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PACIFIC-12 CONFERENCE MEDIA DAYS


July 23, 2014


Gina Lehe


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

GINA LEHE:テつ Good afternoon.テつ As Dave said, I'm Gina Lehe, Senior Director of Communications and Brand Management for the College Football Playoffs.テつ I'd like to thank the Pac‑12 Conference for allowing us some time here today to speak with you.テつ It's good to be home.テつ I've lived here for many years and know many of you for my days at the Rose Bowl games.テつ So happy to be here and again.テつ Thank you for your time.
We've been touring, if you will, all of the conference media days to go over this College Football Playoff 101 as we prepare for this new season.テつ We've done some research with our friends at ESPN, and found some astounding numbers, that 94% of the avid college football fans have heard of the College Football Playoff, 50% of them knew there were four teams that would participate in the playoff semifinal games, and only 13% of those avid college football fans knew there was a selection committee that was part of the process.
So it was very obvious to us, and again to ESPN that there was a lot of research that still needed to be done, but also education on this new era of college football and postseason.テつ So, again, today we have a brief presentation to walk through, a little presentation of college football 101.
As many of you know, we are embarking on a new era here with the postseason.テつ I think it's been out there enough again that people know we have a new postseason format.テつ But we're thrilled and excited as Larry Scott mentioned earlier today, that we're able to observe the excitement of the unique regular season of college football, and as we've said for years during the BCS era, that we still feel every game counts and it's important to the new process.テつ The format is very simple, and you'll hear us say this often in simple terminology, but it's the best four teams.テつ We're looking with our selection committee to choose the four teams for the playoffs on several variables including strength of schedule, head‑to‑head results, comparison of results in common opponents, championships won, and other factors.
Bottom line, there is no one variable to this process.テつ It's important to remember a big, significant change to this as we had a system previously that relied heavily on rankings with computers.テつ We now have actual human beings as you'll see in a commercial that features Sean Astin in a Rudy spinoff that there are real human beings part of this process that will actively participate in the selection of the teams and give us that perspective we didn't have during the BCS era.テつ We have the best of all worlds.テつ The new postseason structure creates an exciting playoff that fans have been searching if are for years and certainly media have been hoping for coaches, fans alike.
One thing that is for certain that we want to make sure people understand is this Halliday is going to belong to college football.テつ Fans will enjoy back‑to‑back triple headers, two semifinals and four other premier bowl games that we'll play New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.テつ We keep telling everyone make sure your plans include television for your parties because you will not want to miss out on what's taking place this season.テつ One common theme we heard during the BCS era was the inconsistency of the National Championship Game.
So we're excited to share that the National Championship Game will be played on Monday every year.テつ We won't have a game being on a Tuesday or Wednesday.テつ Monday nights will be college footballテや冱 new destination to crown its national champion.

Universal access.テつ We've heard a lot that every FCS team will have equal as access to the playoffs based on its performance.テつ No team will qualify automatically, and the highest ranked champion from Conference USA, MAC, Sunbelt, and AAC will be assured a spot in one of the six games.テつ More revenue available.テつ The popularity of the new format will increase revenue for all conferences and independent institutions with $60 million annually going to the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac‑12, and SEC, and $75 million being split between the other FCS conferences, which is more than five times greater than the payday in 2013.
In addition, every FBS program that reaches the NCAA minimum APR will receive $300,000 as part of that base payout.テつ Revenues from the playoffs do not include individual contracts conferences have with those bowls, so those numbers are going to be even more inflated at the end of the day.テつ Another thing we're very proud of is our ticket situation.テつ Over the terms of the BCS, we heard loud and clear that the burden of tickets to the institutions participating in the games was becoming troublesome and financially we wanted to secure an arrangement that was comfortable for the participating schools and their fans.テつ Understanding that we're now moving to a system that could potentially include a Conference Championship Game, playoff semifinal game, and a National Championship Game is going to be asking a lot of fans in travel, so ticket prices will be comfortably set that hopefully fans can enjoy all three of those potential locations.
