Comparing TV deals for SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12
Last week, the ACC and ESPN announced plans to launch the ACC Network, joining the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences as NCAA leagues with network deals.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but ESPN and the ACC will be hoping to emulate the instant success of the SEC Network, or at least reach the longterm clout of the Big Ten Network.
For perspective, let’s have a look at the existing network deals:
The league’s fiscal year ends in late August, so the August 2015 numbers are the most recent ones available.
In that report, the league reported $527.4 million in total revenue, which was up 60 percent from the 2014 reporting. Almost $33 million was distributed to each school, and that figure narrowly edged the Big Ten for the highest revenue split nationally.
The reason for the leap was the SEC Network, which came online in August 2014. It is widely hailed as the most successful launch in TV history, and is already valued at $4.77 billion.
In the 2015 report, only nine months worth of revenue from the network were included.
So, when the 2016 report is released (likely in January, at tax time), the league’s revenue figures to climb even higher.
How fast is the league’s revenue growing. In the 2009 report, the total revenue was just short of $150 million.
BIG TEN NETWORK
The Big Ten’s fiscal year ended in June, and while we wait for the new numbers, the 2015 year is the most recent available.
In that report, the league claimed $448.8 million in revenue. It distributed $32.4 million to most of its members. Newcomers Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers received a smaller share.
The Big Ten Network, the first of its kind, launched in 2007 and is co-owned by the league and FOX. It reaches 90 million homes nationwide, but its value ($1.59 billion) pales in comparison with the SEC Network.
Instead of partnering with a broadcaster, as the SEC and Big Ten chose to do, the Pac-12 is the sole owner of its network. As a result, the Pac-12 Network, which launched in August 2012, hasn’t had the same success making deals with providers as its two contemporaries.
It’s amazing what having ESPN or FOX at the bargaining table can do, as the reach of the SEC and Big Ten Networks dwarf the Pac-12’s in terms of carriage agreements. The inability to strike deals with providers like DirecTV and Charter have limited the revenue of the network.
The league reported revenue of $439 million in its last fiscal year, with a disbursement of just over $25 million to each member. FOX reports, however, that only $1 million of the money sent to each school was generated by the network.
The ACC has long sought its own network, and after watching the SEC Network explode out of the gate, decided to partner with ESPN in its new venture.
ESPN president John Skipper, however, is trying to play down the comparison.
“We want to be great partners and continue to be great partners with the SEC,” he said at the ACC Network announcement. “I don’t want to speak of this at all as, ‘We’re gonna take something we did somewhere and transform it.’ This will be a unique creation.”
While the SEC Network’s driving force is clearly football, the ACC Network figures to appeal as much if not more to basketball fans. With that in mind, the ACC is planning on playing a 20-game conference schedule when the channel launches in 2019.
It’s a daunting schedule in what many consider to be the deepest basketball league in the country, but it’s one that will make for good viewing on a new ACC Network.