Before we begin I feel it only fair to let you know a couple of things, so that I might not unnecessarily waste your time. First, I am a University of Texas alum and am probably guilty of characterizing more than a few of the bad traits associated with that term. Second, if you’d rather go on believing that big ol’ mean Texas gets the lion’s share of everything in the Big XII Lite, despite evidence to the contrary, then you’re probably better off skipping this post all together. Or just go ahead and reply the standard “Tuck Fexas” or something else along those lines.
For the rest of you this may be a bit of an eye opener.
First, all this information came from ESPN’s database here: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=4722523 .
I realize that ESPN is hardly the bastion of credibility, but this information was actually obtained by the “Outside the Lines” crew, who are usually better than their standard World Wide Leader brethren. Also this information does not include private schools, so no Rice, Stanford, Baylor or USC, etc. Lastly I believe this information is from 2008, so it is not the most up-to-date, but I believe is still useful. Lastly ESPN did not include all revenue or expenditure sources, thus the true total(s) will not equal the categories’ total(s). I believe most of the difference in revenue comes from things such as student fees, state related funds and in-stadium advertising - things of that nature.
Okay, so let’s start debunking this myth. What myth? Well that’d be the myth repeatedly seen lofted about throughout the interwebs that Big XII affords Texas more revenue and power than any other team in the Big XII. This seems to be a pretty common opinion. And it’s completely lazy. Frankly it’s the kind of blind thinking I’d expect to see on College Gameday; and it seems to have invaded all the Big XII internet blogs and forums. This includes Longhorn boards too. It’s also absolutely wrong.
I believe all of this “confusion” (willful confusion IMO), in regards to Texas’ ability to bank comes from this number: $120.3 million. That was Texas’ total revenue for 2008, good for #2 in the country. By comparison, KU’s figure for that same year was $82.9 million. That’s a $37.4 million difference between #2 (UT) and #14 (KU). I know some of you just said “Aha!” and possibly thrust a triumphant fist into the air. First, that’s getting really excited about something posted on the internet and perhaps you should look into getting some hobbies. I hear knitting is soothing for the soul. Second, let’s take a little closer look at those numbers.
Let’s start by looking at ticket sales. Texas earned $44.7 M from ticket sales, which lead the nation by more than 4 million dollars. Kansas earned $17.6 M from ticket sales, good for 22nd in the country. So, even though Kansas was in the top 25 in terms of ticket sales, UT still earned $27.1 M more. I suppose you could argue that the Big XII is responsible for strong ticket sales for UT, but I don’t know how strong that argument would be. Regardless, such an extreme discrepancy in ticket sales cannot be traced to Texas favoritism in the Big XII alone.
Okay so ticket sales account for 37% of UT’s revenue. Another 29% comes from donations. Texas earned $35.1 M in donations for 2008, which was 4th most in the country according to ESPN. Kansas, you might be surprised to learn, earned $37.1 M in donations, good for 3rd in the country. That’s right, according to the database Kansas earned 2 million dollars more in donations than Texas. Obviously donations cannot be tied directly to the Big XII so there can’t really be an argument that Texas is in a favorable donation position because of their conference. And if you could somehow make such an argument, well, KU made more in donations. So there.
Texas also receives another $16.6 M from licensed products. That’s again tops in the nation, and again by a margin of more than $4 million. Kansas, for their part, made $3.1 M from licensed products, which was 34th in the country. Again I don’t think you could make a reasonable jump to Texas’ substantially larger income from licensed products stemming from being the belle of the Big XII.
And now we get to my two favorites. Texas, minus its pending UT-centric television network, received $191 K from local radio/internet rights. That’s 49th in the nation. Did your jaw just drop on the floor? Let me explain before your head explodes. Texas negotiated their current radio contract when they 1) weren’t excelling at really any sport, 2) there was only one sports station in Austin and 3) they were in the 90's. Add to that the University of Texas feels that expanding their brand by providing quality, free content on the internet is more valuable than subscription fees and you get a very low local rights figure. Obviously with their own network this number will change. But for right now Texas pulls in very little in this category. Kansas on the other hand, makes $6.9 M in local radio/internet rights. That’s 5th best in the country. Perhaps KU needs to take a look at creating their own network? A quick glance at donations and local media rights would lend some credence to the idea that KU could support a dedicated network.
Then we come to the real crux of the issue: revenue from the NCAA/Conference (ESPN does not separate them). Texas ranked 21st in the country with $11.3 M generated from the NCAA and Big XII directly. Kansas ranked 20th in the country, raking in $11.3 M themselves, but also about 10 K more than Texas. So the Big XII actually produced MORE revenue for Kansas than it did for Texas. Oh and you’re not alone. Texas ranked 4th amongst Big XII schools in revenue created by the NCAA/Conference.
Incidentally, Texas’ expenditures totaled $111 million (3rd in NCAA). Thus Texas was left with about $9 M in “profit”, despite their extraordinary revenue. Kansas? Well theirs was $65.7 M., creating a $17.2 M windfall; or about double what Texas made.
So what does all this mean? Well it means that I’m a long-winded douche, but you knew that when I told you I was an UT alum. It also means that whining about Texas getting some kind of unfair advantage by way of the Big XII’s by-laws is, quite simply, mis-informed bitching. Look if you want to complain about Texas’ unfair natural advantages, go right ahead. Want to talk about how UT fans are arrogant, obnoxious and maintain unrealistic expectations? Guilty. You want to complain that the Big XII moved their office headquarters to Dallas? That’s fine – but I’d counter that more than 70% of the Big XII’s population is located in the state of Texas and that it makes sense to put the headquarters where almost three-fourths of their population is located. At least then we could have a sensible argument. But when you say things about how Texas is going to be making “even more money” thanks to the “new” Big XII television deal, you sound like a pawn buying the b.s. that Dr. Tom’s selling. Texas was going to make more money than Kansas regardless of conference generated revenue, because Texas makes more money than Kansas (or anyone) in ticket sales and product sales. You want equality? Build bigger stadiums, show up to more games, and buy some damn t-shirts. Or you know, just demand your athletic department charge more for tickets. The fact is there is no definitive guarantee that Texas (or OU or a&m for that matter) will get a bigger piece of the pie in the Big XII Lite. The same by laws that were in place are still in place. You want to make as much money as Texas in the new TV deal? Get on TV more. Win some games. Beat OU. Win the conference. The only one’s stopping KU from becoming the richest university in the conference is KU.
Anyway, thanks for the time.