Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Big Ten is bringing in big money as a TV star

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 20, 2013 - 6:53 AM

The goal for the University of Minnesota's athletic teams is to win and draw fans.

But big-time college athletics has complicated even that -- the real money these days for Gophers athletics, regardless of wins and losses, is increasingly coming from the Big Ten's television revenue.

Six years ago, before the Big Ten Network debuted, the university received $10.7 million in annual payments from the Big Ten. Two years later, with the conference's network firmly in place televising football, basketball and other sports, Minnesota's annual share jumped to $18.8 million. It has since spiraled to $22.9 million in 2011 and figures to jump even more -- one unofficial estimate put the figure at $32 million by 2014 -- when Rutgers and Maryland join the Big Ten and push the conference into the lucrative East Coast markets.

Since 2007, the Big Ten Network's first year, the money has continued to grow even though the Gophers have had just one winning football season and never have won more games than they lost against Big Ten opponents. The television money has also dwarfed what Minnesota got from actually winning enough games to go to a football bowl game: The university's appearance last month in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, a loss to Texas Tech, meant a $2.4 million paycheck.

Although U officials downplay its effect, the money has provided a reliable revenue stream even as success on the field and on the court -- and in attracting fans to games -- has been elusive. Athletic Director Norwood Teague said the school may be eyeing the money to help with a facilities update, which a consultant is studying and will issue a report on this year.

"I think there will be increases. It's just a matter of how much," Teague said of the Big Ten money. "That was one of the reasons for expansion."

A top donor to the university's athletics said the school has traditionally said little about the Big Ten revenue -- even as it asks donors for more money. "The university historically has not shared those numbers with the alumni," said Bill Dircks, an alumnus, owner of Berger Transfer and Storage in Roseville, and a donor who said he has given nearly $3 million to the school over time. "You knew they got money." But Dircks said the Big Ten money, even as it grows, has not altered his own giving plans.

Dircks said he is part of a group of two dozen major donors who are being asked to donate $100,000 to the school over five years, and said adding Rutgers and Maryland can only help the Big Ten and the University of Minnesota. "They had to do something to expand, and to get some more revenue," he said.

Too much about money?

But not everyone is happy with the marriage of college athletics and TV. Critics point out that the lure of TV money has made college athletics no different than pro sports, and has led to wholesale conference realignments and put TV networks in the driver's seat in setting game times that are often inconvenient for ticket holders.

Mark Fautsch, a senior investment adviser in Minneapolis who has also contributed to athletic fundraisers for the school, said he did not renew the season tickets for men's basketball that he had for decades, partly because he is bothered by the influence of money on college athletics and specifically that of the BigTen Network.

"I think we have gravitated so far over to the money side, it's tough to watch a game, even on TV," said Fautsch, who said he went "nose to nose" with former Athletic Director Joel Maturi over the effect of the Big Ten Network.

The Big Ten money has of course helped the university's bottom line.

In 2004, the school's annual athletic operating revenues stood at $49.7 million. By 2009, two years after the start of the Big Ten Network, yearly revenues had jumped to $70.3 million and by 2011 had climbed to $78.9 million. While he was athletic director, Maturi said he would have had to cut sports programs without the added money from the Big Ten Network.

The increase of money pouring into the Big Ten has not only been good for the schools. According to tax filings by the conference, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany's salary jumped from $383,000 in 2000 to $1.2 million in 2011. The Big Ten's overall revenue increased from $85.2 million in 2000 to $217.7 million by 2008 and to $265 million by 2011.

While the conference's tax filings do not break down how much the Big Ten earned from its television network, which is 51 percent owned by Fox TV, it does provide some clues as to the network's overall value.

In 2010 the value of the Big Ten's 49 percent ownership interest in the network was calculated to be $14.5 million. One year later, the value of the conference's ownership interest jumped to $76 million. "Going in next year, that number is going to increase again," said Brad Traviolia, Big Ten treasurer.

But Traviolia declined to disclose how much revenue the Big Ten specifically earned annually from the Big Ten Network or even how much the conference netted from its inaugural football championship game. "We don't break out, our ESPN agreement is worth this, our Big Ten Network agreement is worth that," he said.

The tax filings do provide some sketchy, though dated, evidence of how even a decade ago television revenue was becoming more important to the Big Ten.

In 2000, television broadcast royalties accounted for $42.3 million of the Big Ten's $78.9 million in distributable revenue. The conference, in contrast, got $14.1 million that same year from taking part in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl and Bowl Championship Series.

Two years later, TV royalties accounted for $62.4 million of the Big Ten's $97.8 million in distributable revenue. Bowl game revenues that year totaled $15.9 million.

Incentive to join

Even though the Big Ten does not now release such breakdowns, those are the type of figures that have enticed Rutgers and Maryland to join.

For Maryland, which will start Big Ten play in 2014, the additional money will hopefully help turn around an athletic program with pressing needs.

An internal report by the university in 2011 estimated that -- without the jump to the Big Ten -- the school's 27 intercollegiate sports teams would have a $17.2 million cumulative deficit by 2017. The school recently eliminated seven sports teams.

The study showed that while Maryland was projected to invest $72,997 per student athlete in 2013, it lagged far behind other schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which Maryland will be leaving. Florida State invests $128,700 per student athlete, and the University of Miami spends $116,914, the study said.

When the ACC recently renegotiated its own TV contracts, University of Maryland Assistant Vice President Brian Ullmann said the school's annual conference revenue jumped from roughly $12 million to $17 million. But Ullmann said the Big Ten had too many tempting advantages like its own network -- the ACC, he said, has nothing that compares -- and the fact that the Big Ten would soon likely have another windfall when it renegotiated its own major TV contracts.

"Having an equity stake in what we think is an enormously popular and lucrative channel" is a benefit of the Big Ten Network, he said.

In Minnesota, the Big Ten's focus on generating cash, realigning the conference and expanding its TV presence continue to make some uneasy.

Peggy Lucas, another longtime donor who gave $25,000 to help build the school's Ridder Arena, said she is confused by the ever-changing world of big-time college athletics, even though Maturi regularly briefed her and others of how the Big Ten money was being spent.

"I think it's all about money," Lucas said of the Big Ten's expansion. "Where does it stop?"

Mike Kaszuba • 651-222-1673

  • related content

  • An expanding pipeline

    Saturday January 19, 2013

    A look at the revenues for the Big Ten Conference and the University of Minnesota before and after the creation of the Big Ten Network, which was launched in August...

  • Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany

  • $22.9 million

    The University of Minnesota's annual payment from the Big Ten in 2011

    $10.7 million

    The U's payment from the conference in 2006

    $32 million

    One unofficial estimate of Minnesota's payment in 2014, after Rutgers and Maryland join the Big Ten

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
UAB 22 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
SMU 3
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close