Big payday for SEC schools: $309.6 million

The SEC said Friday it will distribute more than $300 million in revenue to its 14 member schools for the 2013-14 school year, a league-record amount that figures to increase sharply in the future with the launch of a conference TV network.

This year’s distribution of $309.6 million is up from $304.7 million last year, the smallest increase in five years. Still, it’s up dramatically from $165.9 million in 2009.

The distribution consists of revenue generated by football and basketball TV contracts, the SEC Championship football game, football bowl games, the SEC men’s basketball tournament and the conference’s share of NCAA Championship events.

Each SEC member will get approximately $20.9 million, not including the portion of bowl money that previously went to participating schools.

The SEC Network, a partnership between the league and ESPN, is scheduled to launch Aug. 14. Once the network gets full distribution and covers start-up costs, it is expected to become another financial windfall for the SEC, although neither the conference nor ESPN has publicly projected its revenue potential.

“We’re optimistic,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “We believe the product is so good. We believe the network is so strong. We believe the network will be national. We believe it will generate revenue as it grows over the next decade.

“But … how much that will add to the revenue through the conference to our institutions is really speculative.”

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said he doesn’t know when the SEC Network will produce revenue for the school, or how much. Because of that uncertainty, he said, the UGA Athletic Association prepared its budget for the 2014-15 school year without including any revenue from the network.