Forbes recently estimated ESPN’s $50 billion price tag, and the brand alone is worth more than Fox’s brand ($12.9 billion to $10.2 billion according to Forbes). The sports giant protected market share against Fox Sports 1’s attempt to promote the Big East. ESPN released “Requiem for the Big East” just before Fox Sports 1’s first broadcast of the tournament from Madison Square Garden. However, a Breitbart Sports study of current NBA rosters (see all 387 players below) shows the Big East is one of only two conferences to boast an NBA player from every team.
The rosters were compiled from breaking down the rosters listed on Wiki. At this writing, Wiki does have one mistake with former Pitt star Aaron Gray still being listed as playing for Sacramento as well as Detroit, but the table below is correct in showing him as a Piston.
That list includes reigning college Player of the Year Doug McDermott, who went from Creighton to the Chicago Bulls. Recruits want to play against future NBA players and fans want to watch future NBA players, so the importance of continuing to produce NBA talent will be a key in the battle for market share. The Big East is led by Georgetown (6 current NBA players) and Marquette (5), with the other eight teams all having between one and three players.
Both ESPN and Fox Sports will pay big money for the other conference with an NBA player from every school the Pac-12. The major conference on the west coast gives networks top-level basketball and football games for the 10 p.m. slot. The Pac-12 is the most impressive NBA-producer, topping all conferences with an AVERAGE of more than five NBA players per school. The top 10 conferences based on NBA players per team are:
1. Pac-12: 5.25 (63 players from 12 teams, led by 15 from UCLA and 12 from Arizona)
2. ACC 4.92: (74 players from 15 teams, led by 16 from both Duke and UNC and just three from new member Louisville)
3. SEC: 4.21 (59 players from 14 teams led by 20 from Kentucky and 12 from Florida)
4. Big 12: 2.90 (29 players from 10 teams led by 16 from Kansas and 5 from Baylor)
5. Big East: 2.70 (27 players from 10 teams lead by 6 from Georgetown and 5 from Marquette)
6. Big Ten: 2.50 (35 players from 14 teams led by 6 from both Michigan and Michigan State)
7. American: 2.00 (22 players from 11 teams, all but three from either UConn – 12 – or Memphis – 7).
8. Mountain West: 1.45 (16 players from 11 teams led by four from San Diego State)
9. West Coast: 1.00 (10 players from 10 teams led by 4 from Gonzaga – interestingly all at least 6-foot-10)
10. A10: 0.57 (8 players from 14 teams including 3 from Dayton)