Share This Post With Others
All this talk of the Big Ten expansion has me very excited for several reasons. First, it is about time the Big Ten had a championship game providing the conference some relevancy during early December. Second, it is nice to think that what the Big Ten does in the next few months could shake-up the entire landscape of college football (and all college sports for that matter). And Third, it gives us all one more excuse to think and discuss football during the slow summer months.
So who will eventually join the Big Ten? Based on the officials from the conference, the general consensus is that it will come down to several factors, location, TV market, academics, and 'fiscal potential'. Let's be real honest though, this all comes down to one thing and one thing only, who can make the Big Ten the most money and on the other side of the coin, who can make the most money by joining the Big Ten.
When it comes to money let's first consider those who might consider joining the conference. The facts are that the two conferences in the nation which provide their teams the most cash flow are the SEC (who has a giant TV contract with ABC/ESPN) and the Big Ten (who has its own, very profitable, TV network broadcasting to over 75+million homes and growing every year). This all adds up to each school in the SEC and Big Ten getting about $20-25 million per year from TV contracts, networks, NCAA and bowl games.
The other conferences, such as the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-10 dream of payouts like this, their payouts range anywhere between $10 - $18 million per year. And that range can vary widely depending on which school you are in the conference. For instance, in the Big 12 the revenue is split to some degree based on the number of times you are on TV (Texas and Oklahoma must love that rule, while Missouri, Nebraska and many others cannot be pleased).
Let's now consider the other side of the coin, who can make the Big Ten more money, and we know this all comes down to fan base and TV markets. The two TV markets that the Big Ten absolutely wants more of are the midwest (specifically Chicago) and northeast (Boston and NY). Therefore, it will be likely that the Big Ten will look to expand in both areas.
Admittedly the Big Ten will make sure any school they consider, no matter how much of a TV audience they bring with them, can support the academic and research standards of the current Big Ten, but the more money you bring to the table the better your chances. So, that is why you are hearing schools like Nebraska and Missouri from the midwest and Rutgers from the northeast.
Of course the cherry on top of the cake would be Notre Dame, but don't get your hopes up. Notre Dame has no real desire to join a conference and I don't think the initial domino falling of the Big Ten's expansion will create enough of a college football landscape shake-up to make them join a conference.
What I could see is that if the Big Ten does grab a few teams from the Big 12 and a few from the Big East, this causes a series of conference realignments across several conferences (for example the development of four 'super-16 team-conferences). This more drastic change could cause the Irish to join a conference, as scheduling would become very tough for them, but again, this is only going to happen after many dominos start to fall and the Big Ten expansion is only the first domino.
So at the end of the day the Big Ten has one very important thing on their side, money and the fact they make lots of it for their teams. This gives them a great chance of pulling some very high profile teams to the conference and making it very enticing for other schools to want to join.
We are Penn State
Enjoy this post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed and never miss another! Or sign up to get exclusive PennStateCentral.com Sports Analysis straight to your inbox!