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Big Ten teams to distribute record $51 million to schools in 2018

Michigan earns record revenues, but also reveals Big Ten will rake in bigger-than-expected bucks from new TV deal.

Budgetary numbers are usually never fun to pour over, let alone report on. But, as the Michigan Wolverines gave us a look at what took place in the 2017 fiscal year and what could be in store, we all got a glimpse of what to expect with new television contracts coming on.

The increased revenue from the ESPN and Fox contracts were bound to give the Big Ten a boost, but Michigan let the cat out of the bag early and is projecting a conference distribution of $51.1 million for the 2018 fiscal year. Yes, I said $51.1 million folks.

It’s a massive increase of $14.8 million for the fiscal year and beyond.

Let’s compare that to known numbers across the rest of the Power 5 conferences (for FY 2016).

ACC — $22.1 million

Big 12 — $28 million

Pac-12 — $28

SEC — $40.4 million

*per USA Today report

The $51.1 million is well over the estimated thought of per-school revenue when the deals were signed just over a year ago. In fact, ESPN estimated the deal was likely to come in the neighborhood of $43.8 million. That means the first year of revenue was off by just under $8 million per school. Additionally, the same report indicated the deal could reach as high as $54 million by the end of it. If so, the Big Ten is front-loading the crap out of this deal…or they are getting screwed in the escalators in the final years of the deal as well.

As for the Wolverines, they are expected to have “just” $182.4 million of revenue for the coming fiscal year. That year will start on July 1, 2017. In addition to the television revenue boost, Michigan also has a $6 million payout for the neutral site game it will play against Florida, helping to offset just six home football games of revenue.

Even that amount is a huge bump, as Wisconsin and LSU received just around $3 million each for their games in Houston and at Lambeau Field in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

It’s safe to say that Michigan, and the Big Ten, are going to be just fine when it comes to revenue under this new television deal. Good luck to the rest of the conferences keeping up with that kind of money in your deals you are locked in to for now.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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