I think the big question that nobody understands yet is:
"Can ESPN use their leverage with their other channels to force ESPN-SEC to be on the basic tier outside their own footprint?"
The B1G has to rely on fans to pressure cable companies to put their network on the basic tier @ $1/month. I think outside their footprint the cost drops to around $.20. This works well as they make good money in their home markets while getting exposure in the rest of the country.
The SEC has more weapons with ESPN. If ESPN told every cable company that ESPN/ESPN-SEC were a package deal it would pressure many to carry both. That would set an interesting precedent though similar things have been happening for years. Television entertainment is mostly owned by about 6 companies and all of them (CBS, Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom, Disney, and Comcast) are trying to get sports in their portfolio. As the cable companies learned long ago, nothing drives people to sign up for services more than sports. I know I would have cut my cable long ago if not for the fact I'd lose the ability to watch Ohio State football when it is on BTN or ESPN.
The only question is whether ESPN can use their other networks to force cable companies to sign up for a service their customers don't want. Networks have been pushing the edges of this for years and the cable companies are starting to push back. ESPN can't push too hard as I think a court would certainly rule against them if the cable companies could prove they were using unfair monopolistic pressure.
If that is the case then it comes down to households. Currently the numbers breakdown like this:
Big Ten Households:
26.9 Traditional Geography
2.0 New Jersey (Philadelphia is included in Traditional Geography - NYC is another 5+ million HH)
33.1 Total Households
15.9 Traditional Geography
2.8 Missouri (this is why I wanted them in the B1G and why the SEC was smart to get them)
8.6 Texas (I doubt ESPN-SEC will get all the markets - will Austin or El Paso care about A&M?)
27.3 Total Households
Things get confused in markets like St. Louis, Philadelphia or Charlotte but even giving the SEC the entire state of Texas (which won't happen), they still can't reach the B1G level of profitability in their market footprint. I'd expect the final payout to be around 20% less than BTN which is still a lot better than most other conferences for their 3rd tier content.