Television networks like Fox and especially ESPN have looked for college football as a thriving market for new media revenue. The BCS, despite controversy, has created more of a national stir for the sport and the upcoming college football playoff means even more money.
Earlier this fall, the TV rights for the college football playoff in 2014 was secured in a negotiation with ESPN reportedly for $470 million dollars annually
and $5.64 billion for the full length of the 12-year deal. The current contract with ESPN for the Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta bowls as well as the BCS national championship is worth about $125 million annually.
"Because of college football's widespread popularity and the incredible passion of its fans, few events are more meaningful than these games," ESPN President John Skipper said (SI.com).
Fox and ESPN also made a deal earlier in the year with the Big 12 Network on an agreement reportedly worth $2.6 billion dollars over 13 years.
Basically, the networks need the content and the schools need more money. As the saying goes, a win-win situation for both sides.
I am actually surprised that the SEC does not generate more TV money from their success and fan following in college football. The SEC only tops the Big 12 for national television revenue of the top five conferences listed below.
College football is the second most popular sport in the United States, tied with baseball, which is a signal that there is even more room to bring in the dollars. Everything involving money in college football from coaches' pay
to television deals have skyrocketed in recent years and it does not look to go down. Even contract buyouts involving coaching changes may cost colleges around $50 million this season alone (USA Today)
. I have no problem with large coaches' salaries or athletic facility upgrades as long as funds do not come from sources like student funding to pay for football or other sports.
A major issue is that of 120 athletic departments in the FBS, only 19 percent reported a profit in 2011 and per-student funding has significantly dropped over the last 21 years, 79.1 percent in 1980 to 56.7 percent in 2011 (WSJ)
. However, college football cannot necessarily be blamed for the inability of college sports to profit since most schools with top notch football programs report a profit in athletics.
According to the Wall Street Journal
"At Louisiana State University, where football is profitable and conference-rights revenue has surged, officials recently agreed to transfer $7.2 million a year from sports to academic programs hurt by budget cuts."
Also noteworthy, no conference lost money on bowls in the 2011-12 season and the lowest payout for a conference was the Mountain West with over $1 million while the highest was the SEC with nearly $31 million. The BCS games had a payout over $192 million and the non-BCS bowls paid better than $98 million; after expenses, college football bowl payouts totaled around $281 million and a net revenue of almost $180 million. This money too is often used to fund other athletics at the schools.
The influx of money into college football should not necessarily be viewed as a bad thing or another reason for student-athletes to be paid. As long as the money is allocated properly, college football can actually help universities in academics and other sports programs that lack funds. But programs that overspend or lack the ability to sustain the revenue rise in comparison to others may have an issue with keeping up and ultimately could be detrimental to the either the academics at the school or the athletic programs. Otherwise, it is okay to raise and spend money, just do it within the means of the budget.
| |Annual revenue of national TV-rights deals for five major collegiate conferences
Current Deal, Previous Deal
1. Pac-12 $350 million, $57 million
2. Big Ten, $271 million, $62 million
3. ACC, $245 million, $70 million
4. SEC, $205 million, $57 million
5. Big 12, $192 million, $80 million
$25.5 billion in rights fees into college conferences and their member schools over the next 15 years.Source: SportsBusiness Journal Factbook & SNL Kagan as reported by the Wall Street Journal in print.
Bowl payouts for 2011-12 season
Highest per conference: SEC, $30,826,027
Lowest per conference: Mountain West, $1,066,190
BCS Bowls: $192,004,432
Non-BCS Bowls: $98,512,458
Net-revenue from bowl payouts: $179,896,463
Source: Football Bowl Association Media Guide 2012-13
Alabama was the only SEC team to defeat a top 25 opponent in week one despite the perception of the conference being the most dominant in college football. However, the SEC did have one of the most challenging schedules slated in the opening week and they scored the second most points per game among FBS conferences.
The ACC, Big 12, Big East, and Pac 12 did not play any top 25 out of conference opponents in week one. The ACC had the most games against non-FBS teams. The SEC, Conference USA, MAC, and Mountain West tied for the most matches versus the top 25 at three games.
The Big 12 was the only conference to go undefeated in week one, but played rather weak opposition with no BCS opponents and four non-FBS cupcakes. The Oklahoma Sooners also had a close call even though they were a heavy favorite going in versus the UTEP Miners.
