SEC Football: It’s Good to be the King

If you’re a college sports fan, and you know you are, then you’ve undoubtedly been pulled into the football versus basketball argument which revolves around two questions:

Is your school a football school or a basketball school?

Is your school’s conference a football conference or basketball conference?

Personally speaking, I consider my school to be a football school and my school’s conference to be a football conference. My program of choice is the Missouri Tigers and their conference is obviously the SEC.  Yes, Damien Bowman, we know all about geography and the Mason-Dixon Line and all of that stuff, but Mizzou is in the SEC. Trust me.

The reasons for Missouri being a football school and the SEC being a football conference are simple. For starters, Missouri couldn’t be worse on the basketball court. The football team may have faltered in 2015, but make no mistake about it; Missouri is all about football at the moment. And as for the conference, well, nobody would pin the reputation of the SEC on its basketball programs. In terms of both athletic and financial performance, the SEC is king of the football world.

Not only do I consider Missouri and the SEC football entities first and foremost, but I extend that bias to everyone’s school and conference of choice. Everyone’s school and conference should be driven by football. Like I said, it is a bias, but we all have a few and it’s easier to just admit it and move along in the conversation.

I respect schools whose primary money makers are top tier basketball teams and I do respect conferences whose positive reputations have been built upon the basketball court. But I have been transparent about my bias that football is king.

The 2015-2016 bowl season was a lucrative one for the SEC. Not only was Alabama a participant in the College Football Playoff, but Ole Miss also played in a New Year’s Six bowl game. When the payout from those high profile games was combined with the $51 million base payment for being a Power 5 conference, the total revenue created during the bowl season was roughly $63 million. Oh, and that isn’t even accounting for the $40 million the SEC receives just for playing in the Sugar Bowl nor does it account for the revenue brought in by the remaining 8 bowl games the conference had representatives in. Those are a lot of dollar signs.

College basketball is finishing up March Madness and the 2016 basketball post season has been good to the ACC. Teams from the ACC comprised half of the Elite Eight and, since you can do math, you know that means that the ACC makes up half of the Final Four.

Just as success in football creates a jolt to the bank account, so does success in basketball. The success of this year’s ACC basketball teams has created a record revenue stream for the conference. It’s not north of $63 million, but it’s still a nice total.

The ACC is clearly a basketball conference, at least based on the current success of its basketball teams and the SEC is clearly a football conference based on its compounding bank account. Being considered either a football conference or basketball conference is fine since either one will bring notoriety and a healthy paycheck.

But if the full picture is considered, football is king. And it’s good to be the king.

E-mail Seth at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @SethMerenbloom.


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