This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
If multiple media reports are correct, the Big Ten is about to sign a huge television deal with Fox.
That could be a bad thing for BYU. Or it might be a good thing.
It's definitely not a good thing for Utah or Utah State. Indirectly. Because all of this is about indirect effects.
How huge is the proposed Big Ten-Fox deal? According to the Sports Business Journal, beginning in 2017, Fox will pay the league $250 million a year for HALF of its Tier-1 rights about 25 football games and 50 men's basketball games. Those games would air on the Fox broadcast network and cable channel Fox Sports 1, which can use all the help it can get.
The package that Fox is buying is curently held by ESPN (football and basketball) and CBS (basketball only). And SBJ reported, "Sources said that ESPN presented a non-competitive bid several weeks ago, as the company continues to look for areas to save costs."
That can't sound good for the Cougars, whose deal with ESPN expires in 2018 or 2019; ESPN has an option to extend it a year.
But nothing is that simple. ESPN may or may not still end up with part of the Big Ten package. If not, it will be looking for games to fill the vacancy … and BYU has proven to be a compliant partner.
Plus, while no figures have ever been released, what ESPN pays BYU is a comparative drop in the bucket. The Cougars are a bargain.
At this point, ESPN, CBS and NBC are all expected to bid for the rest of the Big Ten rights. And those that don't win the bidding will be looking for games … so BYU could have multiple suitors.
Assuming the Cougars remain independent, that is. And BYU clearly would like to join a Power Five conference.
However, before the BYU-to-the-Big 12 speculation starts again, that league makes about half of what Big Ten and SEC schools will make, so would Big 12 member schools want to further divide that TV money which would increase some, but apparently not proportionally to two or more new members?
The Big Ten will get $250 million for half its Tier 1 rights; the Pac-12 gets roughly $250 million a year for ALL of its Tier-1 rights.
It's projected that once the Big Ten is done selling its TV rights and adds revenue from the Big Ten Network, each of its 14 teams will haul in perhaps as much as $60 million per year.
Pac-12 schools are getting between $20 million and $25 million per year, and the league's TV deal doesn't expire until 2024. So there's no big pay raise on the horizon.
That's not chump change, but while Purdue and Maryland will be able to spend money hand over fist to improve their football and basketball facilities and fund their Olympic sports, Utah athletic director Chris Hill will have to make tougher budget decisions.
In five years, the Utes will make something in the neighborhood of $75 million-$100 million less than the Boilermakers and the Terrapins.
By the way, the SEC is essentially on par with the Big Ten in terms or TV revenue; the Big 12 and ACC are pretty much even with the Pac-12.
As for Utah State, well, the Mountain West Conference makes about $20 million per year from its TV deals for the entire league. That's an average of less than $1.7 million per school, and the league doesn't share TV money equally.
Although the Aggies occasionally play Power Five teams, they aren't in the same financial universe.
Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.