In spite of all the canceled college sporting events this past spring, including the men’s and woman’s NCAA basketball tournaments, it seems as those the rich will remain rich, at least for the time being.
The Associated Press reported Friday that The Big 12 conference’s first- and second-tier media revenue distribution dipped minimally for its 10 member schools despite the many canceled sports.
At the conclusion of the conference’s virtual spring meetings, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said the league would distribute around $37.7 million to each member school for the previous year, which is only $1.1 million less than the previous one. Though that did end a 13-year streak of increased revenues year-over-year for the Big 12.
Big 12 will distribute an average of about $37.7 million to each school for this fiscal year, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. The total is down about $1.1 million from last year, mainly because of cancellation of March Madness and conference tournaments.
— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) May 29, 2020
Each Big 12 school received $38.8 million in 2019 while they each received $36.5 million in 2018.
Overall, the league saw the biggest dip from the lack of major events such as the basketball tournament as well as the College World Series. Also, the money set aside for conference championship participation subsidies was halved from around $36 million to $18 million following the cancellation of the league’s spring championship events and tournaments.
It’s worth noting that these numbers don’t include third-tier broadcasting rights, such as revenue that Texas generates from ESPN for the Longhorn Network or what some of the other member schools may receive from Fox Sports or ESPN+ beyond the initial rights.
“The financial state of the Big 12 just in general is really healthy,” said Baylor’s Mack Rhoades, who is also the chairman of the Big 12 ADs. “I think the ability to make institutions whole, or very close to whole, has been a big-time positive for every institution.”
Despite the fact that the league’s revenue distribution only slipped slightly, almost every member school is dealing with the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes canceled events, fewer merchandise sales, no ticket sales, and various other lost revenue sources.
“As far as how we’re going to make it out, we’re scrambling to do that right now,” TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said. He also noted that the school has lost around $50 million due to the pandemic. “We’re cutting costs everywhere. We’re not giving raises till January, taking lots of measures like that. All the campuses, I think are doing similar things.”
While the league and its members remain optimistic about the 2020 college football season, they’re also aware that a little belt-tightening is in order in case seasons need to be shortened or don’t happen at all. The league’s board approved an operating budget 10% less than it was for the 2019-20 fiscal year
“It’s just a recognition that we need to be prepared and that seemed like a logical first step,” Bowlsby told the Dallas Morning News in a phone interview. “I think our institutions will be tightening their belts, and we should be doing likewise.”