College Football’s Supervisors Set to Collect Big on Bowls
Bowl season is holiday season for college football conferences and schools, and not just because it falls during the same time of year. Four of the “Power 5” conferences are guaranteed over $30 million just from their automatic participation in BCS bowls, and stand to make an additional $11-22 million from non-BCS bowl games, depending on the conference.
Of the Power 5 conferences, the SEC leads the way with $51.5 million in total bowl revenue. The ACC finished second with $46.6 million, followed by the Big Ten with $45.5 million, the Big-12 with $42.2 million and the Pac-12 with $41.4 million.
Under the current system, a school from each of the AQ (automatic qualifying) conferences receives an automatic berth in one of five BCS bowl games, which nets each respective conference a $23.9 million payout. This is the final season there are six AQ conferences – the AAC gets a bid along with the Power 5 leagues. The remaining four at-large berths are worth $6.3 million to the conference of whichever teams are selected. The BCS (Bowl Championship Series) also gives $250,000 to each conference.
This format, however, is in its final season. Beginning next year, the BCS will move to a four-team playoff for the National Championship, which will require three games. Currently, there is one National Championship game along with four publicized yet pointless BCS bowls, which are glorified cash cows that crown a pack of runner-ups.
The new system will not only be more exciting, but far more profitable as well. The BCS’ long-term contract with ESPN is worth an average of $470 million per year, as opposed to the measly $155 million annually the BCS currently receives. $345 million of that money will be split between all conferences, with between 70-85% (depending on differing reports) going to the Power 5 conferences.
As usual, Christmas has been good to the NCAA brass this season, and it only stands to get better. The players, meanwhile, have no presents under their tree. (Matt Bravmann – VNN) (Matt_Velazquez)
This article supports a three-part investigation into the NCAA. You can read Part I here. Part II will be published soon.