This morning news came out through the Sports Business Journal about the Big 12 (10?) being close to signing a new TV deal with FOX Sports for a reported $60 million a year. This is up substantially from the $20 million the league currently receives.
Coupled with the current deal from ABC/ESPN, annual revenue for the league would total about $130 million beginning in the 2012-2013 school year.
Break it down and it works out to about $11.8 million per share when split 11 ways (assuming the league will take a share). Of course, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M were promised an annual cut of $20 million during the conference meltdown last summer.
So where will the additional money come from?
It looks like either the Big 12 is going to have to scramble to find another source of revenue from a third TV partner, or the conference will ask the other seven schools to take a pay cut to keep the big boys happy. After taking off the $60 million already promised to the big three, each remaining school would only receive $8.75 million before the conference gets a piece.
Anyone else think there’s going to be a backlash from the athletic directors in Lubbock, Stillwater and Lawrence? Do you want to be the guy who has to tell your athletes that you gave up money to keep funding the schools that beat you every year? Before any additional money is counted, those schools will already be more than doubled up by their competition.
The Sports Business Journal article mentions that eight teams from the conference will look to band together to sell the rights to their lower-tier sports. Oklahoma and Texas would be excluded from this deal, because they are already moving forward with plans for their own networks. The programming for the conference network would be much like OU and Texas channels: non-revenue generating sports, a few football games against D-II teams and 8 to 10 basketball games against no-name opponents.
As of now, it’s anyone’s best guess as to what those rights would bring in TV money. There are already fewer TV sets in the conference footprint after losing the Denver market with Colorado's departure. The Houston, Dallas and Austin/San Antonio regions would rather have the OU and/or Texas channels.
Even if a nice deal is negotiated, will it be enough to close the gap? With Texas and OU’s new TV deals, they will still be head and shoulders above the rest of the conference in revenue. The smaller schools in the conference have to be getting more and more frustrated as the rich appear to be on the way to getting richer.
(Contact JJ Worthington at email@example.com.)