Money drives the Big Ten into twelve
The Big Ten conference announced its plan to create two separate divisions in football. The conference started with ten teams, went to eleven with the addition of Penn State in 1990, and will now have twelve teams with the addition of the University of Nebraska. No name change, just some new matchups.
Conference officials say traditional rivalries will continue, such as Michigan and Ohio State's end of the season gridiron matchup. The only difference is, the Wolverines and Buckeyes could meet again in a Big Ten Conference title game the next week.
ESPN reports "the expansion put the conference in a delicate balancing act, trying to add to its coffers without diminishing its rich traditions, none bigger than Michigan vs. Ohio State."
So how much money does the conference stand to gain from the changes? The Chicago Tribune reported last May that schools in the Big Ten receive about $22 million from television revenues (the conference owns 51% of the Big Ten Network), licensing, bowl games, and the NCAA basketball tournament:
If the Big Ten expands and chooses the right schools, conference officials have seen estimates of television revenues doubling by 2015-16.
Sounds like the potential for $44 million a year per school. Let us know if you have better figures!