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UConn Men's Basketball

UConn tops TV ratings and earnings among Big East members

June 14, 2024
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An early release of Big East revenue data from The Paint Touches, a college basketball newsletter that focuses on Marquette and the Big East, shows that UConn and Creighton earned the highest league payouts in 2023. Overall, the league earned $50 million from FOX, its primary television partner, a $2 million increase from last year and up $20 million from its starting point in 2014.

Interestingly, “UConn’s 2023 payout, $6.37M was higher than the $6.25M they received in their final full payout from the AAC in 2019,” Andrei Gresa wrote.

This information arrives alongside the news that the Big East may sign a new TV partner for secondary rights, with games going on NBC Sports, TNT, or streaming on MAX or Peacock. Following the addition of UConn and the ratings success it has brought, the league surely expects to grow its TV revenue in the coming years. 

The Paint Touches points out that ratings and revenue from the television contract have steadily increased over the last 10 years, and previously reported that UConn had the three most-viewed games during the league’s regular season and six of the top 10. 

The second-largest revenue portion for the league came from NCAA Tournament credits, which made up 28 percent of 2023’s total revenue, nearly 24 million, followed by the Big East Tournament, which brings in $8 million, or 10 percent. The credits come from NCAA Tournament success, so that portion will grow for UConn over time. 

The league has nearly doubled its revenue from the tournament since 2014 and the growth in NCAA Tournament credit revenue has grown from $11 million to $24 million in nine years.

Despite this growth and positive momentum, as TPT notes, the Big East’s revenue is nowhere near the “power” conference payouts. Schools in the Big Ten or SEC are earning individually as much as the Big East as a whole and the Big 12 is currently in the process of growing its pie by selling league naming sponsorship rights and also potentially taking on private equity investment.

Further complicating matters, a recent court decision has allowed schools to begin revenue sharing to create a salary pool of up to $20 million to compensate student-athletes. Dan Hurley even mentioned this as a factor in his decision when he received an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Where’s that $20 million going to come from?” Hurley wondered out loud.

Ultimately, he made the decision to stay at UConn. But long-term concerns around the competitive landscape remain. 

Still, the addition of UConn to the new Big East seems to be working out well for both sides. The Husky program has been restored to its previous glory and seems poised to build even more on the legacy left by Jim Calhoun. Recruiting is going better than ever for Hurley and his staff, and they’ll go into this season as the premier storyline in the sport: chasing a historic third-straight title with a team that may be better than any of the previous ones.

The future looks bright for the Big East and UConn within it.

 
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