Another thing we'd like to point out is that 50% of all tickets to the championship game will go to the participating schools.テつ For a comparison, the Super Bowl was 35%, and the Final Four is roughly 33%.テつ As far as the structure of the College Football Playoff is concerned, we have a tiered system if you will.テつ The conferences, at the end of the day, manage the event.テつ We have a Board of Managers which consists of university presidents and chancellors, and the Management Committee which consists of the commissioners of all of the ten FBS conferences, and Notre Dame's athletic director.
We're also fortunate that we have council from several groups, athletic directors, sports information directors, business managers, ticket managers.テつ We understand this change in postseason college football is going to impact a significant number of people, and not just fans, but the teams.テつ How are the equipment trucks going to get all the equipment from the semi‑final destination to the championship destination?テつ And so our job as a staff in Irving is to make sure we reach out to those groups, talk to them about the logistics and do what we can to help out in advance of the change for the season.
The other thing we'd like to share, and we're very proud of this, last April we announced an initiative that's not been seen yet before in postseason college football, which is our philanthropic initiative, "Extra Yard" for teachers.テつ We are subscribing to use football as a platform to positively impact the surrounding communities both on a national and local level.テつ Revenue for this program will be generated from College Football Playoff licensed merchandise.
Want to get into the selection committee a little bit, which has been a hot topic obviously for media, and certainly the greatest change to postseason college football.テつ As you can see up here, the committee has quite a large task at hand.テつ Their job, again, we use this word best, is to select the best team.テつ Rank the teams for inclusion in the playoffs and selected other bowl games and define the teams two sites.テつ You've heard the names that are part of the selection committee, some of the most trusted, well‑respected folks in the industry.テつ We have administrators, journalists, coaches, student‑athletes, active athletic directors, and really have an outstanding group of folks that will be representing our selection committee.テつ The voting system is not complicated, but it's new.テつ I would suggest and recommend our new website launched a couple weeks ago, and we have our selection protocol on our website at collegefootballplayoff.com, including our selection committee FAQs, which really walks through the step by step process that was unanimously agreed upon by the management committee as the process for the selection committee to follow.
Generally our terms for our members will be three years.テつ The management committee selected the chair for this first year, Jeff Long, athletic director of Arkansas.テつ Moving forward, that chairperson will be selected by the actual selection committee.
Our committee's job is to provide subjective, thoughtful, intellectual discussions each week.テつ They will meet in Dallas, and on October 27, 28 we'll release the first rankings that will come in.テつ And then seven weeks after that, there was a lot of discussion whether or not those meetings would take place via teleconference, over the phone.テつ It was really important to every member that they were meeting in person, face‑to‑face to go through these discussions to look at the strength of schedule, to compare the head‑to‑head results, and again use all of the metrics available as they ranked the top 25 teams for seven consecutive weeks.
Selection Sunday will take place September 7 at 12:45 Eastern and again we'll work with ESPN for that announcement show, and Jeff Long will be available to talk in detail about how the committee got to its ranking.
As you can see on the screen, we talked about our back‑to‑back doubleheaders that are in our bowl games that are part of the college playoff.テつ I know somewhere out there we have these little cards.テつ I would suggest if you can pick these up.テつ It's a little pocket guide.テつ On the back of the card it shows the rotation schedule which you see up here on the screen.テつ But again, involving the Peach, Fiesta, Orange, Cotton, Rose and Sugar, which will rotate as the semifinal locations for the next 12 years which is the term that we've come to an agreement here with our conference commissioners as well as ESPN.
On July 14 we unveiled the new College Football Playoff National Championship trophy, we were very excited to present this to the college football community.テつ We worked with a company in New York to help us with the design.テつ Actually, the same company that helped come up with the logo design and then worked with a foundry in upstate New York that created the artwork for our trophy.テつ What didn't come across during our presentation and Bill Hancock our executive director alluded to it.テつ The base that you see in the image, the black part of the base, the top part comes out of the base, so you can hoist the top part of the trophy.テつ And the pentagram looks through designs of other championship trophies for sporting events.テつ Noticed one common theme, and that is everybody hoisted something in the air.テつ They all were taking the trophy in the air, so that was a very important part of the design.テつ If anybody is interested in getting images of that trophy, please feel free to see me afterwards and we can get you set up with contact information and send that to you.テつ Our first three sites have been determined for the National Championship Game.
