 percent (6). A total of 8.5 public courses opened last year, compared with 5.5 new private courses.

Since 2006, 643 18-hole courses have closed, the organization said. The decline has followed a 40 percent growth from 1986 through 2005, a period with more than 4,500 courses opening, according the foundation data.

So while golf courses are closing, not at the exent the ESPN radio host is making it out to be.

Big Ten Football = Lots of Money


ImageWant to know how much money Big Ten schools rank from football alone? A lot and they are about to become very much wealthier. Before one bashes this money, just remember the next time you see a “softball complex” or an obscure sports facility being built on a Big Ten campus, that funding probably came from Big Ten football itself.

Hat Tip to Mike Carmin and his Big Ten football money article on

As a football enthusiast I remember very distinctly when the Big Ten Network kicked off in September 2007. The idea to air “Big Ten” only sporting events was laughed at by people not grasping the desire to see football games of all kinds. Six years later it is seen in almost 100 million homes in the U.S. and Canada. Financially it has paid its obligations and turned a profit just last year. Here is something else to ponder that Mike Carmin covered:

One year before BTN launched, the Big Ten Conference distributed about $14 million to each of its 11 schools.That was 2006-07. Six years later, that figure has jumped to more than $25 million.


Thats not all…..

According to documents obtained by the Journal & Courier from Purdue, the Big Ten is expected to distribute about $26.4 million per school after 2013-14 — and more than $35 million at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

The robust payouts, which include a projected $30.1 million in 2014-15 and $33.3 million in 2015-16, will be sent to the core 11 Big Ten schools

Budgets vary greatly in the Big Ten when it comes to athletics. Ohio State currently operates a budget of $132 Million compared to Purdue who runs a budget of $70 Million. Here is the breakdown of revenue payments received:

Schools in the Big Ten share equally in the revenue generated by television contracts, NCAA distributions, bowl games — including Bowl Championship Series and the future College Football Playoff format — along with the gate receipts from the league’s men’s basketball tournament and football championship game.

The Big Ten is about to get a lot wealthier.  Many of their TV contracts are due to be re-negotiated in 2016-2017(Minus BTN which is a 25 year contract).


In 2006, the Big Ten signed a 10-year, $1 billion deal with CBS and ABC/ESPN for first-tier rights and a separate 25-year agreement with BTN. The Big Ten’s deal with Fox to broadcast the football championship game started in 2011 and ends in 2015.

Projections are just that, but the aforementioned $35 million per-school figure may pale in comparison to what each school will receive once the league’s next television contract is finalized.

“The ’16-’17 year is an important mark because that coincides with the end of our current television agreement with CBS, Fox and ESPN,” Traviolia said.

Look for many Big Ten schools to enjoy continued financial success well into the mid 2020’s and beyond. The next bigger task will be to break up the NCAA and let the conferences soak in their revenue they stockpile.