This is about name, image and likeness, They said. We are talking about like-minded academic institutions. It’s about expanding employment opportunities.
The true reason behind UCLA and USC abrupt shift to the Big Ten Conference is much simpler than the language administrators use in long-winded statements.
This is money.
With Pac-12 recent struggle and an archaic TV deal, conference teams have simply been left behind, and the move to the Big Ten gives USC and UCLA their best financial lifeline to compete in a college sports scene that blurs the lines between pros and amateurs more and more every day.
The emergence of the Big Ten as a financial titan began when the conference signed $2.65 billion six-year TV deal it started in 2017. At the time, the Pac-12 was ahead of the Big Ten in revenue thanks to a landmark television deal under former Commissioner Larry Scott.
This 12-year, $3 billion deal, signed in 2011, tripled the conference’s annual television and created Pac-12 networks. At the time, it was the largest media rights deal in college sports.
But getting old wasn’t good.
Due to the long-term deal and the failure of Pac-12 Networks, Pac-12 only distributed $33.6 million to each of its member institutions in 2019–2020. This year, the Big Ten have offered an average of $49.2 million to their 14 members, with the 12 most senior institutions receiving an average of $54.3 million. Maryland and Rutgers, then non-full members, took home $27.6 million and $11.4 million, respectively. The $20 million difference between USC and Ohio State will continue into next year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major financial impact on all sports programs, but Pac-12 has been particularly hard hit. The conference reported a 35.7% drop in revenue from FY2019-20 to FY2020-21 and gave each school just $19.8 million. The Big Ten fell 11.6%, but still distributed $47.8 million to each school.
In 2017, the Big Ten media rights deal generated an average of $441.7 million in TV revenue per year. That number could double in an upcoming conference contract.
Initial reports indicate that a new Big Ten deal starting in 2024 could be worth a whopping $1 billion a year. That was earlier University of California at Los Angeles as well as USC signed a contract and created the second largest media market in the country.
Dividing $1 billion in annual television revenue among the 16 Big Ten schools results in an average of $62.5 million per school. That alone, without additional revenue streams like payouts from NCAA men’s basketball tournaments and bowling games, is nearly double the amount UCLA made from the Pac-12 two years ago.
The money could be used to upgrade facilities, pay salaries to attract and retain top coaches, and improve rides. athletic director at UCLA Martin Jarmond The statement said the “resources” from the deal would help manage logistical nightmares who will no doubt follow the West Coast teams who need to travel at least 1,500 miles to reach their nearest Big Ten enemy, Nebraska.
In its statement announcing the move, USC also noted that starting in the upcoming academic year, all athletes can receive up to $5,980 annually in “direct financial support in the form of academic achievement awards, in line with a recent Alston Supreme Court ruling. “.
USC will have the opportunity to significantly increase this number in two years.