AT&T Stadium will serve as the National Championship host site for 2015, followed by Arizona and then Tampa Bay.テつ It will be available next January or February and we plan on announcing future sites for 2018, 2019, and 2020 in the fall of next year.
Finally getting back to what we started, fans have asked for brackets.テつ We've got what they've been waiting for.テつ We're very excited to start this new era, I'm happy with our partners that are participating in this new era, and as you see the bracket will lead to North Texas on January 12.テつ My contact information is up here.テつ So feel free at any time to contact me with any questions or if there is information we can get for you.
Next part of this presentation we'll do a little differently.テつ We've done this at some of the other conference media days as an exercise we fill in as we're going.テつ But I've got to wait a minute upstairs for them to change the screen for us.テつ I just want to walk through and show you how the process will work with the selection committee.
We've gone through this exercise and filled in these teams as we're going through.テつ But we'll try to walk through in a different format here.テつ The committee's first job primarily is going to be to rank numbers one through four and seed them in semifinal games.テつ We'll point out these top 25 rankings were selected randomly.テつ Every time we do this exercise we insert different teams and similar to what the selection committee process will be come this October, we want to make sure the staff that we've prepared them with the tools they need to go through this evaluation and analysis.
So this is a random selection of the top 25 we're going to use as an example for our 2015, for next year's game.テつ So if you look at the top 4 rankings, Ohio State, Florida, Michigan, and LSU.テつ Looking at how the committee will look at this data, priority number one will go to that first team, Ohio State.
So a variety of factors will come into play at this point.テつ Whether the geographic area is in close proximity, whether there is history or ties in bowl games, so looking at this Ohio State has a great history with the Rose Bowl game, so the committee would more than likely place Ohio State at that number one position.テつ So you'll see under selection one, we've got Ohio State.テつ Number one versus number 4, so Ohio State would be matched up with LSU, and we have Florida and Michigan playing in the other semifinal game in the Sugar Bowl.テつ The next step for the committee is to fulfill the contract bowls.テつ We'll go down the screen to the Orange Bowl.テつ The ACC champion.テつ You can see on the left, it would be Louisville.テつ So they'd go to the Orange Bowl.テつ Then the agreement the original bowl has is the highest ranked SEC Big Ten or Notre Dame team available have filled that slot or that match‑up.
So if you go over to the rankings and go down the list Michigan has been taken, LSU has been taken.テつ So Wisconsin comes up as the next team available to fill that Big Ten slot as the match‑up against Louisville.テつ We'll then scoot back up halfway through and look at the next step for the committee to fill the Cotton, Fiesta, and Peach.
In easy terms, these are open selections, if you will.テつ None of those bowls have contracts like the Rose, the Sugar, and the Orange, so we'll go back to the left‑hand side and look at the rankings.テつ If you look at the Cotton Bowl and go down the list, Oklahoma is a conference champion.テつ Destination‑wise, Oklahoma would make most sense to go to the Cotton Bowl, so we'll slot them there.テつ If you look at their match‑up, you have a list of available teams there, but, again, we have to keep in mind Conference Champions that have not been placed.
So we'll go down the list and Notre Dame would be available to play in the Cotton Bowl.テつ Not highlighted on this screen but it's in bold is Boise State.テつ Boise State is in bold because they represent the highest ranked team from Conference USA, the MAC, Sunbelt, AAC and Mountain West.テつ They are guaranteed a position or a spot in one of these six games.テつ They're All‑Conference champions and the highest ranked team from one of those five conferences.
