Wednesday, May 18, 2011
OSU still on board with Big Ten's TV plan
By Adam Rittenberg
CHICAGO -- Like many folks, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will be watching the Longhorn Network when it debuts in August.
The University of Texas will launch the 24-hour network with ESPN. The network will feature 200 events per season.
Of all the Big Ten athletic programs, Ohio State is likely most similar to Texas in terms of size, regional/national appeal and visibility. I've received more than a few questions asking whether Ohio State will ever branch off and start its own network.
Ohio State AD Gene Smith called the Big Ten's revenue-sharing plan the "healthiest" model.
But Smith has no plans to go down that path.
"We're going to watch them, obviously, but we've really bought into the overall health of the conglomerate," Smith told ESPN.com on Wednesday at the Big Ten spring meetings. "How do we optimize all of our assets, how do we aggregate it and maximize everything for everybody? We've kind of got a little bit different philosophy from the Big 12, because they share revenue differently, they're philosophically different. That's understandable, it works for them.
"But for us, we like to aggregate things and see how we can rise the whole ship."
The Big Ten's media rights package is no small potatoes, especially given the success of the Big Ten Network. Ohio State benefits from the plan, just like some of the league's lower-profile programs.
But Ohio State also has the potential to be like Texas some day.
Is it hard for Smith to take a populist approach?
"If you want to think selfishly, it's hard, it really is, to say that I'm going to give this up when I could probably on my own do this," he said. "But then you've got to take a step back and say what does that do for you long term? Really look at that from a holistic point of view. The larger stadiums can help the smaller stadiums, and it really rises the whole ship.
"A restaurateur would like competition close by -- not next door, but would like it on the same block because he realizes it rises their ships."
Smith also relies on his previous experience as a former athletic director in both the Big 12 (Iowa State) and the Pac-12 (Arizona State) as a guide for this issue.
"I've seen all the different revenue-sharing plans," he said. "[The Big Ten's] is the healthiest because of the collegiality. The discussions are easier. There's no real contention."