Bobby La Gesse/Land of 10
Herky, the Iowa mascot.

What the future of cable TV contracts means for Iowa, previewing junior day and more

The best way to start your day is right here at as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Friday, March 3.

Has the future of Big Ten content distribution arrived?

The biggest story of the college football week came unexpectedly during a Los Angeles tech presentation. YouTube announced plans on Tuesday to launch channels this fall that would be of great interest to college football fans.

The news quickly caught the attention of the college football world. It could potentially revolutionize college athletics.

So what does this mean for Iowa? Everything and nothing.

The future of conference TV contracts is arguably the biggest long-term issue facing the business that is college athletes. This is why the Breakfast Club brings this up.

A short history: Conference TV contracts appear to be in a bubble. Large number of cable customers are cutting the cord. Live sports (like Big Ten football) is one of the few viewing options preventing a mass exodus.

The days of TV contacts, like the one the Big Ten recently signed, are numbered.

The Big Ten is well aware of this. What the league — and really everyone — doesn’t know is what comes next.

There is a reason commissioner Jim Delany passed on a long-term contract in favor or the six-year deal the Big Ten signed in its latest round of TV contracts. The status quo may still apply in six years. Or it may not be the best avenue to maximize revenue.

A digital content provider such as YouTube could be the future. The company that changes sports content distribution for the next 20-plus years may not even exist.

Whatever the future holds, the Big Ten needs to be in position to cash in. The way conferences approach the next decade for content distribution could alter the financial pecking order of the major conferences, or at a minimum close the gap between conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big Ten.

Remember, Delany had the foresight to announce a cable network in 2004, maximizing profit in the current TV contract climate before any other major conference. The Big Ten Network is a major reason the league, along with the SEC, sits atop the college football financial landscape.

Delany’s track record, the flexibility with the short-term TV contract, and the infrastructure already in place with BTN’s digital content should put the league in position to move on from cable contracts whenever the day happens.

In Delany, the Big Ten (and Iowa) should trust.

YouTube TV may be the answer. It may not. The $35 price, inclusion of ESPN channels, and unlimited cloud space are nice perks. It’s interesting, but it may not be enough for everyone to dump cable. The Big Ten Network wasn’t included in the initial YouTube TV channel lineup.

Talk of what comes next for college athletic content distribution isn’t going away. Whenever the conversation comes up remember two things: What comes next is still up in the air, and the Big Ten is in as good of a position as any conference to cash in on the future.

Bring on the recruits

Spring practice is still two-plus weeks away, but the biggest weekend of March may very well be here. Iowa is hosting a huge junior day on Sunday. Rob Howe of HawkeyeNation, did a great job recapping the 70-plus prospects expected to come.

Seemingly all of Iowa’s top recruiting targets will be in town. Every major program hosts one (if not more) chance for its top recruiting targets to come to campus in the winter or early spring. These events make recruits feel special — they tend to require an invite. A successful junior day (or summer recruiting tailgate party, for that matter) can lay the groundwork for a future commitment.

End of the line?

The NCAA Tournament hopes for the Iowa women’s basketball team likely came to an end on Thursday. The Hawkeyes lost 78-73 to Northwestern to open the Big Ten Tournament. They needed at least one win to move off the tournament bubble and into the big dance.

Iowa did get off the bubble on Thursday, but odds are it will be stuck outside looking in when the at-large bids are handed out. That’s where they are in the latest ESPN bracketology.

Greatest Iowa basketball player bracket update

Land of 10 is trying to determine the best Iowa basketball player. Readers are voting each day in the latest bracket matchup. The first round consists of four players each day, with two advancing to the second round. Let’s check where thing sit.

It appears that Ronnie Lester easily advanced from day one while Ed Horton squeezed by. Roy Marble and Kevin Boyle are likely to move on from day two.

Lots of links