Why Missouri is more valuable to the SEC than it is to the Big Ten

October 9, 2011

The Big Ten Network (BTN) is already carried by most cable providers in Missouri due to the number of Big Ten graduates in St. Louis and Kansas City. By adding Mizzou, the Big Ten would certainly increase the cost and cable package level of the BTN in Missouri, but not by enough to justify it financially. That is why the Big Ten will never invite Mizzou unless it is in a need of a 14th or 16th school to round out divisions. And even then, it would likely choose to pursue a new television market (e.g., Maryland or Rutgers).

The SEC does not have as strong of a foothold in Missouri as the Big Ten. Adding Mizzou would help distribute the future SEC cable network, and bring in enough additional revenue to justify it financially. Schools like Georgia Tech and Clemson would not expand distribution of the SEC network due to the large number of SEC graduates already in those areas. The SEC can already claim those TV markets the same way the Big Ten can already claim the markets in Missouri (in fact, even moreso).

There's one other thing that makes Missouri attractive to the SEC, and that's its AAU status. The Big Ten is already loaded with AAU members, so adding one more would not make a difference. The SEC, however, would double the number of AAU members it has by adding Texas A&M and Missouri. This will significantly improve the academic profile of the league, which may not matter to fans, but certainly matters to alumni and the presidents of the universities in the SEC that actually vote on expansion. Mike Slive has stated multiple times that one of his top priorities as SEC Comissioner is to improve the academic standing of the league. He knows he can achieve that by adding Texas A&M and Missouri, and at the same time add new television markets for the SEC network, and gain programs that will be competitive in football and basketball.

So for those of you asking "If the Big Ten doesn't want Missouri, why should the SEC?" The answer is simple: Missouri adds a lot more value to the SEC.

Thanks to Milo Moon — a Tennessee Vols fan — for contributing to this article.