So we've seen the Big Ten expansion rumors and even took the time to do a brief recap on several of the possible scenarios and thoughts from all angles. Moving south we've seen Mike Slive and the SEC openly admit they're watching this expansion trend and the league is reportedly reviewing their own options on how to counter should the Big Ten decide to go ham by nabbing three or five more teams.
Yesterday we discussed the ACC's need to shore up their television contract as a way of staving off a possible SEC raiding should the league counter in an aggressive fashion. But, how realistic is the idea of the SEC expanding and is it true that the league will likely counter in an aggressive fashion?
Tony Barnhart already took the time to dispel the "Arkansas to the Big XII" rumors on the strength of the SEC money deal and how much revenue the Fayetteville school would throw away by making the transition to be with their old SWC mates.
The beauty of the Big Ten expansion is the growing media markets and the added revenue that comes with increasing subscribers to the Big Ten network. The more homes that carry the Big Ten network the larger a check the league takes home at the end of the year.
THIS IS NOT THE CASE WITH THE SEC'S CONTRACT
The SEC signed a $3 billion dollar deal with both ESPN ($2.25 billion) and CBS ($875 million) for the next 15 years, starting in 2009. That gives the league approximately $204 million dollars a season to split between the conference's 12 member institutions. It is a national deal that gives the league the most exposure of any conference and pushes their product out front and center.
I don't think they would renegotiate, no matter what happens (I assume you are asking in regards to expansion).
That's right the SEC's deal, although very sweet appears to be very fixed. Multiple factors, most notably the economy and more prudent fiscal responsibility are working against the theory that with expansion the SEC could still print their own money. While the Big Ten Network has limiteless possibilities through expansion into more television markets the SEC is fixed in the amount of cash that their going to bring in.
This information is important when looking at the likelihood that the SEC expands. The odds of the member universities, especially those on the lower end of the financial spectrum (Ole Miss, Mississippi State etc), voting to give up money are slim to none. Schools currently make approximately $17 million each per season over the next 14 years. That is a good base to start out with in their pocket before adding in ticket sales, concessions, apparel, individual ad-deals, donations and the rest of the ingredients that create the college football revenue pie.
However, if the Big Ten adds in three teams to get to 14 many expect to see the SEC counter by bringing on some combination of Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. That means the league moves to 14 teams and through the use of basic math we see the $204 million drop by roughly $2.4 million per school per year.
$204 million / 14 = $14.6 million
Still over twice what the ACC, Big XII, Pac 10 and Big East average per member institution but not the jaw dropping $10 million plus gap that existed.
In keeping with this trend assume the Big Integer decides Nebraska, Mizzou and Rutgers isn't enough, they also pull in Syracuse and a reluctant Notre Dame. Not only do they lockdown the New York City television market and its seven million plus households but they land the national market thanks to Notre Dame. Their added revenue is boosted and they've got the Big Ten Network blasting out to all corners of the US.
If Slive and the SEC counter by throwing Clemson, FSU, GT, VT, OU, Okie St, USF, WVU bids in a race to get to 16 we see the league's revenue drop almost a full $5 million bucks per school to $12.75 million.
$204 million / 16 = $12.75 million
Good luck getting any of the conference school presidents or athletic directors to vote "yes" on expansion AND "yes" to losing almost a full $5 million bucks each season.
The only way that it makes sense and dollars for the SEC to expand is if Texas is included in this move. Texas is the only school that would force ESPN and CBS to open up negotiations because of their added revenue. However, good luck getting Texas out of their Big XII sweetheart television deal that sees them pull in more revenue than any other school in the conference.
With the current circumstances and fixed nature of the SEC's television contract don't expect to see the league's members rush to counter the Big Ten's expansion move.