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There is a report out there that appears to have started with a tweet from the Let's Play Hockey site.  That tweet indicated that each Big Ten school playing in the hockey conference would receive an additional $2 million dollars a year from the Big Ten Network.  That would essentially make each of the hockey programs revenue positive (or at least close), assuming the schools credited the extra cash to the hockey programs.

The linked article is on a Buckeye site, just saying, tweet, then Buckeyes, so who knows how real this is (I have not been able to find anything on the Big Ten site that would confirm this, but it's all pretty recent - showing up in the last couple of hours).  So in addition to talking about a hefty chunk of change for each of the Big Ten hockey schools it mentions that the BTN will broadcast 40 hockey games.  That's not terrible, depending on how they handle the live broadcasts, but it's still going to be less than schools like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc... are used to.  Minnesota has had every one of their games, home and away, broadcast each year, Wisconsin gets close, and Michigan has had years where they have had upwards of 20 games televised.  So spreading those 40 games out to the six schools, especially if they add in some of the bigger out of conference games early in the season, isn't going to leave a whole lot going to any one program.

The sweetener in this is that it mentions both Minnesota and Wisconsin being able to have any of their games not on the BTN being picked up by their respective Fox Sports networks (Fox Sports North for Minnesota and Fox Sports Wisconsin for the Badgers).  There is no mention of a similar situation for Michigan and Fox Sports Detroit, but given the history between FSD and Michigan I could certainly see a number of games being picked up there.  Of course FSD may also want to include MSU since there is a fairly large Spartan fan base in the Detroit area as well as Michigan fan base so that could take some games away from Michigan.  Not sure if Comcast could still get into the act here or not, I imagine if they paid up they could, but who knows now that the TV landscape is changing with the new conference alignments (or is it the conference alignments changing for the TV landscape).

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if this is announced officially by the Big Ten conference or if this is all a bunch of hooey, but if it's real, we are starting to see the beginnings of how things will fall out in next years hockey season.

Link: Take it for what it's worth4/29 7:30 PM | IP: Logged
I'll see if I can get some confirmation from sources on this. That's a nice chunk of change for the hockey programs but I'm not sure what it's aim is. Most of the Big Ten hockey programs are already self-sustainable. Maybe to increase recruiting budgets? Is that necessary? No. Facilities? Maybe. Coaches' salaries. I guess it couldn't hurt to have an extra $2 million each year 
4/29 8:39 PM | IP: Logged Possible it's to try and entice some other programs to make the jump to the Varsity level?

Posted from

Posted on 4/29 9:50 PM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by GoTJThatsMyTJ:
Possible it's to try and entice some other programs to make the jump to the Varsity level?

Posted from

Perhaps, but then you'd be better off just investing that money into programs at Illinois or Iowa or Indiana. 
4/30 12:15 PM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by MichaelSpath:

Originally posted by GoTJThatsMyTJ:
Possible it's to try and entice some other programs to make the jump to the Varsity level?

Posted from

Perhaps, but then you'd be better off just investing that money into programs at Illinois or Iowa or Indiana. 

If this pans out I couldn't come up with a good reason why they were doing it, other to maybe cushion the blow of taking teams out of established conferences and the rivals that they had built up in those conferences over the years.  Not a great reason, but it's a reason :)

Can't see that it would really be enough to start up a program from scratch, it took $88 million to do that at PSU and unless you already have an ice rink on campus that's fully functional and ready for D1 hockey, it would probably take close to that for anyone else to stand up a program.  I suppose if you had all the facilities and were right there ready to go, it might offset some start up costs and help offset the inevitable inclusion of an additional women's team to adhere to Title IX, but I just can't see the extra money being enough to push a school over into starting up a varsity level D1 hockey team.

I know Michigan is self supporting and I assume Minnesota and Wisconsin is.  Not sure about MSU, but I would think if they aren't they are really close.  OSU is a huge question mark, but my guess would be that the hockey program loses money.  They get biggish crowds when Michigan or MSU comes to town, but that arena is really empty for most other games.  PSU I would expect is going to take some time to build a fan base and get into the black; it's not like there is a lack of hockey options out East.

Still haven't found anything on the Big Ten site to make this whole thing official so it could just be another internet/twitter kurfuffle that leads to nothing.
4/30 7:07 PM | IP: Logged

As I understood it, it was the other way around. After Penn State decided to add hockey, the Big Ten Network came to the ADs and said that we would really like you to form a Big Ten Hockey league.  They wanted a Big Ten hockey league to help fill all the air time and make more money.  The ADs of the existing schools said what in it for our schools. The Big Ten Network said that they would share some of the incremental revenue. 

So the reason the BTN is paying the schools is because that is what the schools negotiated. I have no inside information so I could be totally wrong but this direction makes more sense to me than the alternatives. The controlling interest in Big Ten Network is Fox and they certainly have a goal to maximizing profits. I doubt they would pass out $2,000,000 checks just to be nice.

5/1 1:51 PM | IP: Logged
In any event, that is good news all-around for the Big Ten Hockey Conference.  Any time you can increase revenue and exposure for college hockey, it's welcomed.  Things like this will go a long way towards legitimizing the conference on the national stage, since no one outside of certain circles takes the sport seriously anyway.  Which is a shame, because college hockey is a fantastic sport!
5/6 8:56 AM | IP: Logged
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