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.    

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   


Since: Apr 19, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:57 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

SEC is the place to be. Hows that ticket scandal treating you again Benjaminwhiskey and add in TCU your new Big 12 buddy with there problems you might finally work your self out of last place in football if more get kicked off the team.

Since: Feb 24, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:49 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

And no mater how much money they may throw out, nobody watches bad football.  See Rutgers TV ratings.

Since: Apr 14, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:47 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

The PAC12 and B1G Ten make tons money because of all revenues, not just football and basketball.  The PAC12 TV and radio markets are huge, e.g., Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix and San Francisco and likewise with the B1G Ten, e.g., Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit and Philadelphia.   Are there comparable TV markets in the SEC?  For the SEC, there is Atlanta and uh, uh, hmm, well there is no SEC school in Atlanta unless Athens is a suburb, and there is, let's see, Nashville.  Yeah, Nashville.  But the only school there is Vanderbilt and there are too many other overlapping media contracts in central Tennessee.  While the SEC may brag about its championships, money makes the world go around.  Money talks and BS walks. 

Since: Feb 24, 2010
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:46 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Only way to dillute further would've been to add Kansas and K-State.  Each were nearly exiled to the Big Least or Mountain USA/Conference West when Texas and Oklahoma flirted with the PAC 12. 

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:41 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

So, basically, the SEC is diluting itself to add Texas A&M and Missouri. Good job guys!

Since: Apr 23, 2007
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:27 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Why is the Pac 12 so coveted? It has one traditional football power (USC) and flash-in-the-pan Oregon has the NCAA nipping at its heels. Everybody calls Larry Scott a genius and visionary. For what? Adding Utah and Colorado? Not to mention, this "power" conference is likely to send an impressive one team to the NCAA basketball tournament, tying them with the SWAC, Big South, and a host of other garbage leagues.

Since: Jan 25, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 4:22 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

To preface things, I'm a Nebraska fan who still prefers the Big 12 conference over the Big 10.

I don't think the SEC will be trailing the Big 10 or Pac-12 for long in revenue. Currently their brand in football is superior to the Pac-12 and Big-10 (in fact you can make a persuasive argument the Big 12 is superior to the other two). Delany and Scott have had better foresight on marketing their product.

Football is the money machine and currently the SEC is the 800 pound gorilla in football. They'll be able to renegotiate TV contracts because they have a product that will sell. College football is tied with MLB as the number 2 sport in the US. When it gets some semblance of a playoff (even 4 team), revenues will spike again and the SEC will be at the forefront.

And of course I can't help but make a snarky comment about America's most irrelavent team the Fightin' Irish. How's that NBC contract working out for ya?

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:30 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

If the BCS wasn't rigged , the payout would not be that high

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:28 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

All I got from that was the SEC is behind the P10 and B10.

Since: Jan 16, 2012
Posted on: February 17, 2012 3:16 pm

SEC paying out record $19.5 million to members

Glad to see Mizzou take part in the gravy train.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or