Power Five Conferences have about 2.9 billion reasons to save the college football season.
For the 2019 fiscal year, Power Five conferences brought in $2.9 billion in revenue, according to tax records obtained by USA Today, highlighting just how much money is at risk in potentially canceling the college football season.
According to USA Today, most of that revenue – a total which would certainly have been even higher for the 2021 fiscal year, if not for the pandemic – comes from television contracts, and about 80 percent of the of that revenue from TV deals comes from football.
The outlook for 2021 is uncertain and highly dependent on what happens with the football season. Television contracts provide the conferences with most of their revenue, and the Power Five’s TV deals get about 80% of their value from football, according to AJ Maestas, the CEO of Navigate, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in college and professional sports rights valuations.
Any games not played likely would result in lost revenue, Maestas said, with the per-game amount depending on which network has the rights to it. Any missed football game could cost a conference from $2 million to $5 million, AJ Maestas said (the CEO of Navigate, a Chicago-based firm that specializes in college and professional sports rights valuation).
Obviously, the decision won't be made solely – or even mostly – on financial considerations, but the reality is there is a lot of money at play in the decision about whether or not to play football. It's not a decision that will be made lightly.