Forbes Magazine which is prides it magazine on discussions about money and wealth have the Big 12 schools making the most money at the moment of all the power leagues. We can all speculate, however, most sports financial experts that I have read or articles, do not have any type of prediction the Big 12 will slip that far behind in the future.
This contract was negotiated with Mizzou and A&M. When they renegotiate they'll lose the St Louis market, and monopoly on the State of Texas. TCU and WVU will hurt the numbers rather than help.
I am guessing most believe these conference networks will make all that revenue and until the actual revenue is there, I am just not convinced the divide will be that great between each of the five power leagues to make that much of a difference. The Big Ten has many years for its network to be in place and divide is not that big of a difference to be a concern.
The Big Ten's is making money and with NYC/DC coming on board its growing, the B1G estimated a 40 million dollar per school payout in 2020 (even if they are off by 5 million that's a significant increase over every other conference). The SEC is projecting profitability in 2015 (2014 only on 1/2 a year and included startup costs) and the P12N is also projecting profitability (even w/o any addition distribution deals) in 2015 as well (though theirs is the most iffy of the 3). There is a reason the ACC is begging for a network.
The area that I would be of most concern for the Big 12 or any of the Power leagues is not placing a good product on the field when the new TV contracts are up for renewal of Tier 1 and Tier 2 sports.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 sports which for the most part never will hit the conference networks or individual school networks in the case of the Big 12 schools, are the area where the real money is made. Should this divide occur in any of the power leagues there would be much to be concerned on future stability.
I agree but Texas/Oklahoma will always sell. If Baylor, Tech, KSU, OSU have a good decade then it will be fine, but that's unlikely to happen IMO. Still the marketability of the B12 is less than it was while every other conference's marketability has grown. Its unlikely that 6 state schools in 3 states, plus 2 private/religious schools, and 2 outliers can match the PAC12 (10 state schools in 6 states plus 2 privates), B1G (13 state school in 11 states plus 1 private), or SEC (13 states in 11 states plus 1 private)...maybe the ACC but I doubt it (its really not a fair fight comparing the East Coast to farm land). The B1G saw this happening to them and decided that they needed to branch out East to avoid becoming the dying rust belt/farm land conference.
Just reviewing all the investments the Big 12 schools are placing into football facilities and other areas of their sports programs, I do not at the moment have any reason to believe the Big 12 will not continue to be a major player for the long term in college big time sports.
The investments are long LONG overdue for many of the schools. Adding 10+ million to most of the AthDept's annual budgets also helps.
Primarily adding suites (>/=10% increase):
Kansas - Luxury Boxes/Modernization (pre50K-post55K)
Texas - End Zone Project/Modernization (pre 100K-post110K)
Oklahoma - End Zone Project/Modernization (pre80K-post85K)
TX Tech - End Zone Project (pre60K-post65K)
Not adding much:
Oklahoma St - None planned yet/rumors only (just did major upgrade in 2006/pre45K-post60K)
West Virginia - Team Areas, Concourse/Concessions (60K)
Major upgrades adding seats (<10% increase):
Iowa St - End Zone Project (pre55K-post65K)
Kansas St - Completely rebuilding stadium, multi-year project (pre50K-post60K)
Major upgrades, not adding seats:
TCU - Completely rebuilt stadium, multi-year project (pre45K-post45K)
Baylor - Brand New Stadium (old50K-new45K)
UT/OU/KU/TT/OSU/WVU are comfortable with their stadiums and are simply doing regular upgrades/maintenance to keep them up to date. These schools feel confident that they will be Power Conference schools in the future.
ISU/KSU/TCU/BU are trying to renovate their stadiums to keep up with most of the power conferences, they are less sure of their status in the new structure and want to do everything they can to make themselves more appealing so that UT/OU don't feel the need to leave them or if they do they want to be attractive to the other Big3 conferences. In Baylor/TCU and Houston/Tulane's case(40K/30K) case they've realized that while having a lower stadium capacity hurts them, its better to look good on TV with less empty seats than it is to have a quarter full 70K seat stadium like Rice/UAB.
My point is that, just because people are upgrading their stadiums does not guarantee that they'll be a P5 power. If the Texhoma 4 go West and KU/WVU abandon ship their P5 status doesn't survive just by picking up Houston, SMU, Tulsa, Tulane, Memphis, NILL, BYU, CSU (if they get their stadium, if not Boise).
The Big 12's stability depends on 3-4 schools Texas, Oklahoma, and to a lesser degree Kansas/West Virginia.
If Texas decides to leave to conference's "Power" status is over. That being said Texas has a great setup with ESPN and the LHN (now on every major providers except DirectTV, who renegotiates the full ABC/ESPN/Disney contract in December where it will most likely get picked up, and Comcast, which is likely not happening anytime soon unless the merger with TWC somehow adds the LHN). They also have great exposure and money rolling in from the Tier 1/2 games on ABC/FOX which will likely keep up with the other P5s. The issue with Texas is mostly competition. Fans don't wants to spend a lot of money to drive from DFW, Houston, San Antonio to Austin every other Saturday to seen watch MOST of their Big 12 games, typically the home schedule has 1 good OOC game and maybe 2 good (not great) Big12 games. Moving to a bigger/better conference will not only help pads our stats (as round robin hurts conference rankings) and get us more ranked v ranked games but will also bring in more power schools that will drive ticket sales no matter how good/bad the teams are.
Oklahoma is the school, more so than Texas, that may spur the move to another conference. They are making less money than they should, and also suffer from the same issue as Texas in ticket sales and game attendance (people drive from all over OK, and even up of DFW). They almost jumped last time and I think the PAC12 won't turn them down come 2025 and OU/OSU are quietly making tons of academic upgrades in order to get OU close to AAU consideration and OSU into tier 1 research consideration.
Kansas will leave for the B1G or SEC, WVU will leave for SEC/ACC. These may not hurt (WVU is easily replaced if the rest remain, but KU could spur UT/OU to review their options).