Just in case it isn’t already clear by now, the Big 12 is on very solid footing. The conference is reporting a record member payout of $36.5 million for the 2018 fiscal year, up from $34.5 million a year ago. That number alone puts the conference well ahead of what Pac-12 and ACC are dishing out to their members, but there’s also a big caveat to that number…
Big 12 announces it is distributing $36.5 million in revenue per school, which doesn’t include individual school’s Tier 3 revenue
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 1, 2018
So, what are third tier broadcast rights, and why aren’t they included in the Big 12 member distribution? Simply put, these are games that aren’t picked up by ESPN and Fox. In the Big 12, members are free to monetize their left over inventory as they see fit. The other Power 5 conferences have conference network deals and pool their game inventory, so those conferences include that revenue in their member payouts. To be clear, all schools make some money on royalty and licensing deals, which are considered third tier, but Big 12 members are unique in that they retain third tier broadcast rights.
And those third tier broadcast rights are pretty lucrative for Big 12 members. Of course, Texas leads the pack with their $15 million from their Longhorn Network deal with ESPN; putting the Longhorns at around $52 million. Oklahoma also brings in a significant chunk of change at an estimated $8-9 million, which catapults the Sooners to around $45 million. Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, TCU and West Virginia are all estimated to make between $6-$8 million in additional broadcast rights; putting them all well over $40 million. And while Kansas State, Iowa State and Texas Tech don’t pull in quite as much, they are at or near the $40 million mark when all is said and done.
To put that into perspective, The SEC leads the other power five conferences at a reported $41 million distribution per member. At least for now. Multiple Big Ten schools have projected their 2018 fiscal year member payout to be just over $50 million, which is a significant increase from their reported $38.5 million member distribution a year ago. A new first-tier TV deal is responsible for the leap.
The Big Ten may be leading the pack, but it’s clear that not only is the Big 12 financially sound, it’s right there with the SEC and Big Ten. The Pac-12 and ACC cannot claim the same. Their projected distributions for 2018 are just $32 million and $28 million per member, respectively. Yikes.
Note: 25% of Baylor’s member payout is still being withheld and put into an escrow account until the Big 12 can verify that Baylor has fully implemented the 105 Title IX reform recommendations.