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The Future of Play-by-Play Coverage: The proposed contract with AppleTV and the Pac-12 opened some eyes this past week. Why? It could change the way contracts are made moving forward. The deal on the table has dollars and incentive-based dollars in play. All deals prior have been based on past history and guesstimated values. What you produce is what you get in this type of package. There are no guarantees that the lucrative deals of the past correlate to the future - especially with a conference like the Pac-12. There is a lot of expense in producing these broadcasts. Ad costs and potential profits are based on the audience. It's been a good business model for sports productions. Both sides have thrived with these partnerships. There is an audience that loves its sports is willing to pay a price whether it be with a ticket for the event or by means of bringing that game in their homes. Most watch the old-fashioned way - TV. Most of those pay for a service to get that video. Some pay for a subscription-based service to get "select" games. Those select games are becoming less selective. How much will the consumer pay to see their team?  Will they continue to pay the exorbitant amount for skyrocketing tickets?  Will they pay more and more as those subscription prices continue to rise? Where do we draw the line? Where is the balance for the ones making the deals? How far might they go? Will the powers-that-be do all within their power to make sure these games will get to the masses? The Pac-12 may not survive, and it may not be because of the teams who are leaving. These deals coming to fruition are very much reliant on the strength within and backing of the leagues. The NFL has no need to worry. They have the biggest audiences. I don’t expect the games to move to some subscription service when the networks are getting millions per ad. The more that watch, the more money they make. It's a system that ain’t broke and doesn’t need fixing. On the college level, some conferences are in better shape than others. The SEC and Big Ten have more negotiating power. After that, there's a big dropoff. The changes that are sure to come in the future with sports contracts may arrive much sooner than you think. And, only the strong will thrive and in some cases - survive.