The Mid-American Conference had a tough week with only 18.64 points per game and 31.73 points allowed per game. Ohio was the lone MAC team to have any real success with the only out of conference FBS win for them (24-14 over Penn State). The Bobcats are one of the only few teams left in contention from the preseason BCS Busters Watch List
after week one, but they have a weak schedule ahead so there will have to be a lot of losses racked up by BCS teams and they would have to win out convincingly.
FBS teams that lost to FCS or non-FBS teams were Pittsburgh, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, and Idaho.
See how each conference ranks after week one from an out of conference perspective:
Out of Conference Records
Big 12 9-0, vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 0-0 , vs FBS: 5-0 , vs non-FBS: 4-0
ACC 7-1, vs Top 25: 0-0, vs BCS: 1-1, vs FBS: 2-1, vs non-FBS: 5-0
Big Ten 10-2 vs Top 25: 1-1 , vs BCS: 1-1 , vs FBS: 7-2, vs non-FBS: 3-0
SEC 9-2 vs Top 25: 1-2 , vs BCS: 2-2 , vs FBS: 5-2 , vs non-FBS: 4-0
Pac 12 8-3 vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 0-0 , vs FBS: 6-3 , vs non-FBS: 2-0
Big East 5-2, vs Top 25: 0-0 , vs BCS: 1-1 , vs FBS: 3-1 , vs non-FBS: 2-1
WAC 4-2 vs Top 25: 0-1 , vs BCS: 0-1 , vs FBS: 2-1 , vs non-FBS: 2-1
Mountain West 5-5, vs Top 25: 0-3 , vs BCS 2-5: , vs FBS: 2-5 , vs non-FBS: 3-0
Sun Belt 4-5 vs Top 25: 0-2 , vs BCS: 0-3 , vs FBS: 1-4 , vs non-FBS: 3-1
MAC 3-8, vs Top 25: 0-3 , vs BCS: 1-7 , vs FBS: 1-8 , vs non-FBS: 2-0
Conference USA 2-10, vs Top 25: 0-3, vs BCS: 0-7, vs FBS, 1-9, vs non-FBS 1-1
Points Per Game
Big 12 48.56
Pac 12 33.73
Big East 32.29
Big Ten 30.17
Sun Belt 29
Mountain West 28.4
Conference USA 24.5
Points Allowed Per Game
Big 12 17.11
Big East 17.43
Pac 12 18.45
Big Ten 20.33
Sun Belt 27.33
Conference USA 35.67
*Conference games are not included in statistics.
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Nothing to surprising about my picks, but I may change some before the season starts.These are my BCS conference champion predictions:
ACC: Florida State
Contenders: Florida State is almost everyone's preseason favorite for ACC champion, but Virginia Tech is the frontrunner to win the Coastal division and the conference overall this year should be solid.
Big East: West Virginia
Contenders: Pitt may be the next contender, but overall the conference looks bland coming into this season and West Virginia seems to be the only strong team in the conference.
Big 12: Oklahoma
Contenders: The Sooners are the clear favorite, but the Big 12 does have other contenders for the 2011 championship including Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and longshot Missouri.
Big 10: Wisconsin
Contenders: It looks as though Ohio State should finally have a down year so that leaves the field wide open. Nebraska may be the next favorite to win championship after Wisconsin and they should win the Legends division, but plenty others have a chance including Michigan State and Michigan.
Pac 12: Oregon
Contenders: With Andrew Luck returning, it makes Stanford a contender, but it will be difficult for them to duplicate last season with all of their other key losses. If USC was not under a ban, then they could possibly win the championship. The Trojans may end up with one of the better records in the Pac 12. Oregon has a wealth of talent and should win another championship this year, but off the field issues are now looming over the program that may have an effect.
SEC: Arkansas/ Alabama
Contenders: I listed two champions for this conference since I am somewhat bias on this selection since I'm a known Hog fan. I do believe the Razorbacks can win the SEC this season, but Alabama is the clear favorite among most others. However, the SEC is stacked with competition with the West having other stout contenders in LSU and Mississippi State as well as in the East division there are contenders in South Carolina, Georgia, and maybe Florida under new coach Will Muschamp.