2007-08 Conference Financial Report: Big Ten Out Front

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The recent rumors and speculation regarding athletic
conference expansion (primarily the Big Ten looking to expand and possible
fallout from that move) got me to looking at the most recent financial
information regarding the six BCS conferences. The most recent information
available is from the IRS Form 990 filings for the fiscal years ending June 30,
2008. None of the conferences present their significant revenue detail on a
truly comparable basis. So, the ACC model was used as the base model to report
significant revenue amounts. The other conferences’ significant revenues are
aligned according to the detail in their reports.

In addition, there has been a lot of news about the new
contract between the SEC and ESPN which purportedly will substantially increase
the individual payouts to each SEC school by as much as $9 million. So, how does
this potentially impact the ACC and the other BCS conferences? At this point, I
am not sure. The ACC television contract is nearing its renewal date and there
has been speculative talk about an affiliation agreement between the ACC and Pac
10. I suppose such an agreement could possibly result in scheduling of games
between the conferences or other arrangements – possibly having a joint
television venture or network.

As shown in the following table, the Big Ten is the leader in
conference payouts to individual schools, averaging over $18 million per school
in fiscal year 2008. The Big Ten has its own television network, and I am sure
this is a substantial contributor to the larger payout amounts. The Big Ten also
covers the heart of industrial America, which includes a significant contingent
of sports minded audiences. In fiscal year 2008, the ACC was second in total
revenue, followed by the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10 and Big East. After the SEC, there
are large drop offs in the total revenues for the other conferences.

However, after more detailed research and analysis, I have
determined that the primary reason for the large drop offs in revenues for the
Big 12 and Pac 10 is that the NCAA provides some grants directly to those
conferences’ members rather than distributing the grants to