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Record Big 12 and SEC conference revenue expected to keep climbing

By By Blair Kerkhoff

The Kansas City Star (MCT)

Published: Friday, May 31 2013 7:16 p.m. MDT

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Big 12 and Southeastern Conference schools will be smiling all the way to the bank at the end of the fiscal year.

Both conferences announced record distribution figures on Friday as their annual spring meetings came to a close.

Eight of the 10 Big 12 schools will cash checks for $22 million, with newcomers West Virginia and TCU receiving half of that amount as new members.

All SEC schools, including newcomers Missouri and Texas A&M, will be paid an average of $20.7 million by the conference.

Missouri and Texas A&M forfeited most of their share in 2012, the final year of Big 12 membership, as an exit penalty.

“We passed out a bit of money to folks,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “We hope to be able to tell you that every year from here on out.”

The conferences’ television deals for regular-season football games are the primary source of revenue. Also included in the pots are bowl game and conference and NCAA tournament revenue.

In all, the SEC will distribute $298.4 million to its 14 members, the Big 12 will sent out $198 million.

Both leagues expect the revenue to soar soon with new deals that begin with the 2014 season.

“The numbers are going to continue to climb,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

The SEC Network will launch and an industry expert has said the contract could be worth an additional $17 million annually per school over the course of the 20-year deal with ESPN.

The SEC and Big 12 will become partners in the Sugar Bowl, and that game will be worth about $40 million to each league annually, meaning an additional $4 million per Big 12 school.

Also, the College Football Playoff starting in 2014 figures to be worth about $50 million annually to each of the five power conferences.

The Big 12 distribution totals do not include its schools’ third-tier media rights. The Longhorn Network is worth some $15 million annually. Kansas’ third-tier rights were worth about $6.5 million in 2012.

Unlike first- and second-tier rights, which are owned by the conferences and sold to networks such as ESPN, Fox and CBS, third-tier rights are owned by the schools to monetize.

Conferences that have their own networks, like the Big Ten and soon the SEC, own their schools’ third-tier rights.

In the Big 12, those rights are owned by the schools, a condition that won’t change — and will prevent a Big 12 Network from launching — largely because of Texas’ deal with ESPN that resulted in The Longhorn Network.

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