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All That and a Bag of Mail: The New York Times Catches Up to Outkick

It's Friday and time for the mailbag.

One of the great things about Outkick these days is we can basically conquer all fields. You want an analysis of why Fox wants to buy Time Warner -- we do it so well that two days later the New York Times writes the exact same article on the front page of their business section -- you want breaking news on Mizzou to the SEC or the SEC Network and Comcast and DirecTV? We've got all those covered too. You want pictures of Johnny Manziel dressed up as Scooby Doo while dancing with a smoking hot blond girl in lingerie? Done and done. You want the ten best television shows of all time, Bachelorette recaps, or horribly written Game of Thrones reviews by me that confuse basic plot elements rendering the entire article virtually unreadable? Hey, we've got you covered on all that too. 

As Outkick reaches three years old, we can survey the landscape and think -- we got this. There's literally nothing we can't write or cover. I'm going to write on the three year anniversary of the site next week, but suffice it to say, I've never been more optimistic or excited about our opportunities and audience. You guys have made Outkick work by sharing our articles, submitting ideas, and, occasionally, calling me gay on Twitter. It's fair to say that I am the most successful gay Muslim of all time. In fact, if there was a gay Muslim hall of fame, I would be a first ballot unanimous selection. With that exhilarating prelude, let's dive into the mailbag.  

Aaron Y. writes:

"Assuming Qatar loses the World Cup and the USA gets to host the tournament in 8 years, how much do you think Americans would be willing to pay on the secondary market (i.e. Stubhub, scalpers, etc.) for USA group stage games? Knockout round games? And if by some miracle of miracles, USA in the World Cup finals?"

I think the US will host the 2022 World Cup. That's my prediction. I just see no way we play a summer World Cup in Qatar and I think there's no way that Fox is paying for a winter World Cup in Qatar during the NFL season. The television rights were specifically sold for a summer World Cup, it's when everyone in our country is paying attention. No one wants the World Cup during the NFL season. Plus, do you really think FIFA is going to pause pro soccer leagues in the fall or winter? No way. So do you think that FIFA is going to refund part of Fox's bid -- hold up, I'm still laughing -- and take less money to play in Qatar.  

So I think the US will end up with the 2022 World Cup. 

With that in mind the ticket prices will be insane for US games. Totally and completely insane. Soccer will be even more more huge than it is now in eight years and many fans will consider this a one-time opportunity to watch our team play on home soil. The market will be every bit as hot as Super Bowl tickets. So tickets will sale for three or four thousand dollars a game on the secondary market. If the US ever made the World Cup quarters, semis, or finals on US soil, it would become the most expensive ticket in the history of American sports. 

I'm not even kidding about this. 

Greg M. writes:

"Clay,

With all of these conference expansions, has the SEC considered the Northeast at all? Now that they have the network in place, I feel like they could capitalize on the New York/Northeast market.

Granted, they are already practically (two adverbs in a row, yikes!) printing money, but I have to imagine it's crossed their minds. Geography means nothing to these super-conferences now, so expanding to that region wouldn't be a travel burden by any means. Plus with their TV/media clout they could hold their basketball tourney at MSG and pretty much dominate college sports year round, even more so than they already do.

I'll admit that I am a UConn fan/alum who is desperate for a new conference. Why not reach for the stars, right? I mean it makes a little sense, but maybe that's just my outrageous optimism.

This idea was not originally mine, it was brought up by my good friend Jared Stillman (ESPN 980-Louisville).

Thoughts?? Will the SEC expand? Will they consider heading north?"

When the SEC expands it will be to add teams in the states of North Carolina and Virginia. When that happens you'd then flip Missouri back to the SEC West and add these two teams to the SEC East or you'd do what I prefer, create four divisions of four teams each and play an SEC Final Four title series every year. For years I've been predicting Virginia Tech and N.C. State as those two teams, so I'll stick to those two. But there's always the possibility of North Carolina and Virginia, the two flagship state schools that are superior academically, because the SEC Network money is going to be so staggering that it will make everyone want to sign up. 

I don't think the SEC will ever leave its geographic footprint because the SEC's strength lies in a regional connection with the programs. The reason why non-Southerners don't understand the SEC chant is because they're not southern. It's as simple as that. To many of us of all races, ethnicities, and beliefs -- Southern is our culture. We aren't from somewhere else, we're from the South. Adding a school outside the region would dilute the brand and the culture. 

