After two straight fiscal years where the Big 12 saw its revenue decrease, the league experienced an increase.
Multiple news outlets reported the Big 12 announced Friday during its spring meetings that the conference is distributing an average of $42.6 million per member institution in revenue for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
That is the first increase in revenue distribution for the Big 12 after two years of seeing a financial decrease, according to ESPN, following 13 straight years of an increase in Big 12 revenues.
How does that compare to the 2021 fiscal year?
That’s an increase of nearly 20% from the previous fiscal year, according to the Dallas Morning News’ Chuck Carlton.
Big 12 announces an average distribution of $42.6 million per member for the 2021-22 fiscal year. That's about a 20% increase over the COVID-impacted 2020-21 year.— Chuck Carlton (@ChuckCarltonDMN) June 3, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted college sports across the board during the 2020-21 fiscal year, which USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz examined in detail.
The Big 12 payout distribution ranged from $34.7 million to $36.5 million during the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to Berkowitz, and the league ran an operating deficit of a little less than $16 million.
Only two Power Five conferences — the SEC and the ACC — showed revenue increases during the 2020-21 fiscal year, per Berkowitz, and the Big 12 experienced a revenue decrease of $53 million.
“The revenue shortfall of about $50 million this school year was primarily because of reduced money from TV contracts, lower ticket sales and not having a team in the College Football Playoff,” ESPN wrote of the Big 12’s 2020-21 fiscal year in May 2021.
“There were restrictions on the number of the fans, if any, who could attend games. There were also fewer games to televise during football season.”
Is the Big 12 projected to increase its revenue distributions in the future?
The Big 12 will soon add four schools — BYU, USC, Houston and Cincinnati — through expansion, a move announced last fall, while losing Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC in the coming years.
The league’s current TV contract with ESPN and Fox expires in 2025, and the conference is also looking to replace outgoing commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
With that in mind, Tulsa World’s Guerin Emig reported the league could see per-member revenue distributions around $50 million by 2025.
Bob Bowlsby and board chair Lawrence Schovanec wrap up Big 12 spring meetings with announcement of $42.6 mil per-school distribution. That figure could reach $50 mil by 2025, final year of league's current media deal.— Guerin Emig (@GuerinEmig) June 3, 2022
“The question is how much does the TV money drop once OU and Texas exit,” The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel said.
Earlier this year, consulting firm Navigate projected the average per-member payout estimates for the Power Five conferences through 2029, assuming the College Football Playoff expands to 12 — an idea that has been shelved for now.
In those projections, the Big 12 goes from third among P5 conferences to fifth in average revenue distribution during that time frame — assuming the league will be passed once Oklahoma and Texas leave, per The Athletic.
Despite this, Navigate projects that by 2029, the Big 12 will be distributing $57.5 million per member institution.