So geographically, Boise State would make sense to go to the Fiesta Bowl.テつ You go down the list and you'll see the as risk with USC as a conference champion needs to be placed.テつ So again, looking at geography, USC being ranked at number five and a conference champion would go to the Fiesta Bowl.テつ We have two slots left open with the Peach Bowl.
So going back to the list, if you go down where we then did right now and who is left.テつ We have Florida State and Baylor.テつ So, again, I know it's a little different to look at it this way, but we usually will fill it in as we go, but for time's sake we wanted to put these teams in and we did this exercise a couple days ago so we wanted to provide this information.テつ Let's look at one more year for an example.
So, again, we've plugged in arbitrary teams here on the left as the final rankings.テつ Now we're looking at 2016.テつ You'll notice now that the Rose and Sugar Bowl, contract bowls have agreements with the specific conferences and have now shifted out of the rotation of the semifinal game.テつ So we'll start with the semifinals because, again, that is the first priority of our selection committee.テつ Look over at the left with the final rankings of 1 through 4.テつ We have LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State, and Stanford.
So LSU, as the number one ranked team will go to the right and look geographically speaking of what is going to make most sense for their fans, and the Cotton Bowl as the semifinal host would likely be the slot that the selection committee would put to LSU.テつ Their opponent would be Stanford as a No. 4 ranked team, and then in the second semifinal you'd have Alabama and Oklahoma State.
The committee's next charge as we showed in the previous year's example would be to go fill these contract bowls.テつ So we'll go to the Rose Bowl first.テつ The Big Ten Conference champion you'll see is No. 10 Wisconsin, so we'll slot them into the Rose Bowl.テつ Then Oregon in this exercise sitting at No. 5 would then go to the Rose Bowl game.テつ So we have Oregon versus Wisconsin which maintains the traditional match‑up of the Rose Bowl agreement.
Our next duty as the Selection Committee will go to the Sugar Bowl and place teams there.テつ So the Sugar Bowl has lost LSU to the No. 1 spot, so they'll likely select then a second replacement team from the SEC.テつ If you go down the list, we have Arkansas at No. 6.テつ So the Selection Committee would likely place Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.テつ Then we have to find the Big 12 conference champion who you will notice is in the Orange Bowl.テつ So we'll find the next highest ranked Big 12 team which is Kansas State.
We'll then move up to the Fiesta and Peach.テつ So we have four open positions here now to fill, and we'll go back to the list and look at what teams are available after we've slotted all of the Conference Champions.テつ We have Boise State sitting there again.テつ This is just random that they happen to be the conference champion again, but this is going to be part of the Selection Committee deliberation.
One of the things that they'll look at for non‑semifinal games is to make sure we're not sending teams to the same destination in one more than one year.テつ Hypothetically speaking, in our last example, Boise State went to the Fiesta Bowl, so the Selection Committee would not likely place them in again in the Fiesta Bowl and send them to the Peach Bowl, which is why you see Boise State slotted into the Peach Bowl.
Their opponent, again, if you look down the list will go ‑‑ what teams are available?テつ Do we want to send Arizona to the Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl?テつ Committee is not likely going to be sending Arizona to Atlanta, so we continue down the list to see who is next and we find Virginia Tech.テつ So the committee would likely slot Virginia Tech into the Peach Bowl and leave Arizona at No. 9 and Baylor at No. 12 to fill those last two remaining spots.
So the bottom line going through this exercise is hypothetical at this point.テつ Once the committee is in this position, they'll have weeks of data, analysis, stats and preparing them to make these decisions.テつ But it will be a comprehensive discussion.テつ They'll have a lot of information available to them, videos throughout the year, and this will be, again, a look into the process that will start taking place this October.
We have one more meeting scheduled with our Selection Committee before October, which will be this August in Colorado Springs, and we will actually be going through very similar mock selections with the committee at that time, an important process to the tough job they have assigned ahead of them.
Again, thank you for your time.テつ I'll be off to the side here if anybody has any additional questions.テつ Please feel free to reach out to us anytime during the year, and come visit us in Dallas.テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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