SEC Revenues Closer to NCAA Thanks to TV and Overhead: Data Viz


If money is power in varsity sports, then the Southeastern Conference argued for varsity supremacy long before its recent poaching of Texas and Oklahoma.

Over the past 15 years, the Birmingham, Alabama-based nonprofit has steadily closed the annual income gap with the Indianapolis-headquartered NCAA. In the early 2000s, the SEC was making about a quarter of what the NCAA reported, but in recent years, the conference has pocketed nearly two-thirds of total NCAA revenue.

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For the tax year between July 2018 and August 2019, the SEC generated $ 720 million, compared to $ 1.12 billion in revenue claimed by the NCAA. The trendline has long suggested that the SEC would eventually overtake the NCAA (and the Big Ten) as America’s most lucrative college sports organization.

Even before he won his two big defectors, the SEC’s new televised deal with ESPN would likely have single-handedly launched him into the NCAA 10-figure club by 2024. All of this, although the SEC has a lot less overhead and less liability. Last tax year, for example, the SEC employed less than 10% of the NCAA workforce; the SEC has also avoided having to pay the legal and mountainous settlement fees that have eaten away at the association’s nest egg.

On the other side of the ledger, the SEC found a much more diverse revenue stream. As the NCAA floats its business on the rights to broadcast March Madness, the SEC has, in addition to its television and radio deals, made steady gains in revenue from post-season events and other opportunities. For the 2019 tax year, the SEC earned $ 210 million in playoff events, up from just $ 89 million in 2010.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that NCAA President Mark Emmert recently endorsed the idea of ​​decentralizing varsity sports and that the association is ceding much of its governing authority to conferences. He earns roughly the same annual pay as SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, whose job creates far fewer headaches.

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