SEC football is indeed doing well in the fiscal department, setting a conference record with a tax return that listed $314.5 million in revenue for the 2012-13 season, according to a report from Steve Berkowitz of USA Today.
That season—the SEC's first with Texas A&M and Missouri—included the birth of Heisman winner Johnny Football, featured one of the best conference championship games in recent memory between Alabama and Georgia and saw Nick Saban's Crimson Tide win the national championship in coasting fashion over Notre Dame, 42-14.
Not a bad year, huh?
Per the report, the increase in revenue also helped increase the salary of commissioner Mike Slive by 25 percent, up to nearly $1.2 million for the reported year. Despite the big increase, however, the report also found that the conference lost money on the whole:
Even with the conference's overall revenue increase, it reported losing money for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its return listed $317.9 million in total expenses, resulting in a nearly $3.4 million deficit for the year – an amount it covered from accumulated net assets that had totaled more than $46 million as of Aug. 31, 2012.
Wednesday morning SEC officials were traveling and could not be reached for immediate comment.
Despite the unexpected jump—according to The Kansas City Star, the conference reported a number roughly $24 million lower in May 2013—the SEC still lags behind the Big Ten in terms of revenue production. The B1G reported $315.5 million of revenue for the period that ended in June 2012, which was $1 million more than the SEC's.
Most of the SEC's increase came courtesy of radio and TV revenue, which increased from $163.3 million in 2011-12 to $204.2 million in 2012-13. However, the August 14 launch of the SEC Network is sure to throw a wrench in this model of profit—either for better or for worse.
Though it currently only has AT&T U-Verse and Dish Network signed up as guaranteed carriers, the SEC Network stands to make a boatload of revenue should it hit its goal for subscriptions. Clay Travis wrote a good breakdown of the network's prospects at Outkick the Coverage, tossing around potential revenues in the ballpark of $367 million.
Unless the network flops—which is, of course, distinctly possible—the SEC may not be looking up at the Big Ten for long.
As for the 2012-13 revenue, it was distributed evenly, for the most part, between the SEC's 14 schools. Missouri and Texas A&M each received around $19.5 million in their first cut from the SEC pool—a substantial increase over their last cut from the Big 12—while the other 12 teams received an even $21 million.
Any way you slice it, now is a bountiful time for Southeastern football.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT