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Bowlsby Reveals Potential Financial Fallout of OU, Texas Leaving Big 12

It’s not great!

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Photo: Liz Parke/Big 12

We can talk about how detrimental OU and Texas leaving the Big 12 is for the league and its long-term health until the cows come home, but in the end there is one factor here that determines the answer — and that’s the amount of cold, hard cash available to the remaining members.

And the answer there suggests it is undeniably a no good, very bad thing.

Speaking on Monday at a Texas Senate hearing, Bowlsby revealed the potential financial fallout of OU and Texas leaving the league for the SEC is so substantial, he estimates schools will lose roughly $14 million per year in TV revenue — half of what the league is currently distributing. Further, he estimated that Texas and OU comprise roughly 50% of the league’s total value to television partners, thus the arrival at the $14 million figure.

According to USA Today figures from Fiscal Year 2020, here’s what that would mean in raw numbers. First, here’s a look at the actual numbers to get an idea for pre-OU/Texas departure and the Big 12’s standing in the hierarchy of sports.

  • Big Ten total revenue: $768.9 million (~$55M per school)
  • SEC total revenue: $729 million ($45.M per school)
  • Big 12 total revenue: $409 million (~$37-$40M per school)
  • ACC total revenue: $497 million (~$30.9M-$37 million per school)
  • Pac-12 total revenue: $533.8 million (~$33.6M per school)

Next, here’s where the Big 12 would stand with that missing $14 million per year TV money. TV money doesn’t make up all money, but it’s a significant chunk of it and the haircut would put the Big 12 last (by a lot) among power conferences.

  • Big Ten total revenue: $768.9 million (~$55M per school)
  • SEC total revenue: $729 million ($45.M per school)
  • ACC total revenue: $497 million (~$30.9M-$37 million per school)
  • Pac-12 total revenue: $533.8 million (~$33.6M per school)
  • Big 12 total revenue: ~$23-$26M per school

The silver lining here: It’s not so bad that it should be considered an untenable financial arrangement. The bad, however: It’s hard to imagine that money stays the same. ESPN has reportedly rebuffed the Big 12’s attempt to renegotiate a rights deal, and without the two schools that make up an estimated 50% of the league’s total TV value, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which league members don’t see that number take an even bigger hit without serious changes.

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