Blog Entry

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Posted on: February 17, 2012 1:40 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 2:23 pm

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The SEC is richer than it's ever been--but is it rich enough?

The Birmingham News reported Friday that according to the league's tax documents, the SEC distributed a conference record $19.5 million to each of its member schools for the 2010-2011 season, an increase of $1.2 million on both its 2009-2010 payout and its initial 2011 estimates. Thanks to the new(ish) CBS Sports/ESPN television contracts fueling the increase, those revenues also represent a whopping $6.5 million per-school bump -- a 50 percent increase -- over the league's distribution numbers just two seasons before. 

That's the great news for the SEC. The less-great news is that those figures still leave them a bit behind the Joneses Mike Slive is looking to keep up with in the Big Ten and Pac-12; the Sports Business Journal recently estimated those conferences' per-member distributions* at "close to $21 million," with the growth from their respective networks expected to push those numbers even higher in the coming years. The SEC, meanwhile, is locked into its current contracts until 2023, with TV revenue only increasing 3 percent in the second year of the league's new deals. 

That those revenues will be divided 14 ways rather than 12 following the additions of Texas A&M and Missouri would be another headache for Slive if those additions didn't also open up the possibility for a renegotiation of those television contracts. The ACC's ongoing expansion-triggered renegotiation is expected to net the league an additional $1 to $2 million per team per year--hardly chump change, but likely not the sort of numbers that would keep the SEC even with the Big Ten and Pac-12 come 2017 or '18, much less the tail end of its current contract (which could also be extended as part of the renegotiation).

Make no mistake: the SEC is currently swimming in money, will continue to swim in money, and has the kind of advantages that have nothing to do with money -- overwhelming fan interest, proximity to recruiting hotbeds, a firmly cemented reputation as college football's gold standard -- that will keep it at or near the top of the college football heap. Slive is hardly in crisis management mode. But "or near" may not be good enough for the SEC after its recent run, and a potential $4 or $5 million gap per-school between the league and its Midwestern/West Coast "rivals" -- sustained over a period of years -- could (or would?) eventually even (or even tilt) the playing field. 

Times are no doubt very, very good for the SEC both on the field and in its checkbook. But the upcoming negotiations between the league and its TV partners will likely play a huge role in whether future times are as very good or not.

*The SBJ also estimated the SEC's distribution figure at only $17 million, which could be either a good sign or a bad one from an SEC perspective; if that figure was simply wrong while the Big Ten's and Pac-12's was accurate, then the gap isn't as wide as believed. But if the SBJ was simply being conservative across the board and the B1G's/P12's numbers are also underestimated, it would mean those leagues' networks and TV deals have established a substantial financial edge even before they really get rolling.    

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Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: February 17, 2012 9:41 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members


The Big-12 is on the course to disaster because there is one school that refuse to share and be a good conference member of the big-12.

I was a fan of Nebraska when Tom Osborne was the head coach, Each thanksgiving I would faithfully watch the game between Nebraska and Oklahoma with coach Wilkerson.

I am glad that Nebraska had a forward thinking administration and had the foresight to see that things would not get better with there continuing their affiliation with the Big-12, as things would only get worse.

You also missed the sentence that indicated the sec contract was locked in until 2017, therefore there will not be an increase in the payout for member schools.

I don’t think the smart guys at the TV networks would want or need to renegotiate the current contract with the sec. Why would they, what would they have to gain?

In the PAC-12 there would be an increase as all the TV revenue components are not in place as of yet.    

What make you think the sec play superior football than the Big-10 and the PAC-12? We have been very successful playing the sec when they decide to get out of their comfort zone and play someone that has a chance of  beating them. The sec members prefer to play Southern Georgia, Furman, The Citadel and Charleston Southern.

SC has managed to play two of the elite programs of the sec on a home and away. Each time we won against Arkansas and Auburn both at their house and at our house.  

I think the PAC-12 and Big-10 play and excellent brand of football that would rank right there with the sec if not surpass it. Don’t buy into the hype, get off the sec and ESPN band wagon.

We did the same to Nebraska, beat the cornhuskers at home and at our house. Then we beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the National Championship 50-19. Oh yeah they took that title away from us. Do you think Oklahoma want it?


Since: Oct 5, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 8:05 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

This shows one of the BIG problems with the current state of college sports, the fact that Vandy and the Mississippi schools get EXACTLY the same FOOTBALL money as Alabama and LSU while Boise, etc who play better football than half the SEC are scrambling to find half that pay all the way across the country.   When schools like Minnesota, Indiana, Duke, Vandy, IA State get big money because they happen to associate themselves with Ohio State, Oklahoma etc  while HALF of the schools in div 1A are scraping to get by, while playing BETTER football than MOST of the schools in the big conferences.  Minnesota is on par with a lower tier MAC team, but is making big bucks from the BSC, what a crock.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 7:31 pm

It's OK...

The SEC still leads college football in "hostesses" and "golden handshakes."  That will more than make up for any shortcomings in the funding department.  As long as they continue to employ "southern hospitality" to skim the best of recruits off of the top of every class, a million or two per team is inconsequential.  

If the media who vote in the BCS polls continue to kiss the SEC's collective bleep to promote joke regional, intra-divisional games as the "BCS Championship," the SEC has absolutely nothing to worry about.

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 7:09 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

I think it is a non-issue when the SEC has as many championships as it does. The winning streak will just have to begin again next year.

Since: Jul 3, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:49 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Enjoy life the Mountain West after the Big Bevo - ER I mean the Big 12 - finally dies in a 3 or 4 years.

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 6:00 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

So if I could have 100 million dollars.. or 99 million dollars and a National Championship Trophy in football.. Hmmm.. wait, I'm already done thinking. You guys take the liquid crystal display victory, we'll take the crystal football trophy one. I'm happy that you're happy. Cool

Since: Oct 4, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:38 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

The SEC may be the gold standard in football, but that doesn't mean people want to watch them.  The BCS title game featuring LSU and Alabama received the 3rd lowest TV ratings for a title game in the BCS era.

So the talent may be in the deep south, but the TV ratings aren't, so the SEC will remain behind the Pac 12 and Big 10 financially.

Since: Jul 1, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:35 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

The owners have been rewarded by the slaves quite nicely!

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:34 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

"The SEC, meanwhile,  until 2023, with TV revenue only increasing 3 percent in the second year of the league's new deals."

Long terms contracts are just STUPID.  A 3 % increase will not keep up with the cost of inflation.

Long terms contracts are done so the current officials can use the large $$ as if they brought that money to the table today.  So they can get more bonuses and pay raises - TODAY.  Instead they should be fired.

With the ever growing competition to air sports programming, its better to have the media outlets compete for your games every 3-5 years (at most).  At one time, ESPN did most of the sports programming.  But these days, sports is the growth segment of broadcast tv. Even the peacock finally woke up and is starting a sports network.  Signed a contract good thru 2023?  What moron is running the show?  The same morons who say "no college football playoff"?

Since: May 18, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 5:00 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

They're doling out $19.5 million to each school. But that's for the football players, right?

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