Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big Ten [Print without images]

Monday, May 6, 2013
Big Ten's revenue keeps climbing

By Brian Bennett

The economy remains sluggish in many sectors, but it is still good to be in the Big Ten football business. Very, very good.

The league's fiscal year doesn't end until June 30, but according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Stu Durando, conference payouts to member schools should reach another record high this year. Figures provided by Illinois show that Big Ten distributions are expected to be $25.7 million per school, including $7.6 million from the Big Ten Network.

Last year, schools got $24.6 million from the league, including $8.1 million from BTN. In 2011, the number was $22.6 million per school and $7.9 million from BTN. The Big Ten continues to distribute more revenue to its member schools than any other conference, which explains why Maryland was eager to dump decades of tradition in the ACC to jump on board.

People scoffed at the Big Ten Network when it first began, but Durando writes that the venture will have resulted in $42.5 million per full league member over the past six years. The figure has decreased this year for the first time, but that's likely due to an increased slice of the pie given to Nebraska, which does not receive a full share of league revenue until 2017.

This year's payout also includes an expected $10.9 million in television revenue from the league's deal with ESPN/ABC.

So the Big Ten can hang on to its claim as the richest football conference in the land. The SEC might eclipse that with its recently announced formation of an SEC Network that will begin next year. Some have estimated the SEC might generate more than $30 million per school with that deal. But remember: the Big Ten will be heading to the market for a new TV contract in 2016, armed with huge new markets in New York City/New Jersey and Baltimore/Washington D.C.

Being in the Big Ten football business should remain a very, very good deal, indeed.