Last fall, we quoted an industry source with in-depth knowledge of media rights contracts who predicted SEC teams would receive between $30 and $35 million dollars once the league renegotiated its new deals with CBS and ESPN, launched its own network, kicked off the new Sugar (Champions) Bowl, and began collecting revenue from college football’s new playoffs. We wrote the same thing again last month when Mike Slive spoke briefly of the SEC’s television plans.
Now, a USA Today Sports analysis shows that SEC schools are indeed in line to earn about — wait for it — $34 million per season beginning in 2014-15. That would represent a $10-$14 million jump, which would be at least a 50% increase for the league’s schools.
The SEC is still in negotiations with CBS and ESPN. Also, with more bowls expected to go the way of the Sugar Bowl — which will be co-owned by the SEC and Big XII — there’s a chance Mike Slive and company could increase their even revenue further, depending on how the league’s new bowl deals are cut in 2014.
The coming boost in cash is expected to propel the SEC back to the top of the revenue chart for conferences… at least for a little while. According to Forbes Magazine today, the SEC ranked fourth this year in terms of revenue behind the Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the ACC. But it’s important to remember that the SEC raised the bar with its own television negotiations in Summer 2008. Since then — as is usually the case — other leagues have used the SEC’s deal to negotiate healthier bumps for themselves. The SEC will now do the same as television revenues continue to skyrocket with no end in sight.
Bottom line: SEC schools are going to be making at least as much and probably more than the majority of conferences. As a result, SEC schools will continue to have more money to spend on coaches, facilities, recruiting budgets, and athletes. When our next prediction comes to fruition and a super-division of 65-80 schools create their own super-division at the top of the FBS in order to provide full-cost-of-tuition scholarships, expect 14 to 18 of those big money school to be SEC members.