Commentary

College Athletes Are Getting Paid - Will TV Networks Have To Kick In, Too?

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision allowing athletes to come closer to cashing in on their college sports career, more sports TV content could ultimately see a sharp price increase.

We say closer for this reason: The court now allows colleges colleges to offer "education-related" payments to student-athletes.

Football and basketball are at the top of the list when it comes to college sports. But there are many others -- like 1,000 or so. According to some estimates, only 25 of those college sports actually are "profitable," with football and basketball heading the list.

The argument goes deep when it comes to money. Virtually everyone in the business chain of college sports, coaches, concessionaires, sports gear providers, among others, get paid. But not athletes.

So will those billions in right fees major TV networks pay to colleges/universities through the NCAA rise -- even more? That is yet to be determined.

TV networks might not be the only entities that need to pay more. Colleges will too, if they actually "pay" athletes. In turn, colleges may demand a bigger cut from those organizations that negotiate on their behalf with the TV networks.

All this comes as big TV networks, as well as their budding new TV streaming platforms, not only seek more top-flight on-demand entertainment content, but sports programming as well.

The court decision will add to the controversy of ever-higher sports right fees. The most glaring is the $118 billion, 11-year-plus deals the NFL struck collectively with TV networks, including Amazon, for its exclusive airing of “Thursday Night Football.”

Right now, some of the biggest TV deals are for the college football playoffs and the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament. CBS and Turner Sports pay a little more than $800 million a year for the “March Madness” basketball event. ESPN is six years into a 12-year deal valued at $470 million per year for the college football playoff series.

Here are some big numbers to consider going forward when it comes to paying college athletes: The Department of Education reported college athletic programs collected $14 billion in total revenue in 2019, up from $4 billion in 2003. And that doesn't include income from broadcasting rights and corporate sponsorships.

So brace yourself for some definite major college sports TV-related higher fee adjustments — not a jump ball.

2 comments about "College Athletes Are Getting Paid - Will TV Networks Have To Kick In, Too?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 1, 2021 at 2:32 p.m.

    At the end don't be surprised if the fans who attend the games demand to share in those TV and gambling bucks. Why not? After all, having a real fan in the seats as opposed to a Covid-19 cardboard dummy---adds to the "optics" and enhances the games for the TV viewers--- so why shouldn't the fans get paid too?

  2. Joe Uva from Gull Point Advisors, July 7, 2021 at 6:08 p.m.

    I LOVE IT Ed!!!! Absolutely, without fans there is nothing!!! I want in!!!

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