Thanks to ESPN, Big 10 broadcasting revenue is on the verge of becoming ridiculously lucrative.
Big 10 Broadcasting Revenue set to Triple
Sports Business Journal reported Monday morning that ESPN agreed to keep its half of the conference’s broadcasting rights. Fox owns the other half. It only gets sweeter for the Big 10, however.
CBS has a basketball-only contract with the Big 10, throwing in another $10 million annually. Combining the total value of all three contracts presents a figure of $2.64 billion over six years. That’s an annual average of $440 million. As the constant call of the late-night product-pumping television commercials goes; but wait, there’s more!
None of these contracts include rights to the Big 10 Network‘s programming. The conference will retain those, and thus keep all the advertising revenue.
The obvious take-away is that the Big 10 is about to have a lot more money. What does that mean for athletes and fans, though?
When conference revenue grows, so does the annual distribution given to each member institution. There aren’t many regulations restricting how that money can be spent. The schools are about to get a boost of new revenue they can use in a myriad of ways.
The general funds at Big 10 schools will get a significant chunk. That fund can go toward virtually any purpose, as the name insinuates.
The first likely possibility after the general fund is facility upgrades, like Northwestern‘s complete renovation of Welsh-Ryan Arena. It’s in the best interest of these schools to use the money to improve facilities for a few reasons.
Top-notch facilities attract top-notch coaches and recruits. They also provide a stellar fan experience. Doing both of those things will help keep the Big 10 relevant on a national level. That in turn will keep the conference in a position to demand premium prices for broadcasting rights.
Another option for this revenue is satellite camps, like those Jim Harbaugh‘s Michigan football program has recently became famous for. As this trend grows, competing will make these camps a must for successful programs.
The final thing to remember in consideration of this deal is that in six years, the Big 10 will be in a position to negotiate broadcasting rights contracts again. If the price grows by the same margin, we could see a total value topping $7 billion.
The possibilities with that kind of revenue seem endless.