SEC Network to funnel more money into SEC football, fuel higher coaching salaries

NCAA Football: SEC Media Days

More data is being released regarding the upcoming SEC Network (going live in August). Cable distributors will have to pay $1.30 (per month) to ESPN for each subscriber of the SEC Network within SEC states. Outside of SEC states, the fee drops to $.25 per subscriber. Does this mean more states will be added to the SEC footprint in the future? Something to think about…

As Sports Business Daily has reported, this is higher than other networks like the Big Ten Network which earns $1 per subscriber in its 11-state footprint.

How many people will subscribe? Well, it’s hard to say at this point, as it will take learning which carriers will distribute the Network, but it is rumored that Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse might be close to signing deals to carry the network.

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ESPN’s CEO John Skipper has said in the past that he expects distribution on par with ESPNU which is 75 million homes. If that’s the case, then the SEC is going to make a lot of money. It’ll take time, but if you figure that SEC fans can watch 3 more games each week during the fall for a few more bucks each month, they’ll do it. And it means no having to pay for pay-per-view games which are going away.

What this is means is that the SEC member schools are going to get a huge influx in more cash in the years ahead. Revenue from the SEC Network could easily reach the half billion dollar range and after ESPN gets its cut, it could mean another $15-$20 million per school each year.

College football is becoming bigger and bigger business. And, the money is becoming more concentrated into the hands of the big conferences. It’s no surprise that coaches are making more and more money. Saban at $7 million per year and Sumlin at $5 million per year no longer looks ridiculous.

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Will we see an exodus of coaching talent from non-BCS schools into the big programs that have war chests of cash to throw at assistants? Million dollar coordinators are going to be normal in the SEC. It’s a new era of college football.



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