COLUMBIA — Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel has talked about how his team has adjusted to late kickoffs, which come with the Tigers playing most of their games on television.
Given the financial impact of playing on television, Pinkel’s bosses in the athletic department are probably hoping he has to make the adjustment next year too.
The Tigers have played nine games on either network or cable television, allowing them to pocket about $3.9 million from the Big 12 Conference’s television package.
“This year is probably the most appearances on TV we have ever had,” Missouri associate athletic director Tim Hickman said in an e-mail. “We have been at eight or nine once or twice. A more average number prior to the last couple years was four or five.”
Part of that is because of the multitude of television windows available to Big 12 schools. The conference has agreements with ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports Net and Versus to televise games each week, with one network usually televising two games a day.
Every member of the conference has had at least six games televised this season, which is impressive because the networks have a great deal of freedom to choose whatever game they wish to televise.
“Our television contract does not have a requirement that every institution appears,” Big 12 Conference spokesman Bob Burda said. “But we do try to cap the number of appearances on any one particular network at six.”
Burda said that during the nonconference season, road games are not included in the cap, because the conference does not control the television rights to those games.
Hickman said that at the start of the season, the conference makes an estimate as to how many games will be televised. Missouri then makes a monetary projection based on those numbers.
This year, a conference game on ABC netted $300,000 for Missouri, and a game on FSN or an ESPN network was worth $160,000. The Tigers did not play on Versus, which pays the same as FSN and ESPN. Burda said ESPN pays the same as FSN or Versus because it buys the rights from FSN for the games it chooses to show.
The financial figures are doubled for nonconference games. Missouri had two televised this season, against Illinois and Nevada.
“We budgeted two games on ABC and four on cable, with one of those being a nonconference,” Hickman said. “We are actually going to have one game on ABC and eight on cable, with two of those being double shares. If the number of league games televised are different than the preseason estimate, these per share numbers could go up or down.”
Burda said that the per share figures are determined after calculating the conference’s television revenue from the season. Fifty percent of that figure is divided and distributed equally among the 12 member schools. According to Hickman, that resulted in a guaranteed $2 million per school in 2008.
The other 50 percent is then distributed based on the number of television appearances in the regular season. In terms of overall appearances on the four main Big 12 networks, Missouri’s nine trailed only Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
That number won’t be affected by the Big 12 Championship game even if the Tigers win the Big 12 North title. Burda said that the money goes into the conference pool, but Hickman added that it is not paid to the participating teams like a regular season game is.
“That goes to the Big 12,” Hickman stated. “The conference gives each team a predetermined participation amount to cover expenses.”
Like the title game, a television appearance that comes from a bowl game provides no additional television money to the participating institutions.
“Each bowl pays a guarantee to the Big 12, and they keep their revenue streams, including TV,” Hickman stated. “Each school receives a predetermined payout to cover the expenses of traveling to the bowl.”
This season, Missouri reached its number of appearances through a high preseason ranking. Burda said that there is a direct correlation between on-field success and multiple television appearances.
“Typically, it’s the teams that are toward the top of the respective divisions,” Burda said.