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The Big Ten vs. SEC in revenue

Everyone loves a good Big Ten-SEC comparison, and Kristi Dosh at Forbes.com has put together some interesting financial numbers about the two leagues.

Dosh breaks down how SEC football makes more money, spends more money and generates larger profits than Big Ten football. Big Ten athletic departments, meanwhile, generate larger overall profits than their counterparts in the SEC.

The data used comes from the U.S. Department of Education and spans the period from July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010 (including the 2009 football season).

On average, the SEC generated about $9.3 million more than the Big Ten, spent a little less than $2 million on football and turned an average profit of $29,946,728.42 compared with the Big Ten's $22,691,418.73. The Big Ten generated a total profit for athletic departments of $117,750,068, well above the SEC's total ($97,887,580) despite having one fewer team and two programs (Minnesota and Northwestern) that didn't report a profit. The SEC had one program (Mississippi) that didn't report a profit for its athletic department.

It's worth noting that most Big Ten schools fund many more sports than their counterparts in the SEC. While ventures like the Big Ten Network have helped all of the league's members, funding such a large number of sports, many of which don't generate revenue, is a major consideration when distributing revenue.

One more caveat about the SEC's football revenue:

One difference-maker could be the way broadcasting money is allocated by the schools when they prepare their financial statements for the Department of Education. Money from the Big Ten Network, which carries multiple sports, is probably not allocated by sport, but is instead included in "other" non-sport specific revenue. By contrast, monies received from the SEC's contract with CBS could be directly attributed to football and included in football revenue.

Also included are Big Ten football revenues, expenses and profits.

  • Penn State generated the most football revenue ($70,208,584) and highest football profit ($50,427,64)

  • Ohio State spent significantly more on football ($31,763,036) than any other Big Ten squad (Wisconsin ranks second at $22,041,491) and about $13.4 million more than Michigan

  • Michigan ranks third in football revenue ($63,189,417) and second in football profit ($44,861,184) but just fifth in football spending ($18,328,233)

  • Illinois ranks last in the league in football spending ($11,092,122) but eighth in both football revenue ($25,301,783) and football profit ($14,209,661)

  • As Dosh notes, "Wisconsin, which only ranks #6 in the Big Ten in terms of revenue, is putting a whopping 57% of football revenue back into the program."

  • Penn State's athletic department turned the largest profit in the Big Ten ($26,354,087), followed by Michigan ($24,549,181) and Michigan State ($18,477,200)