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The Bowl Championship Series will distribute more than $174 million from its five bowl games, an increase of 22 percent over what was paid out last year, and a slightly higher percentage this year is going to the Big Six conferences.
2011 BCS payouts Automatic qualifier conferences $145.2M Non-automatic qualifier conferences $24.72M
Of the $174.07 million that the BCS will distribute, 83.4 percent of that money will go to the automatic qualifier conferences — the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC. Those six leagues will share $145.2 million.
The total payout is well more than the $142.5 million that the BCS distributed last year, of which 81 percent went to the major conferences.
The additional revenue comes from the BCS' new media contract with ESPN, which pays an average of $125 million annually, up from the $82.5 million average from the previous four years with Fox Sports.
2011 BCS Payouts Automatic-qualifier conferences Big Ten $27.2 million Pac-10 $27.2 million SEC $27.2 million ACC $21.2 million Big 12 $21.2 million Big East $21.2 million TOTAL $145.2 million Non-automatic-qualifier conferences Mountain West $12.75 million Western Athletic $4.05 million Conference USA $3.34 million Mid-American $2.64 million Sun Belt $1.94 million TOTAL $24.72 million Others FCS conferences* $2.25 million Notre Dame $1.7 million Army $100,000 Navy $100,000 TOTAL $4.15 million Total Revenue Distribution $174.07 million
Note: According to the BCS formula, each automatic-qualifier conference received a base of $21.2 million and each additional at-large team made another $6 million for its conference. Because TCU was an automatic qualifier, based on its position in the BCS standings, it generated an additional $12 million for the non-AQ conferences. Each conference determines how to split its revenue.* Each of nine FCS conferences receive $250,000.Sources: BCS and the conferences
The Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC are the big winners this year, with $27.2 million each, because they put two teams apiece in the BCS games. The ACC, Big East and Big 12 will each receive $21.2 million.
Undefeated TCU represented the non-automatic qualifier conferences in the Rose Bowl, which helped that group of five non-AQ conferences earn $24.72 million. The Mountain West, TCU's conference, takes the lion's share of that because of the Horned Frogs' appearance.
Last year, the non-AQ conferences shared a total of $24 million with two teams — TCU and Boise State — making it into the BCS. The non-AQ's share went up this year even though just one team made it because of the increases in the TV revenue from ESPN.
Nine NCAA Division I conferences in FCS, Notre Dame, Army and Navy share $4.15 million. Each conference determines how to split its revenue.
"Everybody in Division I football is better off because of the BCS," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS. "We have the best regular season in sports, where every week is a playoff. The student athletes get a rewarding multiday bowl experience. And each conference has autonomy to divide its revenue according to its own formula."
The BCS' payout is generated from the media deal with ESPN and other revenue (tickets, merchandise, local sponsorships, etc.) from the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose bowls that they contribute to the payout total. That revenue is held in an escrow account at Heartland Bank in Leawood, Kan., which then disburses the funds.
The BCS' expenses, such as game cancellation insurance, staffing, printing, postage and the cost to manage the weekly standings, come out of the money paid to the AQ conferences.
The BCS' payout should remain fairly constant for the next three years under the ESPN agreement. An escalator of about 3 percent is built into the rights fee, so some small increases are expected.