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College Conference Television Deals

Today the Mid American Conference announced that they came to terms with ESPN to extend their television deal by ten years, into the 2026 season. The new deal will also replace the last three years of the current arrangement, one which has historically lagged far behind the other group of five conferences.

$$ (M) Teams Per Team
AAC 21 11 1.91
MWC * 12 1.49
CUSA 15 14 1.07
Sun Belt 11 11 1.00
MAC 1.4 12 0.12

The Current State of Things:

The table to the right has been compiled from various news sources over the past year. At this points it's little more than a S.W.A.G. Still what the data compiled told me is consistent with what I know.

1 - The AAC leads the group of 5 conferences with about a two million dollar payout. It's a heck of a lot less than the 16 million per team payout that the conference was banking on when they lured Boise and San Diego State.

2 - The Mountain West deal is complicated, damn complicated. I computed the "per team" average" by averaging out each teams ceiling as reveled on Mountain West Connection. In the end some schools in the MWC do better than the AAC **COUGH** Boise **COUGH** and some don't do so well. Boise will likely exceed the payouts of the AAC members while Utah State may lag behind what each Belt team can get.

3 - Conference USA, all things considered, held on well through realignment. They are still pulling in more than a million per team.

4 - The Belt quietly found TV parity with CUSA. I'm as surprised as anyone but it appears that the Belt has themselves a nice little contract for their first tier rights.

5 - The MAC's current deal has a payout hardly worth mentioning. The conference sold their soul for exposure and with the advent of MACtion they have it.

Whats next for the MAC?

All that's known at this point is that Sports Illustrated has said the new deal will raise the MAC higher than other GO5 conferences. That could mean 1.01 Million to up the Belt or 2 Million which would put the MAC over the American.

Most likely its going to land somewhere in the Middle, perhaps on par with the Mountain West Conference's average payout at about 1.5 Million. But where ever it lands it's going to be orders of magnitude higher than the current payout.

Even if it ends up closer to one million per team than to two million per team the deal will continue to give the MAC more prime time football programming than it's peer conferences enjoy. The once derided Wednesday night games have become #MACtion, a brand created by blogs, adopted by the MAC, and loved by all.

The fact that pretty much every kind being courted by a MAC school has sat down to watch that school play multiple times on national TV helps keep the highly regional MAC conference on level footing against the larger, more unwieldy mid majors.

Perhaps the Tuesday morning press conference will shed some light on the amount of money that the MAC's Athletic Directors will have to invest back into their programs. Come back tomorrow after the conference for our update.