2014-15 CFP Revenue Distribution

College Football Playoff: Conference Payouts

2014-15 CFP Revenue DistributionUPDATE: ACC, SEC, Big XII, Sun Belt, Pac-12 and Big Ten distribution has been added below. Additional conference models will be added as available.

Last week, I shared the revenue distribution model for the first year of the College Football Playoff. Now that pairings have been announced, we know how it works out for each conference (and yes, the Orange Bowl pays more than the CFP due to the nature of its contract – and next year when the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowls aren’t hosting semifinals, they’ll have larger payouts, as detailed at the end).

Keep in mind that all of this money goes to the conference, not to the team playing in the game. Most conferences split it equally between all 12-14 teams with an equal share also going to the conference office (although some give a bonus to the team participating in the game).

Power Five:

ACC

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for FSU (Rose Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$27.5 million to the conference for Georgia Tech (Orange Bowl)

Total: $83.5 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: all bowl revenue is divided equally after expense allotments for the participating teams and is included in annual distribution along with other conference revenue. The only exception is Notre Dame (as it relates to football revenue), which is handled separately under a conference agreement that has not been made public.

Big XII

$50 million base to the conference

$4 million to the conference for TCU (Peach Bowl)

$4 million to the conference for Baylor (Cotton Bowl)

Total: $58 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: Bowl revenues are divided evenly between the 10 member institutions after subsidies are provided to participating institutions.

Big Ten

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Ohio State (Sugar Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Michigan State (Cotton Bowl)

Total: $60 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: all bowl revenue is distributed equally between member institutions (taking into account financial integration plans for newer members) after a pre-determined amount for travel and related expenses is provided to participating institutions.

Pac-12

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Oregon (Rose Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Arizona (Fiesta Bowl)

Total: $60 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: divided equally between all members.

SEC

$50 million base to the conference

$6 million to the conference for Alabama (Sugar Bowl – CFP semifinal)

$4 million to the conference for Ole Miss (Peach Bowl)

$27.5 million to the conference for Mississippi State (Orange Bowl)

Total: $87.5 million to the conference

Conference distribution model: For bowl games with receipts of $4,000,000 – $5,999,999, the participating team retains $1.475 million (Ole Miss), plus a travel allowance determined by SEC. For bowl games with receipts of $6 million or more, the participating team receives $2 million (Alabama and Mississippi State), plus a travel allowance determined by the SEC. If an SEC team makes it to the championship game, it receives another $2.1 million, plus travel allowance. The remainder of the revenue from these bowls is divided 15 ways – one share for each of the 14 SEC teams and one share for the conference office. There’s also a distribution method for bowls with lower payouts, but I’m not covering that here.

Group of Five:

American

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

C-USA

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

MAC

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

Mountain West

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

$4 million to the conference for Boise State (Fiesta Bowl)

Sun Belt

$12 million base to the conference (1/5th of $60 million, per Group of Five formula)*

Conference distribution model: equal division after travel subsidies.

* Based on reports from several sources, and also detailed in this article. The Group of Five have another $15 million to split, which sources tell me they will split according to computer rankings. The conference whose teams rank the highest in the aggregate will receive $5 million, the conference in second place $4 million, the conference in third place $3 million, the conference in fourth place $2 million and the conference in last place $1 million. It is unclear which computer rankings, or combination of computer rankings, will be used to make this determination. However, varying reports about the Group of Five formula are circulating. I’ll update this with anything new I learn.

Keep in mind that two of the contract bowls – the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl – are semifinal sites, meaning their contracts with the Big Ten/Pac-12 and SEC/Big XII, respectively, are not in play this year. In the years those games are played, each of those conferences will receive $40 million for playing in those games.

For full details on the payouts, including travel expenses and distributions to independents, and a comparison to the last year of the BCS, see this post.

17 thoughts on “College Football Playoff: Conference Payouts”

  1. The author is using the old 2013 payout formula, the Peach now pay’s, starting this year, more than the Orange or Rose. The author has obviously placed the decimal in the wrong place on Georgia Tech and Mississippi State’s share.

  2. The Peach no longer has a contract with any specific conference. This year and next it pays $4MM. In the ’16-17 season it will pay $6MM as a semifinal. It is on equal footing with the Cotton and the Fiesta in terms of no conference ties. These three bowls pay $4MM when they are not a semifinal and $6MM when they are a semifinal.

    The decimal is in the right place for the Orange. The Orange is contracted primarily with the ACC, who is guaranteed one spot along with $27.5MM in years the Orange is not a semifinal. It is also contracted with the SEC and the B1G, which are each guaranteed 3 Orange Bowl berths in the next 12 years. The ACC’s opponent in the remaining 6 years is up for grabs between the SEC, B1G, and Notre Dame (whoever has the highest ranking team that is not in the playoff and is not a conference champion. Notre Dame can only earn a maximum of 2 visits, but they are not guaranteed any.

    The SEC and Big XII will each pocket $40MM from the Sugar in years when it is not a semifinal. Similarly, the P12 and the B1G will each pocket $40MM from the Rose in years when it is not a semifinal. Thus, the major money war is between the SEC and the B1G as to who gets the Orange Bowl slots beyond the guaranteed 3.

  3. Confirms ACC will be the weakest conference in money payouts overall. If John Swofford was smart, he would have negotiated that the Orange Bowl pay a split of 70/30 in favor of the ACC. (38.5 mil to the ACC and 16.5 mil to the opposing team).

    1. I agree. Rough math of dividing the main payout by the number of conference members suggests the Big 12 has about the richest payout per member. This is also true with their main TV contracts that deliver $250 million per year that is divided to its 10 members ($25 million each). I believe there is more money that comes in from the NCAA basketball tournament which is again shared among members.

      There seems to be this push to expand the Big 12 just to claim they have 12 or 14 teams like other power conferences. Unless there are HUGE increases in the overall TV contracts, why would existing members want to give up a few million per year? It’s hard to compete as it is and the loss of that kind of money would mean some tough choices.

      Bigger is not always better. Sometimes the financial gains from being in a smaller conference are worth way more.

  4. Sometimes you need to spend some money upfront to invest and grow the brand to make even more money later.
    I believe this is what the B1G did when they went to 14 with Rutgers and Maryland.

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