The Economics Behind The Big 12 Break Up

Thursday, June 10th 2010, 9:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

UNDATED -- The Big 12 breakdown means more than new possible match-ups and more road trips for fans.  For the Big 12 football franchises, its finances that's really driving this play.

It's not just the legions of fans and the sparkle of championship trophies that rule the gridiron. College football is a multi-billion dollar business.

And these days packing Memorial and Boone Pickens Stadiums isn't the only way schools are raking in the dough. Big-ticket television contracts are becoming a bigger share of the revenue pie and's sports experts say that's a huge reason OU and OSU are considering abandoning the Big 12 for greener pastures.

In 2007 IRS filings showed Texas topped the conference in TV revenues with a little over 10 million.  The Sooners slid in second at a little under $10 million. And the Cowboys picked up about $8 million.

That same year, the Big 10 Conference, which includes football powerhouses like Michigan and Ohio State launched their own television network.

Last year, almost all of Big 10 football games were televised. Ninety-eight percent could be seen on television screens around the nation.

Beyond the huge exposure, there's big dollars.  Big 10 schools split the television contract evenly. Each of them reportedly walked away with $20 million.

That's a price tag that has critics and doubters alike taking notice. And there's talk that an expanded PAC-10 would try to mimic the Big Ten's success.

If they could lure OU, OSU and the Texas teams, the PAC-10 would become 16. And they would have some of the biggest media markets in the country, adding Denver, Dallas, and Houston, lots of viewers for a possible PAC-16 network.

6/10/2010 Related Story: Big 12 Break Up: OSU Says Pac-10 Move Is Not 'Done Deal'

The other option that's been floated is an OU defection to the SEC. That move could also mean more cash for the Sooners. Each of the SEC's 12 schools reportedly receive more than $17 million per year for their share of the TV revenues.

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