Big Money to be Made in ESPN College Football Contract Over BCS Earnings

The countdown has more than begun. The next college football season in 2013 will be the last year for the BCS.
In 2014 the new 12-year contract with ESPN for the 10 FBS-level conferences will go in to effect. According to USA Today Sports, an anonymous source (due to subject sensitivity) gave them the information that about $400-600 million will go to these 10 conferences annually…and that’s not including the sales coming from tickets and merchandising from the championship game.
Since this revenue is going to be drawn out over the 12-year contract, numbers on how much goes to whom are yet to be decided. It’s being estimated that the revenue total will actually be less than $400 million during the first year but will progressively grow throughout the life of the contract to up to $600 million for the last year of the contract in 2025.
After expenses, here’s an estimated list of how the annual revenue is planning to be split:

  • “Power” Conferences – 71.5%
  • “Group of 5” Conferences – 27%
  • Notre Dame – slightly less than 1%
  • Remaining FBS Independents – .5%

To give a brief idea on about how much revenue that could end up being, we’ll use $500 million as an example figure. After all expenses taken into consideration, about $350-375 million would be left to spread across the 10 FBS conferences (not including revenue from the contracts with the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls).
On top of this annual revenue split, the conferences will earn an extra $6 million per team that plays in the semifinals and another $4 million per team that plays in the “Host” bowls. However, there will be no additional earnings for making it to the championship game.
Another $300,000 is possible to be earned as academic performance bonuses for qualifying schools and will be distributed to conferences based on the number of schools that meet the NCAA’s APR standard of 930. Take for instance, if eight of the Pack-12 schools meet the APR standard, that league will receive another $2.4 million.
“There was a lot of number-crunching, as you can imagine,” said the anonymous source. “But at the end of the day they did it with smiles on their faces. Everyone will receive more money than they got in the BCS – literally everyone. And everybody knew that going in.”
The Northern Illinois president, John Peters, said the vote of the Presidential Oversight Committee was unanimous during a BCS meeting in Denver last month. “We think it’s fair. It does recognize that some conferences contribute more in a revenue way…From my point of view for my conference (Mis-American Conference), what it means is more,” said Paters.
Much more decision making is in process such as how the “Group of Five” conference will distribute its share of the revenue and how the “Power” conference will distribute theirs. USA Today Sports’ source hinted that performance will play a large role in the outcome of the decision. This person also stated that the ESPN report (the SEC will receive more revenue than the other four schools in the “Power” conferences) is to be true.
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