Somebody told the FSU board of trustees, when they were discussing whether to bail on the ACC, that the new SEC TV deal is worth $811 million a year. Dunno where they got that figure, but it had not been reported previously; we had heard about $300M a year for ESPN to take over the 2:30 pm CBS slot, but not the rest of the package.
Assuming it’s accurate, it gives some idea where we are and why the SEC football schedule hasn’t been announced yet. We know that the B1G TV deal, covering Fox, CBS and NBC, is about $1.1 billion a year. Greg Sankey is trying to close that gap, now that we know when Texas and OU are joining the league. It’s assumed that the $811 million deal (signed in 2020) includes a pro rata that ESPN will pay more if the number of teams increases; that $811M figure may even include the pro rata increase. But that would be the same rate per school, just more schools. Sankey is trying to convince ESPN that the Fallopians and Paperclips are worth more than just the pro rata increase, since it adds the Red River Shootout to the ESPN inventory as well as such attractive matchups as Oklahoma-Alabama, A&M-Texas and, yes, Arkansas-Texas.
So anyway, Sankey is trying to get the annual per-school payout from about $50 million ($811M divided by 16) closer to the $69 million the B1G schools will be getting, or maybe even exceed it. And they don’t expect there to be too much haggling; neither side can afford to alienate the other (CBS ticked us off and got shoved out the door). But Greg will be making the point that going to nine games creates more value for ESPN which they should expect to pay for.
All this comes from a mailbag at The Athletic, in response to a question to SEC beat writer Seth Emerson from, well, me. Seth also makes a point that I have made before, that the nine-game schedule makes season ticket sales easier. And that the reports that half the league (Including us) have been opposed to the nine-game schedule are probably exaggerated.