Second thought: No wonder the SEC is starting its own network.
According to USA Today, the Big Ten’s latest tax return shows that the league pulled in $315 million during its last fiscal year (which ended in June of 2012). That’s $50 million more than the league made the previous year and $42 million more than the SEC reported during its last fiscal year (which ended in August of 2012).
Additionally, USA Today writes: “The return also showed the league-owned Big Ten Network has progressed from start-up to overall profitability in less than five years.”
The Big Ten co-owns its television channel with FOX. ESPN owns the new SEC Network and is expected to pay the SEC a licensing fee for content and 50% of profits. The SEC should see money sooner from its network than the Big Ten did from its channel.
Now let’s tinker with the data USA Today is reporting. For the fiscal year ending in Summer 2012, both the Big Ten and SEC were 12-school leagues. With the SEC office taking an equal share — and we assume the Big Ten office does the same — that carves total revenue into 13 units. Doing a little ballpark math… if the Big Ten made about $42 million more than the SEC during both leagues’ last fiscal year and that revenue was divided into 13 units, the average Big Ten school would have made about $3.2 million more than the average SEC school in 2011-12.
As the Big Ten Network continues to grow, the Big Ten will continue to bring in more loot. And with the conference expanding to 14 schools eventually stretching all the way to New York City and Washington, DC, it will most certainly continue to grow.
Down South, the new SEC Network could become a billion-dollar-a-year revenue stream for Mike Slive’s league at some point down the road (as is the case with the Big Ten Network and Jim Delany’s league).
So as we’ve written on a number of occasions, new contracts and deals will continue to be cut by networks and conferences over the coming decades, but you can expect the Big Ten and SEC to always remain one-two in terms of revenue among the major conferences. Who’s on top will depend greatly on whose network grows the largest.
And if you’re wondering how a league with average football in recent years is out-earning the king of the football world in a marketplace driven by football… click here.