The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop the SEC from bringing in more revenue in 2019-20 than it did the previous fiscal year.
The conference announced Thursday that it had generated $657.7 million in revenue. That’s up $6 million from 2018-19 and averages out to $45.5 million per school across the 14 athletic departments in the conference.
The 2019-20 fiscal year ended on Aug. 31. The conference said the money comes from its TV contracts, bowl games, the College Football Playoff, SEC championship game, NCAA championships and the SEC men’s basketball tournament in addition to a “supplemental surplus distribution.”
The SEC’s basketball tournament included just two games on Wednesday, March 11. The rest of the tournament was called off as the pandemic shut down the sports world.
“We are proud of the support our 14 member universities are able to provide to our student-athletes as a direct result of the revenue distributed through the Southeastern Conference,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “The SEC’s conference-wide commitment to the student-athlete experience is profound and translates into superior instruction, training, equipment, academic counseling, medical care, mental health and wellness support and life-skills development.”
How will pandemic affect 2020-21 revenue?
The bowl game revenue generated by schools was down approximately $7 million from 2018-19.
The SEC will presumably rank with the Big Ten as one of the two richest conferences in college sports yet again. The Big Ten had over $780 million in revenue in 2018-19 and there’s no reason to think that number will decrease substantially in 2019-20 given the SEC’s revenue total.
Revenue figures for the Big Ten and the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 will be released later in 2021. Judging by the SEC’s revenue figures, it’s likely that the financial impacts of the pandemic won’t be felt in conference revenue distributions until the 2020-21 fiscal year. That year will include the 2020 football season, a season that was abbreviated for many schools because of the ongoing pandemic.
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