CBS Sports is reporting today that Butler will move to the A10 for the 2012-13 season instead of the 2013-14 season since the Horizon League wouldn't let them play in the tourney basketball championship if they stay. So the A-10 will have basketball mid-major powers in Butler, VCU, Dayton, UMass, Rhode Island, St. Joseph's, St. Louis, Temple, and Xavier. So whose the real winner with this move?
Obviously the A10 is a winner because their basketball RPI jumps up and they have 9 schools with a history of competing in the NCAA Tourney regularly now in their conference. Does that make the conference the real winner though. I don't think so.
The real winner is CBS. Think about it. CBS Sports Network has the TV contract for A10 basketball. they can schedule 3-4 A10 matches a week. the demand for A10 basketball could push them to new limits and get them on cable systems they haven't been on before.
Not only that, but CBS has the rights to the A10 regional TV network. Can anyone say the A10 regional network might not be the most demanded basketball TV network after the Big East Network and ACC Network with this move? Most people honestly say the SEC is an inconsistent basketball conference, and the Pac-12 isn't elite in basketball. The A10 will certainly be in more demand than these two conferences.
Not only that, but the A10 can now open up a contract for streaming rights. Does anyone not think ESPN3 wouldn't want A10 games to be streamed on their service? What about CBS creating a new streaming service solely for A10 games like they do for Big Ten Basketball on CBS and SEC Football on CBS games)? Would NBC Sports Network, which has talked about possibly adding the MWC games on NBCSN to NBCSports.com, be interested in streaming them? One thing's for certain. The addition of VCU & Butler will lead to a higher demand for A10 games, and the conference stands to be the real winner when the next TV deal comes up.