As we round out the second month of the NFL lockout, Thursday marks the longest work stoppage in the sport's history. There have been legal milestones along the way, but no tangible end is in sight. And don't think your precious alma mater's Labor Day weekend kickoff festivities will console you. Oh, no: The tribulations of the pro game are fully prepared to sully college football as well. Disney, the round-eared parent of ESPN, is already talking up the jacked-up ad rates they'll be able to charge for advertising slots in college games, a slope as slippery as Chip & Dale themselves! Tee-hee!
"We will see some extremely, extremely improved pricing for ESPN’s college football games. CPMs will be up, rates will be up," Iger said. "They’ll probably expand their format so that they’ll add more inventory in order to take advantage of that. So the significant increases we’ll see not just in college football but in other ESPN programming will offset, at least somewhat, the impact of a [lockout]."
And what are the networks going to want, once they get more expensive ad buys? More ads. And once this new high bar for commercialized airtime is set, it's hard to imagine it dipping down again. Remember Rule 325e? How willingly do you imagine the NCAA would further go about shortening games for the benefit of Allstate, et al.?
The real winners here, of course, are stadium vendors in high-profile venues, who would have everything to gain from games stretching to eight hours in length to accommodate the extra blocks of commercials. How's that West Virginia beer sales deal looking about now?