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Big Ten Per-School Payout Tops $25 Million

money_treeAccording to figures obtained from the University of Illinois by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Big Ten teams will see their annual revenue checks from the conference office cross the $25 million barrier this year.  That makes the Big Ten, once again, the biggest of the big money leagues in college athletics.

The Post-Dispatch reports that Illinois will make $25.7 million this year with $7.6 million of that coming from the league’s Big Ten Network (which is co-owned by FOX).  Last year, Illinois received $24.6 million with $8.1 million coming from the channel.

According to the math done by The Post-Dispatch, if the $7.6 million projection is correct, schools in the league “will have collected $42.5 million from the venture” over its six-year lifespan.

As we first wrote last fall — and as USA Today then followed up with January — SEC schools are expected to make between $30-35 million once its new network, the new playoff system, and the league’s new bowl lineup kick off over the next couple of years.  Currently, SEC schools make in the $20-21 million range.

Like the SEC, Big Ten schools will also see a boost from the new playoff and from their own league’s new bowl deals.  The Big Ten Network will also benefit from recent expansion moves stretching the league into Maryland, the District of Columbia, New York and New Jersey.

The bottom line on bottom lines is this — In 10 years, the SEC and Big Ten will still be neck-and-neck with each other and leading the way in revenue… well ahead of any other conferences.



John, you've spelled out where you think the SEC money is going to be and why you think that.  Have you ever done the same for the Big Ten so we can see the two side-by-side?  Obviously, we're looking at a lot of uncertainty in numbers, but it would be interesting to see how you see the two doing head-to-head.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator


Only to say this numerous times -- as I did above:

"In 10 years, the SEC and Big Ten will still be neck-and-neck with each other and leading the way in revenue… well ahead of any other conferences."

People continue to think that the numbers are fixed and that future growth can be easily figured out via mathematics.  But that's not how it is.  Bowl contracts change each year, the number of teams making the new playoff will change each year, television contracts will change -- as alluded to above, the Big Ten will soon get another bounce with its expansion.  All those things are variables.

Think ballpark figures.  Anyone laying out a "definitive" comparison is blowing smoke.  Unless the Big Ten and SEC open their books completely -- and they don't -- and their future contracts, expenditures, and revenue lines are locked in -- they're not -- there's no way to say A will make X$ and B will make Y$.  It's much easier to say that the SEC figures to make between $30-35 million by 2015 or 2016 (and growing from there) and that the Big Ten will likely wind up in the same ballpark.

I know folks want everything in easy-to-read, Twitter form, but these financials change from year to year.  Example: The Big Ten Network is growing, but that league's schools figure to actually take in a tad less from the channel this year than they did last year.  There are blips and contractual payouts that no one knows about... outside of the leagues.

Thanks for reading,


@John at MrSEC Gotcha.  I've read your thoughts on SEC's future earnings but I couldn't remember if you had said anything about the two conferences compared to each other..  other than the idea that they would be in the same ballpark.  


Big Ten football is just slightly better than ACC and grossly weaker than SEC and Big 12.  How could they keep getting most of money?  I am confused.


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