On the field, the goal of every college football program is simple – win games.
Off the field goals are very different, although no more complex – make money.
That off-field goal is what was at the very heart of all the conference expansion hysteria over the past month. Whether speaking from the perspective of the conferences, or the universities, money is what fueled the fire.
The Pac-10 and Big Ten each wanted to grow from ten to sixteen teams, essentially transforming into “Super” Conferences with the ability to create tremendous financial gain for each respective organization. The Big XII was hoping to retain its core membership so that it could stay in business, and not lose money.
For the various programs that were invited into those conferences, the question each had to answer was simply which would provide more financial gain, their current or prospective future conference.
Now that the dust has settled, and we can apply that 20-20 vision which only hindsight allows, there is no doubt that the biggest winner is the University of Texas with its decision to remain with the Big XII.
In addition to the gain in influence which Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has realized by essentially dictating the direction of not only his school, but for much of the NCAA, Dodds managed to secure for Texas a RIDICULOUS sized piece of the Big XII pie.
Thanks to the (understandable) desperation of those in charge of the Big XII conference, the folks who knew that losing Texas to the Pac-10 was tantamount to a death sentence for the entire organization, had to extend an offer that the Pac-10 could not match, and one the Longhorns could not refuse. Texas had no problem taking advantage of the Big XII’s vulnerable position.
As the university capable generating the greatest revenue for the Big XII, Texas was already in line to draw approximately $20M through the Big XII’s television revised contracts with FOX and ESPN. Adding to that, though, is a right that was granted to the school which would not have been available if Texas were to join the Pac-10. That right is for the University of Texas to create its own specific television network, making it the first of its kind.
While Texas will still have to compete with ESPN and FOX for broadcast rights to their marquis events (primarily those that take place on the gridiron), the University have the power to broadcast the school’s events in nearly every sport.
When launched, the Longhorns TV Network is expected to generate as much as $3M to $5M per year in additional revenue for the University. In addition to that increased revenue, the University now has an opportunity for greater exposure for all of its athletic programs.
Before the Super Conference negotiations started Texas was receiving between $7M and $10M per year. After the negotiations are concluded, Texas realistically could net as much as $25M per year, all while owning and supporting its own television network.
Going to the Pac-10 would have been good for Texas, but it wouldn’t have been THAT good!