Report: SEC comes in 2nd to Big Ten in 2019 conference revenue
The SEC claims conference supremacy on the football field, but when it comes to revenue, another conference recently came out on top.
USA TODAY’s Stever Berkowitz recently looked at the self-reported revenue numbers for the 2019 fiscal year from the Power 5 conferences. He found that that the Big Ten led the way with $780 million in revenue and payouts of $55.6 million to 12 members with newer members Maryland and Rutgers receiving smaller payouts. The SEC came in second with roughly $721 million in revenue and $45.3 payouts to all schools except Ole Miss (2018 postseason ban) followed by the Pac-12 ($530.4 million in revenue; payouts of $32.2 million), the ACC ($455.4 million in revenue; $27.6-$34 million in payouts to member schools; $6.8 million to Notre Dame) and the Big 12 ($439 million in revenue; payouts ranging from $38.2-$42 million).
A few things are important to note when looking at the above numbers. The revenue numbers for the 4 non-SEC power conferences are from recently filed federal tax returns. The fiscal year for those 4 conferences ends June 30 while the SEC’s fiscal year ends on Aug. 31. The SEC announced the $720.6 million in revenue for the fiscal 2019 year back in January 2020.
Berkowitz notes that the Power 5 conferences have done well over the last five years:
The aggregate revenue total for the five conferences represents an increase of just more than 6% compared to the total for fiscal 2018. Adjusting for inflation, the Power Five’s combined annual revenues have increased by more than $1.2 billion over the past five years.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the 2020 calendar year in college sports, Berkowitz notes that it probably won’t be reflected in Power 5 revenues until the 2021 fiscal year. As most fans are aware, a lot depends on what happens with the college football season:
Television contracts provide the conferences with most of their revenue, and the Power Five’s TV deals get about 80% of their value from football, according to AJ Maestas, the CEO of Navigate, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in college and professional sports rights valuations.
Any games not played likely would result in lost revenue, Maestas said, with the per-game amount depending on which network has the rights to it. Any missed football game could cost a conference from $2 million to $5 million, Maestas said.