Having said that, the most intriguing move out of the footprint I could ever see would be adding Cincinnati. Can you imagine what that would do to Ohio State and the Big Ten recruiting if the SEC crossed the Ohio River and planted a flag in the Midwest? It would be the most successful Southern invasion since Coke. Of course, it could also turn into Gettysburg. Which is why I don't think it will ever happen.

Teams in North Carolina and Virginia will happen though. It's inevitable.  

Two SEC Network and DirecTV questions:

Todd S. writes:

"After the Directv reports yesterday, how confident are you that Directv carries the SEC Network by 8/28? Didn't they play similar games with the Pac12 network by leaking that the network was on the verge of being carried?

What advice do you have for Aggies that never cared about the NFL Sunday Ticket until this year where we are all in on Cleveland?

Rob B. writes:

I'm in quite the dilemma, Clay, and need help. I'm a lifelong Atlanta Falcons fan, as well as a lifelong Georgia fan. When I moved from Atlanta to Nashville 6 years ago, I had to give up my Falcons season tickets. So I subscribed to Directv when we got here so I could get Sunday Ticket and still watch the Falcons every week. The only thing that trumps my loyalty to the Falcons is UGA football. With the SEC Network still not having picked up Directv, I'm getting close to facing quite an issue. Do I drop Directv (and Sunday Ticket on my big screen) so I can maybe watch one UGA game over the course of the season, plus many more SEC games. Or do I keep Directv, and hope they get a deal done very soon so I won't miss SEC football and the occasional UGA game?
Basically it comes down to whether I want to give up watching almost all the Falcons games in order to watch maybe 1 or 2 UGA games per season. Help!"

DirecTV wouldn't have reached out to Outkick to let y'all know that they were going to carry the SEC Network and then not do it. Just like Comcast -- announced today -- wouldn't have reached out to Outkick and said they were going to carry the network if they weren't either. So the SEC Network on DirecTV will happen. Now, is it possible that the network's official debut on DirecTV could come a bit later than most of you desire? Of course. But rest assured it will be there. And none of you who are huge NFL fans out-of-market and also huge SEC fans are going to have to make the decision to pick between the two. 

Sameer F. writes:

"What do you think the potential media effect would be if Rupert Murdoch acquired TWC? Do you see a shift in the type of coverage for CNN? How big of a ripple effect do you think this acquisition could have in all facets of television?"

Well, it's a massive deal on many fronts. Fox has already said they would sell CNN so as to avoid a conflict with Fox News. So take that off the table. But it would still be very interesting to see who bought CNN. The movie studios, Fox and Warner Brothers, would both be run independently, but would carry a great deal of power in the industry. TBS, TNT, and the Cartoon Network are all big money makers and could fit nicely with the Fox cable properties. Adding HBO would be beyond huge -- the second biggest portion of this deal -- and so would the addition of the DC Comics brands to the Fox ensemble. But from a sports perspective -- what I think is the biggest part of the deal over all -- Fox surpassing ESPN in terms of television rights is enormously impactful. Go read this Outkick article again and tell me that a combination of Fox and Time Warner wouldn't have better sports rights than ESPN.

That matters because live sports events drive all sports TV ratings. The supplementary program around those live events matters, don't get me wrong, but the number of viewers that programming has is directly connected to the quality of the live sports. Right now ESPN beats FS1 and NBCSN soundly in the ratings. If Fox buys Time Warner then ESPN has a bona fide, legitimate cable competitor for the first time in its 35 year history. In fact, Fox would actually have better sports programming for the next decade or more. Given the money at stake in sports programming right now, that would be seismic.   

Johnny writes:

"I've got a bachelor party coming up soon and the future groom is insisting that we NOT buy him a lap dance because his fiance absolutely does not want another woman grinding on him in a back room somewhere. I'm curious of how many future brides out there really have a problem with their fiancé getting grinded on for a few minutes. Also, would it be better or worse to buy him a private lap dance or get the whole lineup on him in the showroom?  (regardless, he's getting a lap dance). Thanks for the advice."

I don't understand why any woman fights the trip to the strip club on a bachelor party. If you're really worried about another woman dancing on your husband, I don't understand this at all. It just isn't that big of a deal. Trust me, this won't be the last time he's in a strip club with a strange woman's boobs near his face either. He may tell you this is the last time in his life that this will ever happen, but he's lying to you.

