After watching Jim Delaney and the Big Ten bathe in hundred dollar bills since the inception of the Big Ten Network in 2008, SEC commissioner Mike Slive has finally gotten the dialog going to create an SEC network that could launch as early as 2014.
Each Big Ten program has pocketed approximately $27 million from the Big Ten Network (BTN) between 2008 and 2011 and the share is expected to rise up to $7.2 million each in 2012. The BTN generated $242 million in 2011, netting nearly $80 million, so it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine what an SEC network could be worth. Think about it. With the massive 11-state footprint, including Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas the SEC now has, you’re talking about $720 million per year in revenue at $2/month. At $3/month, you’re above a billion dollars. Yes, a billion. To give some perspective, the average cost per month for BTN subscribers is $0.37. For the love of God, a tomato costs more than that these days. Even after dividing up that pie with ESPN, its an absurd revenue stream that would only rise annually.
There’s no question Slive has the confidence to make this happen, but is being political about it at the moment. He hasn’t literally said the network will become reality, but acknowledged that Missouri and Texas A&M bring added value for future media rights. Slive stated, “I’ll let you know when we’re finished. We’re in discussion with both TV partners and believe there is significant added value for a lot of reasons with these institutions.”
Mizzou AD Mike Alden:
“I would term it enthusiastic optimism, based on the leadership we have in our league. I look at the Big Ten Network and what it’s done for my colleagues and I know it’s provided tremendous growth as far as exposure, recruiting around the country, ability to promote other content other than athletics, and obviously the revenue side has been significant.
“If you look at that model and knowing the SEC has a footprint as big, if not bigger, than the Big Ten, it would seem if there is anything like that it would have a tremendous impact on a league as strong as the SEC.”
After Slive struck the ESPN deal in 2009, SEC schools saw their conference distributions rise by 50% in the following two years from $13 million in 2009 to $19.5 million last year.
“When we did our (ESPN/CBS) deal, we sort of changed the game,” said Florida president Bernie Machen, a St. Louis native. “Then the Big Ten came along and did a channel. So, we’re looking at how to package things. We think there’s a lot more demand for our stuff than is being accessed. From talking to media people, we think it’s going to happen.”
Like it or not folks, money talks and there are a billion reasons, literally why the SEC network is coming.