The American Athletic Conference may view itself as a power conference program, but the revenue situation for the conference continues to paint a much different picture. Documents for the past fiscal year obtained by The Orlando Sentinel show the AAC recorded a revenue of $74.47 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, a drop of six percent from the previous year.
In the previous year, the AAC reported a revenue of $79.297 million. It’s important to make note that this fiscal year figure does not include any revenue obtained by placing UCF in a New Years Six bowl game this past football season. That will be reflected in the 2017-2018 fiscal year figures. The AAC did not have a team in the New Years Six lineup during the 2016-2017 fiscal year (Western Michigan of the MAC crashed the NY6 party). UCF played in the Peach Bowl this past season, which should boost the figures for the next fiscal year revenue figures.
Of course, the revenue the AAC recorded for the past fiscal year continues to be overpowered by the massive revenues being recorded by the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and the SEC. However, the AAC’s revenue still carries the torch for the non-power conferences. This downward trend does stress more on the importance of the conference being proactive in securing a forward-thinking media rights deal for when the current TV deal expires in 2020. This is where AAC commissioner Mike Aresco will fight hard to make sure his conference has a deal he deems fair to the entire conference, which he does not feel is the case right now.
Via The Orlando Sentinel;
“The real game-changer for us would be TV because we’re just not getting anywhere near what we deserve in TV,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “It’s a throwback to that five-year ago period when we were very unstable and the whole situation was unstable and that’s just not remotely true now.
“I think at the time, I don’t think anyone realized how powerful our schools could become. We’ve established ourselves as a nationally relevant and respected conference and now it’s a question of let’s make sure that results in a TV deal that we need to keep this going. It’s a mixture of exposure and revenue.”
The AAC did have a rough start in terms of conference stability was concerned, but the conference has come together to form a formidable conference as programs like Houston, Memphis, UCF, USF, and Navy have played well. The conference will also be boosted with the addition of Wichita State in basketball.