Analyzing the CAA-FloSports Streaming Deal

Image courtesy of FloSports

By Bennett Conlin (This content was originally published in our newsletter)

The news – The CAA signed a four-year streaming deal with FloSports. According to a press release from Jeff Bourne, fewer than 15% of JMU’s total athletic competitions will be shown through the platform. The deal starts next season, and approximately 50 CAA football games, 140 basketball games and 110 additional events will be streamed through the service. 

The price – Here’s where things get interesting. It is going to cost fans $12.50 per month to get access to these events. That’s a lot for a sports streaming service that isn’t even going to be showing that many JMU sporting events. Of course, there are other CAA games available through that platform, but the CAA isn’t the SEC. It’s not all that likely that most JMU fans genuinely care about watching other teams. The same goes for fans of other CAA teams. From our perspective, the price is a negative for such little content. 

The details – Games on FloSports will not be aired through MadiZONE, but games on FloSports can be aired on TV. For example, if the football team plays Richmond, that game can be on FloSports and NBC Sports Washington without any issues, but MadiZONE won’t be allowed to do a broadcast. If the Dukes don’t have a TV deal, and FloSports elects to cover the game, the game will only be shown on FloSports. If FloSports isn’t involved, the game will likely be shown via a standard MadiZONE broadcast. 

The money – This is the biggest aspect of the deal. The CAA is receiving seven figures across the four years of the deal. Getting paid for this deal benefits the CAA a good bit. The conference claims this will help it negotiate deals to get more basketball games on TV, which should in turn help the conference get multiple bids into the NCAA Tournament.

Wait, what?

Well, the CAA is saying that more exposure on TV will increase the chances of getting two teams into the Big Dance. The exposure could also hypothetically help with recruiting, which makes the teams better and can lead to more teams in the NCAA Tournament. Winning NCAA Tournament games gives the entire conference money, so the CAA hopes a TV deal will start a domino effect that begins with exposure and ends with NCAA Tournament money. 

The logic – Are men’s basketball games on CBS Sports (not the main CBS, but the CBS Sports channel that regularly airs Conference USA matchups) really going to bring enough exposure to make the CAA a two-bid league? I’m skeptical, especially with the mass exodus of transfers this offseason. It’s a bad league and getting two bids is going to take more than this streaming deal and a few games on TV. The product isn’t very good right now, and that isn’t changing because of this deal. 

The bottom line – This deal isn’t great for fans. The monthly price is outrageous, and there are legitimate doubts about FloSports’ ability to consistently provide a quality stream. On the other hand, bringing in money is a good thing for the conference. Overall, it’s a good deal for the CAA, but that doesn’t make it a good deal. The CAA is falling behind other athletic conferences, and this deal shows just how desperate the conference is to catch up, especially in men’s basketball. Unfortunately for CAA fans, this is probably as good as it gets in the immediate future. 

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