After watching Jim Delaney and the Big Ten bathe in millions of dollars since the inception of the Big Ten Network in 2008, SEC commissioner Mike Slive finally initiated dialog with ESPN to create an SEC television network back in early June. While there was no time table set this summer, the expectations are for the new ESPN partnered network to launch in time for the 2014 college football season.
For those keeping score at home, the Big Ten Network (BTN) generated $242 million in gross revenue in 2011, netting $80 million, so it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine what a SEC tv network could be worth. With a massive 11-state footprint, which includes Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas the estimates are for revenue to reach approximately $720 million per year at a price of $2 per month, according to our very good friend Clay Travis at Outkickthecoverage.com. If the network were to charge subscribers $3 per month, the SEC network could be valued above a BILLION DOLLARS. Yes, a billion. ”Cash cow” doesn’t even seem appropriate when talking about this type of revenue stream.
To give you some perspective, the average cost per month for BTN subscribers is a paltry 37 cents. For the love of god, an apple costs more than that these days. Even after splitting the pie with ESPN, an absurd
amount of money will be leftover for the network, alongside all the SEC programs.
While Slive has kept everyone in the dark about the ongoing progress with ESPN and the other partners, we have learned from the Sports Business Journal that the details to develop the network are being finalized. The journal is reporting only “three issues” stand in the way before the channel launches in 2o14, including obtaining local television rights and “rehashing marketing rights.” One finalized, expect the SEC to rise back to the top of the ladder of richest conferences in college athletics.