Big Ten Swipes USC And UCLA From Pac-12 In Big Financial Coup
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In a major coup for the Big Ten Conference, both the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC
) are jumping from the Pac 12 Conference to Big Ten effective with the 2024 season. The reason seems clear; The Big Ten saw four of its teams in the Top 25 last year while the best Pac-12 has been able to muster up was get three teams in the Top 25 way back in 2017.

This performance has impacted revenue, with Big Ten Conference distributing roughly $54 mil. to each member school in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, versus $33-34 million for each Pac-12 Conference school during the same time frame.

When the Big Ten Conference Inc. was formed in 1896 as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, it was launched by the Universities of Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as Purdue and Northwestern
Universities. The University of Iowa and Indiana University joined in 1899 and Ohio State in 1912, while University of Chicago terminated its football program in 1939 and withdrew from the conference in 1946. It grew again to 10 teams when Michigan State was added in 1940 after it incorporated as a non-profit in 1937 (Big Ten Conference Inc.). Pennsylvania State University joined in 1990 and the University of Nebraska in 2011, while it expanded to 14 teams in 2014 when the University of Maryland and Rutgers joined in 2014. Now, with the addition of UCLA and USC it will grow to 16.

By adding the two western schools, Apple
is reportedly now interested in signing a streaming rights deal with the Big Ten. Apple has been bidding aggressively on sports, grabbing a Friday night doubleheader of Major League Baseball games, signing a deal with Major League Soccer as well as being a bidder for NFL Sunday Ticket games, which currently air on DIRECTV.

The Big Ten voted to delay the date for completing its media rights deals (Fox Sports has a deal for half of Big Ten games, CBS is the lead bidder for a second package and a third package was being bid on by Amazon Prime Video, ESPN and NBC). Now that USC and UCLA are joining Big 10, however, Apple has rejoined the bidding and this should bring record revenue for Big Ten, which was expected to surpass $1 billion in media-rights fees per year before USC and UCLA came on board, according to Sports Business Journal.

The Big Ten Conference Inc. reported in its Form 990 with the IRS for its fiscal year of 2019 (ending June 30, 2020) that it had revenue of $782 million, up 13% from $690 million in fiscal 2018, although when it files its Form 990 for 2020 things will likely look bleak due to COVID-19. The non-profit doles out the funds generated after expenses to the various member schools.

The Big Ten media rights would supplement the company’s television business—Big Ten currently has a national channel which generates almost $200 million per year in cash flow as well as regional channels for each team.

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