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SEC, ACC lead the way in Power 5 revenue gains for 2021 fiscal year

Nick Schultz05/20/22
Article written by:On3 imageNick Schultz


Tom McMillen, who advocates on policy issues facing the 131 FBS athletic departments, foresees big changes for the NCAA. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

As the sports world started to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2021 fiscal year, the question was how revenue would be affected. Most leagues saw numbers increase — but not all, according to USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz.

The SEC and ACC played the most football games during that time and saw the biggest increases from fiscal year 2020. The SEC brought in $833 million — an increase of $105 million from the 2020 fiscal year. Meanwhile, the ACC made $578.3 million, which is $82 million more than the league brought in the previous year.

The Big 12 and Big 10 had more of a down year, though. The Big 10 made $679.8 million — second-most of the Power 5 conferences. However, that’s $89 million less than the league made in fiscal year 2020. The Big 12 brought in $356 million in 2021, but that’s $53 million less than 2020.

The Pac-12 had the lowest revenue of the P5 leagues, making $343.5 million in fiscal year 2021. That’s a steep $190 million decrease from the previous year, and that goes back to playing fewer games. The Pac-12 played the least amount of football games of the P5 leagues.

How revenue gains impacts payouts to each Power 5 school

The SEC made its payouts public in February, but the other four leagues’ payouts per school haven’t been available until Berkowitz’s report.

The Big Ten had the biggest payouts to its member institutions, distributing between $43.1 million and $49.1 million to each school. Still, it’s a decrease from 2020 when the league paid out about $54.3 million to each of its longest-tenured members. Commissioner Kevin Warren, who was in his first full calendar year as commissioner after succeeding Jim Delany, made $3.5 million.

The ACC paid out between $35 million and $38.1 million to its member schools — an increase from 2020 when schools got between $30.9 million and $37 million. It’s important to note Notre Dame competed as a football member of the league that year and got $10.8 million. Former commissioner John Swofford made more than $3.6 million during the 2020 calendar year, according to Berkowitz, which is a decrease from the $4 million he made in 2019.

The Big 12’s numbers were similar to the ACC’s, paying out between $34.7 million and $36.5 million to its schools. It’s a decrease from 2020 when payouts were in the $37 million to $40.5 million range. Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also took a pay cut, making $3.1 million in 2020 after taking home $4.4 million in 2019.

Finally, the Pac-12’s revenue took a massive hit, dropping from $33.6 million in 2020 to $19.8 million in 2021. Former commissioner Larry Scott, who’s since left the league, also took a significant pay cut as part of the down year.