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A tempered view of the end of the Border War

I know we're all getting tired of talking about this but I still think there is more to be discussed. There is an obvious majority (approx. 80%) that feels the best course of action is to not play MU. And there is a minority (approx. 20%) that feels that we should play or at least should welcome the opportunity to in the future. So, are we depriving ourselves of an entertaining series out of spite, or are we simply looking out for ourselves? Can it be both? I've got some thoughts and some information (revenue and more) that I'll share after the jump.

Fun fact:

Mu (無?) (in Japanese/Korean) is a word which has been translated variously as "not", "nothing", "without", "nothingness", "non existent", and "non being".

If you want to read this, I would urge you to read it all the way through. It may surprise you.

Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Is there some enjoyment that we'll be missing out on if KU doesn't play MU? This should be an obvious yes. We may dislike hate MU but the rivalry can be fun and it brings out a lot of passion. I think if we try to deny this we're only fooling ourselves. Sure, it's no fun when they pull that one victory out every couple of years, but it's usually a good game when they do. And we sure love sticking it to them the rest of the time. Some might enjoy it more if we didn't play them but that's not the point. What I am saying is that we all will miss it to some degree if we don't play MU. Time to concede this point people.

Certain media personalities would have us believe that to contribute to the end of this border war is petty and beneath us. (I say contribute in order to avoid the inevitable finger pointing that follows any definitive assignment of blame.) Well guess what folks. It is petty. It is kind of childish to hold a silly grudge like this. No. Stop. Think. In what other aspect of your life would this not be considered childish. But then again, it is The Border War right? Not just in name, because it's a competitive series, but because this is a real rivalry. History, hatred, bloodshed, and many many not nice things. It's the Montagues and Capulets; the Grangerfords and Shepherdsons. "It's a godd*** war, and they started it!" - Don Fambrough UNC/Duke is a great rivalry but THIS IS WAR. War is petty and and childish. And so, in this, are we. Listen hear Dana. The "high road" is to put the hatred behind us. And that means an end to your stories, which is not what you were lobbying for. Don't even begin to lecture us. We see through your shallow attempts to get a good story. Time to concede a point here too though. We ARE behaving in a childish fashion. Our only defense is that this is what The Border War is all about. You disagree? Then be my guest. Go shake an Antler's hand and tell them no hard feelings. Put an end to your own hatred... Nope, moving on....

There has been a lot of speculation about what is best for KU and how it might affect MU. I am listing some links below for some revenue data that I have found. It's not the whole picture, but it's a start. I know others are trying to dig up more, and I sincerely hope you can find it. If you link to these pages, the next and year selectors don't work. I'll provide the direct links here.

Team revenue page 1
Team revenue page 2
Team expenses page 1
Team expenses page 2

The address' would indicate that this data is from 2009 but the site states that it is data from 2011. I don't know which is right. These figures are for the full athletic departments in all sports. I will list part of these numbers.

KU Income: Media Rights 6.9 M Branding 3.1 M Total 82.9 M

KU Expenses: Marketing 1.6 M Total 65.7 M

MU Income: Media Rights 3.3 M Branding .9 M Total 55.5 M

MU Expenses: Marketing 1.1 M Total 51.8 M

Again this is not the full picture but the main point I want to illustrate is that KU's name is worth more in media rights and branding. This point is further validated by a study from Forbes. KU is listed as the 8th most valuable college basketball team. I was surprised that MU was listed as the 12th but it's Forbes. Kinda hard to argue. KU had a higher value but MU had a higher profit. I think that profit boosted them more than a bit and it's clear that it isn't real profit. It just gets spent in other sports. See data above.

Forbes article

It would seem that the notion of KU being a bigger draw and a more attractive opponent is true. This shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone. When we talk about shared revenue games and guarantee games, the relevant numbers from the ESPN data are; tickets, away games, media, and visitors. I wish I had a breakdown by sport of these numbers so we could draw some clear conclusions. It's impossible with just this information to extract basketball or football only data. Ticket sales are clearly the biggest chunk of those numbers. MU made a small (1.2M) amount more than KU in ticket sales that year. Maybe someone can do some in depth analysis of the financial gains and losses when more information is available.

It has been said that we make more money in basketball and the Forbes study reinforces that. How much that factors in the big picture I'm not entirely sure. I do however believe that our marketability, branding, and overall exposure are enough to leverage a financially beneficial arrangement with a team of MU's caliber. Nebraska seems to be considering it, and I think we may have already gotten those types of deals in the past. They just weren't talked about publicly. I don't think MU will accept such a deal. E.G. A home only series or a neutral court guarantee game. A poster on this site said, "And since they’ll be making so much more in their profitable and stable conference, it shouldn't be too much of a burden on them to play us in 'guarantee' format." I agree. It shouldn't, but they won't.

Another aspect is the exposure and recruiting of Big 12 territory, especially the greater Kansas City area. Let's look at MU's recruits from the last four years. From the greater KC area MU recruited; Moore, Denmon, and Dixon. Both of the Pressey brothers are from TX which is Big 12 territory. From outside our conference region MU recruited; Bowers TN, Ramsey TN, English MD, Paul FL, Stone TN, Underwood AZ, Ratliffe VA, Green CAN, and Kreklow Col. MO.(Home town is always their terr.) It's hard to say that MU doesn't benefit greatly from recruiting in KC and even the larger Big 12 area. There is a fantastic article from a MU blogger on this. KU got the highest rated in KC with Releford during that period. At the moment, I don't think any MU SEC games that aren't nationally televised will be aired on local TV. This may change but I kind of doubt it. So, without getting too deep into this, MU stands to lose a lot of influence in their best recruiting areas. Again, check out that blogger's article. He demonstrates how it will affect their football program as well. Keep in mind too that these recruits are likely to choose another Big 12 school, and we need all the help we can get recruiting some more football talent. What would be better than getting ourselves some help while starving MU of that same help?

My feeling is that I will miss the games. But I personally will embrace my petty grudge and enjoy undercutting MU for the mere reason that it hurts them. I do think we can help ourselves in the process though. Make more money, recruit new talent, and save ourselves the rare embarrassment of losing to them. None of these things are guaranteed, but there are strong indications that they could happen. KU should be prideful and stingy. Hold out for a clearly beneficial arrangement. This is exactly what they did. Have some self respect. There was a fantastic post about "annoying roommates" (near the bottom) that has merit when you consider the following argument. Some have said that they think the Big 12 will collapse, and KU will be stranded. Therefore, we should take MU's offer now before it's too late. I don't think we gain anything that would help us if that nightmare came to pass. I think, in that scenario, it would make even less sense to play them. What did we gain? Some amusement and an outlet for our distaste for all things Missouri. Guess what people? Do you think MU fans or the teams are simply going to disappear? We can still dislike them. We just lose the enjoyment of beating them directly. It's a hit, but a smaller one than the one we can deliver them. If you want the series to continue, I would suggest that you steel your resolve and wait for the right opportunity. But enough of my thoughts. How about yours?

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