Big Ten is Gonna Get Paid

May 6, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Here is a good link to help you get your mind around the current lay of the land as it relates to TV rights deals for college sports.

Here are the annual totals per conference for their current Tier 1 and Tier 2 broadcasting rights:

1. Pac 12 $250 million
2. Big Ten $212 million
3. SEC $205 million
4. ACC $155 million
5. Big 12 $150 million
6. Big (L)East $42.33 million

Here are some noteworthy dates: The Big East is in the stages of renegotiating their deal and that should hit inside the next 12 months. The item linked said they will triple their first tier rights. The Big 12’s first tier rights deal will expire in 2016, and their take is going to go up on the whole.

The same can be said for the Big Ten, whose 1st tier rights will expire with ESPN/ABC in 2016. The SEC and Pac 12’s first tier rights deals expire in 2024 and the SEC’s expire in 2023, so they are locked in for a bit as far as huge money negotiations.

While the Big 12 is going to get paid soon, with a big boost to their deal which will likely push them north of $200 million per year if not well north, the Big Ten is gonna get PAID.

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There are more TV sets in the Big Ten footprint than in any other conference…at least for now. There is no denying the Sunbelt Lure, but the Big Ten is still going to swing a big time stick because even if people do continue to move south, it’s not like they are trading in the gear of their favorite team for an LSU hat. If they do, they weren’t really fans to begin with.

When you factor in the Big Ten’s Tier 2 rights deal is worth $2.8 billion dollars and the Pac 12 just got $3 billion and the Big Ten’s current Tier 1 rights deal was for $1 billion…Yo! Big Ten’s gonna get PAID. You’d have to expect the league to negotiate a deal for at least $3 billion, which is what the Pac 12 got. I would guess it would be more than that. Also keep in mind that the Big Ten’s Tier 1 deal was negotiated BEFORE the SEC’s Tier 1 deal and the Big Ten still got more money for those rights than the SEC did.

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What we have seen in recent months is the value of having the last pieces of land available for purchase, and how that drives up the price. The Big 12 and Pac 12 deals were likely inflated due to this, but it doesn’t matter to the folks in those leagues.

Along those lines, it’s going to be more than a decade before the SEC and Pac 12’s Tier 1 rights come up for bid again…so the Big Ten is going to set the market for Tier 1 rights. Jim Delany is a wise and shrewd businessman. Negotiating that deal might wind up being his swan song…it would be a good idea to negotiate that next deal to expire the same year as the SEC deal, or have ‘out’ clauses in it in the instance that another conferences Tier 1 rights exceed that of what the Big Ten received.

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After all, when you are the Big Dog, you don’t have to eat table scraps.

When the smoke clears on that next round of deals, each Big Ten school will likely be earning at least $30 million per year in combined Tier 1 and Tier 2 television rights revenue.

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