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The Big Ten Revenue Overtakes the SEC as the Most in 2023

The 2023 Big Ten revenue reports are in. For the fifth time in six years, the Big Ten brought in more than the SEC, rest of the nation.
big ten revenue

Money talks. As Garrett Searight of Saturday Glory often puts it, “College football is a business masquerading as a sport.” As the dust has finally settled on the 2023 fiscal year, the Big Ten reportedly made more in revenue than any other conference in the sport. In total, the Big Ten revenue eclipsed $880 million last year.

Big Ten Revenue Surpasses SEC in 2023, Fifth Time in Six Years

According to a report by Sportico generated from each conference’s tax returns, the Big Ten paid out around $60 million to each of its 14 schools. Rutgers and Maryland received a bit less than others, but overall, around $840 million was distributed to all of the conference’s schools.

Interestingly, this was revenue generated from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023. Michigan’s undefeated season and College Football Playoff National Championship was not factored in. That will come in the likely record-breaking FY 2024.

Former commissioner Jim Delaney was paid $5.8 million, mostly through incentives, deferred pay, and retirement. About $3.7 million went toward Kevin Warren, the former conference commissioner and current CEO of the Chicago Bears. Warren was also paid an undisclosed amount for helping oversee the uber-lucrative media deal that the conference will begin in 2024.

Expansion Incoming

Like the SEC adding Texas and Oklahoma, the Big Ten will be adding a West Coast quartet that will bring in their own haul. USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington each boast gaudy revenue numbers and will benefit the Big Ten revenue streams moving forward.

Also according to Sportico, the quartet of newcomers reported an estimated combined total of $595,277,134 in revenue in the same time frame. That breaks down:

  • USC: $187,650,353 (estimated; USC is a private institution, so this information is not nearly as readily available)
  • Washington: $151,599,477
  • Oregon: $150,605,799
  • UCLA: $105,421,505

In terms of how they stack up in terms of the other conference schools, USC would be sixth, Washington ninth, Oregon 10th, and UCLA 17th. Naturally, revenue isn’t the same as profit. UCLA, for example, has been running with a deficit, as most athletic programs do. However, these numbers should increase in the coming years as these schools begin to play in a conference that isn’t actively dying as the Pac-12 was.

More Incoming

Perhaps the most mind-blowing part of the Big Ten revenue announcement is that these numbers don’t include the massive media deal recently struck.

Back in August of 2022, the conference announced a $7 billion media deal with Fox, CBS, and NBC. This deal ended up killing the SEC on CBS which college football fans have come to expect. The SEC itself signed a $3 billion deal with ESPN and ABC to begin this year.

When it comes to football, Fox and FS1 will broadcast 30-32 Big Ten games starting this year. The Big Ten Network, which Fox has a controlling stake in, is slated to host 39-41 games per year. 14-15 games per year will be televised on CBS in their exclusive 3:30 P.M. timeslot. Additionally, the Big Ten will have a Black Friday afternoon game on the network yearly. Finally, NBC will host 14-16 games per year on primetime which includes Black Friday night and Labor Day. Additionally, there will be about half of a dozen games exclusively on NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock.

All three networks have the rights to the Big Ten Championship and will alternate coverage.

 

big ten revenue
Photo courtesy: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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