For mid-majors, it sounds like TV money is the new playoffs.
According to the records, the American earned $42.179 million in postseason tournaments, including money generated from the NCAA Tournament, revenue from appearances in bowl games and a share of the College Football Playoff as mandated by the playoff management group.
The league received more than $20 million in revenue from its television and radio rights shared over a variety of networks, including ESPN and CBS Sports. The conference’s current media rights deal ends in 2020.
“The real game-changer for us would be TV because we’re just not getting anywhere near what we deserve in TV,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “It’s a throwback to that five-year ago period when we were very unstable and the whole situation was unstable and that’s just not remotely true now.
“I think at the time, I don’t think anyone realized how powerful our schools could become. We’ve established ourselves as a nationally relevant and respected conference and now it’s a question of making sure that results in a TV deal that we need to keep this going. It’s a mixture of exposure and revenue.”
I do not think “powerful” means what you think it means, brother.
Checking the NCAA attendance figures, here’s what the AAC brought to the table last season: sixth in per game average, almost 20,000 fewer than the fifth-place ACC, which was a drop of almost 3,000 per game from the previous year; Central Florida, its conference champion, playing an undefeated season in a large metropolitan area, mirrored the conference overall in drawing 20,000 fewer fans per game than the 30th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys did.
The same story is repeated with television broadcast ratings.
You want more money? You need more eyeballs.