More importantly, you should want your fiance in a strip club with his friends because it's infinitely harder to pick up a stripper than it is to pick up a regular girl at the bar. Why don't all women realize this? For the women reading this, consider this the best possible advice -- you can either have your future husband and his friends out drinking heavily in a bar surrounded by single women for them to hit on or be hit upon by or you can have him in a strip club surrounded by women that get paid to pretend they like men and actually have no interest in them at all. Every man reading this will agree that picking up girls on a bachelor party is easier in a bar than in a strip club. 

So, ladies, your strip club fear is misguided. You're actually making it more likely they pick up girls by telling him not to go to the strip club. Now, having said this, for the men reading this, don't go to a strip club. Get two online strippers to come to your hotel or house party and put on a show for you there. Just trust me on this. It's cheaper and more entertaining. Plus, then the groom can actually tell his wife-to-be that she wins, they won't be going to a strip club after all.  

Chris C. writes:

"Hey Clay,

So here's my deal, I'm 28 and single, living in St. Louis. It's a great town, but I grew up here and I am seriously considering moving.

My top three candidates for relocating are Houston, Charleston, and Nashville. In that order.

I am looking for a place that doesn't have awful winters, has a young, growing population, a great economy, and is close to great fly fishing. All three of those cities have have each of those factors to a certain degree.

I currently have a good job in a marketable profession (tax consulting) with a JD/MBA. What would be your thoughts if you're in my shoes? What other cities should I be considering? Note, I have zero intention of leaving the SEC footprint."

Well, Houston is much bigger than either Charleston or Nashville so I see it as quite a bit different than the other two cities. Why wouldn't you put Austin on your list, since it's a relatively similar size to Charleston and Nashville? I'd also add Charlotte to your roster of cities to consider, especially given your profession and the Charlotte banking connection. Sure, it's technically outside of the SEC footprint, but based on the proximity to South Carolina and Tennessee, I think it counts. Hell, they put the SEC Network there. Plus, as you can see from above questions, I think the SEC footprint will include North Carolina in the near future.  

If you're looking for a bit smaller cities, I'd check out Greenville, South Carolina too, it's fabulous.

But, honestly, every single person who is single and comes to Nashville loves it. If you want a city that's a decent size -- without being overwhelming -- is full of smoking hot girls, seriously, it's unbelievable how good looking the girls are here, has pro sports and an SEC team, and is rapidly growing, I don't know how Nashville gets beat by any city in the South.

Good luck with the move.   

Will C. writes:

"Me and my best friend had this debate for hours over a cold beer and we need a final verdict:

I claimed that as a 6 ft 4 inch average athletic Caucasian male who played varsity basketball in high school, that I could average 6 rebounds per game in the WNBA. Now I'm not saying I'd dominate the game and be the next coming of Juwana Man but 6 rebounds per game is not unreasonable, right? Granted I'm in average shape and could probably play about 5 minutes before needing a breather, but still. On height and jumping ability alone, I would get 6 per game. 

I'm 6 foot 4 and the average WNBA player is around 6 feet tall. Granted Brittany Griner would own me every day of the week but I'm not playing her every game. Please give us a final verdict here!"

Here are the WNBA rebounding leaders. (Incidentally, how many people do you think have looked up WNBA rebounding leaders this year? I mean, besides the players, their agents, and their family members. Am I the first?) Averaging six rebounds per game would make you a top 20 rebounder in the WNBA. The number 19 rebounder in the league is Tamra Young, she's 6'2'" and 170 pounds. You're taller and I'm assuming weigh a decent amount more than her. So you'd be able to clear out space in the lane Charles Barkley style. Assuming you were able to get in shape to get your fat ass up and down the floor, I think you'd definitely get six rebounds a game in the WNBA. You win this debate 

By the way, is the WNBA missing out by not putting average guys in their games? I would totally watch an average guy play in the WNBA. Nobody but Memphis radio host Chris Vernon -- who bets on the WNBA and purchased their league pass for $15 a year, 15! -- is watching these games anyway. I mean, what if the WNBA let me play a game with one of their teams? Are you telling me you wouldn't watch this game to see what would happen? How many of you would pay $15 just to watch that game, drink, and taunt me on Twitter?

They should have an average guys play in the WNBA week. It would be fantastic. We'd all watch. Hell, what about a draft featuring average guys? This would be fabulous television.