Earlier today, we discussed how the Big Ten Network's increasing revenues are no doubt putting pressure on the SEC to find a way to change their 15-year television deals--and the static, locked-in revenues that come with them.
So it's not bad timing that Illinois just made public exactly how big an increase the Big Ten is seeing in those BTN revenues (emphasis added):
The conference will pay Illinois a record $22.6 million, with $7.9 million coming from the network, according to figures provided by the university. That's a 21 percent increase over last year's $6.5 million share from the BTN ...We didn't major in economics, but we're confident nonetheless that a 21 percent increase over the space of one year in a sluggish economy is a mighty fine figure for any business. Even if the BTN doesn't continue that kind of explosive growth, multiplying any kind of similar figure over the next several years would equal massive, massive payouts to the Big Ten's schools.
By comparison, the Southeastern Conference distributed an average of $18.3 million to each of its member schools for 2010-11. The Big 12 divvied $145 million among its members for an average of a little more than $12 million.
And, again, over those same several years the SEC is scheduled to earn the exact same amount in television revenue as they did this year. It would take quite some time for the resulting difference in payout to have any noticeable impact on the field, if it ever did. But at the very least, the BTN is helping put the Big Ten in position to compete with any conference in the country.
(Now, if the Big Ten's teams would just spend some of their money on assistants ...)