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Big Ten/SEC Money Comparisons Aren’t Exactly Accurate

Over the weekend, CBSSports.com’s Jerry Hinnen wrote that the SEC expanded because it’s falling behind the Big Ten in terms of money thanks to Jim Delany’s league’s television network.  Today, Matt Hayes of The Sporting News tweeted the most the recent average-per-school payouts from each conference:

 

 

 

 

Well, those points aren’t exactly 100% accurate.

Yes, the SEC expanded for the purposes of making more money.  That’s why all the big leagues are expanding these days.  And, yes, the SEC is heading down the road toward starting its own network. The Big Ten — once it partnered with Fox — showed everyone else what kind of cash can be earned by a regional network.  Just as the SEC — with its 2008 contracts with ESPN and CBS — showed how much money can be made and how much national exposure a conference can be gain from partnering with the networks.

Where the breakdown comes is in the $23.6 million to $20.1 million comparisons.  The Big Ten schools had to turn over their Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III broadcast rights to the Big Ten office in order to start their own TV channel (and cut their own league-wide deals with ABC/ESPN).  So that $23.6 million per school is pretty close to accurate when it comes to the average revenue share for each Big Ten school.

But in the SEC, schools were allowed to keep their own Tier III media rights and have been able to sell those off on their own.  So all the league’s schools make more than the $20.1 million average share reported.  Florida and Alabama and LSU earn more than Ole Miss and Mississippi State and Vanderbilt, obviously, but they all eclipse the $20.1 mark.

That’s not to say that SEC schools aren’t neck-and-neck, a little behind, or even falling further behind the Big Ten cash-wise.  Again, the league is looking at creating it’s own network with ESPN for a reason.  The league added schools in highly-populated states for a reason.

It’s just not completely accurate to post “Big Ten $23.6, SEC $20.1″ on some make-believe scoreboard.  These aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons.

 


5 comments
Dash1Bravo
Dash1Bravo

MrSec. Good stuff. Been hearing numbers fly all over the place, bashing and boasting about which school or conference is full of financial dolts or genius's respectively. Since money is a big deal, keep the stuff on financials coming. I know there are 27 to 3,500 different ways to interpret the data, so thanks for keeping it simple for us graduates of Southern Universities. 8 X 10 color glossies would be nice, but a Powerpoint presentation will do in a pinch.... just kidding..... good effort.

sojourner
sojourner

so, when the hell does the sec get off its collective butts and get on with the network?

 

all i know is that i live in decidedly non-big1g country, but when i run through the channels, i have the opportunity to see a lot more than i care to of michigan, northwestern, wisconsin,...  it'd be nice to have the same option with sec teams.  thirty years ago the big ten was sitting fat, dumb, and happy with its EXCLUSIVE ROSE BOWL arrangement.  only its champion deigned to go bowling and then, only to pasadena.  it left all the other bowls to the peons of the world.  what they ignored and didn't want to admit was that their conference, other than osu and michigan, was withering, and the bama's, texas's, and florida's were getting a lot of air time in places like new york and california, places where a lot of people couldn't identify michigan state's uniform, but could tennessee's.  they spent twenty years catching up and now slive and company seem to be repeating their old mistake.     

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

prophetstruth...

 

What did I write that is inaccurate?

 

People are comparing the Big Ten's media share with that of the SEC.  We aren't concerned about the ACC or Pac-12 or anyone else because those aren't the ones drawing comparisons today and this is a site covering the SEC anyway.

 

We pointed out that the television BROADCAST rights portions of these deals -- and that's where most of the money comes from -- aren't equal.  The Big Ten's broadcast rights -- Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III -- are included in the average payout number that's being kicked around.  It's not perfect, but it's closer to being accurate than the SEC's number.  That's because only the SEC's Tier I and Tier II broadcast rights are being used in the number that's being used today.  SEC schools' Tier III (local) television rights are separate.

 

Even so, we said that the Big Ten schools may well be pulling away from the SEC schools overall -- we don't have ALL the data and schools cook their books anyway.  Also, we're talking about league share, not overall athletic budgets. Because of that, we did not include things such as ticket sales, arena naming rights, sponsorship deals, etc, in our post.  Neither did the people comparing $23.6M to $20.1M.  Those aren't included in anyone's league shares.  Individual schools handle those types of things.  And that's what you're talking about when you mention Iowa's deal with Learfield, for example.  Ohio State's deal -- which I'm familiar with since I used to work for a company associated with RadiOhio -- includes coaches shows and radio rights.  Again, that's not television broadcast rights and that's not part of anyone's league share, to my knowledge.

 

Now, the Florida deal you mentioned, that does include Tier III local television broadcast rights and it speaks directly to the point of our initial post. We simply tried to show that these numbers aren't apples-to-apples comparisons between the Big Ten and the SEC.  You've mistakenly tried to add zucchinis to the mix as well.  That's understandable as this stuff is confusing and no one knows the actual money brought in by these schools because -- as noted above -- they all keep their books differently.  The closest guess we get is from public schools' overall budget numbers that are turned over to the government every year.

 

But again, our post wasn't about parking revenue, ticket sales, sponsorship deals, naming rights, radio rights and total budgets... we were talking about the payouts per school from the Big Ten and the SEC to their schools.  That's what people are comparing today.  Those numbers are based mainly on bowl/tourney revenue and television dollars. We want people to see these things aren't apple to apples.  No need to start throwing carrots and artichokes into the comparison to confuse things further.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

prophetstruth
prophetstruth

John I think you may be the one who is actually inaccurate. The same thing applies across the board in that it depends on how we are defining “3rd tier” rights and exactly what does it include. Every conference has a different definition – John Swofford of the ACC made that clear in an article I read which I will find and post here. Iowa earns an additional 5.8 million off of multi-media rights through it’s partnership with Learfield Communications. Other schools have similar deals with Learfield or IMG. It seems every institution monetizes other media rights be it coaches shows, sponsorship deals, digital media, 1 football game, etc. Even without any televised football games to offer, Ohio State is still getting $11M/yr for their media rights. Florida is earning $10M/yr for their media rights. The list goes on.

 

http://thegazette.com/2011/09/02/iowas-contract-with-learfield-nets-athletics-department-more-than-5-8-million/

 

http://espn.go.com/blog/bigten/post/_/id/1867/ohio-state-signs-record-media-rights-deal

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2008/07/14/daily4.html?page=all

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  2. [...] Where the breakdown comes is in the $23.6 million to $20.1 million comparisons. The Big Ten schools had to turn over their Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III broadcast rights to the Big Ten office in order to start their own TV channel (and cut their own league-wide deals with ABC/ESPN). So that $23.6 million per school is pretty close to accurate when it comes to the average revenue share for each Big Ten school. But in the SEC, schools were allowed to keep their own Tier III media rights and have been able to sell those off on their own. [More] [...]

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