Examining the Important Numbers
The following conferences have released their financial information for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006. An the winner is...the Atlantic Coast conference.
ACC--With the addition of 12 football teams to an already strong basketball program (or is it Duke, Carolina and the others) the ACC pull in a total of $130,245,721 or about $10,850,000. Interestingly the pie is not quite big enough to feed three extra teams, "In 2003-04, the ACC’s last academic year as a nine-team conference, schools received an average of $10,885,869 from the ACC." While one of the goals of expansion was to get a second BCS invitation and the $4,500,000 that goes along with it it is difficult to imagine the ACC growing football revenues dramatically in the near future.
SEC--Surprising the king of college football is not king in the money. At $10,200,000 the Southeast Conference is sitting pretty financially especailly when compared to the $410,000 distributed to each time in 1980. The frightening but fully expected piece of news form the conference was at the very end of the Pensacola News Journal article, "Slive also said the league is exploring the launch of an SEC TV network, similar to what the Big 10 Conference has arranged."
Big 12--Lacking a sugar daddy like CBS or Disney Sports the Big 12 members shared $102,000,000 or about $8,333,000 each. Another case where it is difficult to imagine a way to dramatically grow revenue within the current structure. In the Big 12's first year, 1996-97, the conference generated $54.7 million in revenue, the bulk of which was distributed to its members.
Big East--As the odd duck hybrid-conference the numbers on the Big East show a tremendous gap with the other conferences. The football schools averaged $5,800,000 which is over half of what the ACC checks. While the picture for the Big East in there quest to recover from the ACC raid is not good, perhaps we can see that the dollars have hit rock bottom 18 months after the on field low of Pitt and the Big East being humiliated by Utah in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.
The Big East average has fallen for the last three years. For the July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004, reporting period, when Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College were still members, the average was $6,794,029.
Despite the money gap there are signs the the dollars could be growning with the West Virginia University win in the 2006 Sugar Bowl, three top 15 teams at the end of the 2006 season, a new ESPN football/basketball deal (the terms are never disclosed), several highly rated Thursday night games, improve bowl affiliations and the emergence of Rutgers--read that the New York market the conference has some upside.