Analyzing the New NCAA Power Five Television Markets


Since the Big Ten’s recent expansion is thought to be fueled by Fox (just as the SEC’s expansion last summer was thought to be driven by ESPN), it’s worth examining how the realigned Power Five now stacks up in terms of TV market size.

The Big Ten is currently negotiating its next media rights deal. Its existing deals with ESPN and Fox run through the next academic year, 2022-23. With the addition of UCLA and USC, the Big Ten’s new deal is expected to reach a figure that would just about triple what Pac-12 and ACC schools receive in distribution annually. The Big Ten’s expansion consolidated five of the top 10 TV markets in the country within the same conference.

The question now is what domino will fall next. On Friday morning, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said he hopes Notre Dame considers joining the Big Ten, too. Other Pac-12 schools such as Stanford, Cal, Oregon, and Washington have also been linked to the conference’s sudden expansion efforts.

The table below includes future members of the conferences and uses the most recent Nielsen rankings from 2021-22.

Market State TV Households (2021–22) Expected Conference Fan Affiliations
1 New York New York 7,452,620 Big Ten
2 Los Angeles California 5,735,230 Big Ten
3 Chicago Illinois 3,471,560 Big Ten
4 Philadelphia Pennsylvania 2,997,360 Big Ten
5 Dallas-Fort Worth Texas 2,962,520 SEC, Big 12
6 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose California 2,653,270 Pac-12
7 Atlanta Georgia 2,648,970 SEC, ACC
8 Houston Texas 2,569,900 SEC, Big 12
9 Washington (Hagerstown) District of Columbia 2,565,580 Big Ten
10 Boston (Manchester) Massachusetts 2,489,620 ACC
11 Phoenix (Prescott) Arizona 2,158,240 Pac-12
12 Seattle-Tacoma Washington 2,098,800 Pac-12
13 Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota) Florida 2,035,250 Big 12, SEC
14 Minneapolis-St. Paul Minnesota 1,887,390 Big Ten
15th Detroit Michigan 1,862,620 Big Ten
16 Denver Colorado 1,798,440 Pac-12
17 Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne Florida 1,731,360 Big 12, SEC
18 Miami-Fort Lauderdale Florida 1,693,450 ACC
19 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) Ohio 1,511,970 Big Ten
20 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto California 1,459,260 Pac-12
21 Portland, OR Oregon 1,315,470 Pac-12
22 Charlotte North Carolina 1,290,660 ACC
23 st. Louis Missouri 1,239,210 SEC
24 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville) North Carolina 1,237,230 ACC
25 Indianapolis Indian 1,182,500 Big Ten
26 Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 1,166,130 ACC
27 San Diego California 1,132,300 N/A
28 Baltimore Maryland 1,129,830 Big Ten
29 Nashville Tennessee 1,102,340 SEC
30 Salt Lake City Utah 1,100,260 Pac-12, Big 12
31 San Antonio Texas 1,031,180 SEC, Big 12
32 Hartford-New Haven Connecticut 1,002,710 N/A
33 Columbus, OH Ohio 999,300 Big Ten
34 Kansas City Missouri 986,160 Big 12, SEC
35 Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson South Carolina 940,000 ACC
36 Cincinnati Ohio 925,900 Big 12
37 Milwaukee Wisconsin 921,920 Big Ten
38 Austin Texas 912,400 SEC
39 West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce Florida 870,720 ACC
40 Las Vegas Nevada 833,510 N/A
41 Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Michigan 781,080 Big Ten
42 Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York Pennsylvania 772,810 Big Ten
43 Jacksonville Florida 756,960 SEC
44 Oklahoma City Oklahoma 755,340 SEC, Big 12
45 Birmingham (Anniston-Tuscaloosa) Alabama 730,440 SEC
46 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News Virginia 725,580 ACC
47 Greensboro–High Point–Winston-Salem North Carolina 717,110 ACC
48 Albuquerque-Santa Fe New Mexico 716,800 N/A
49 Louisville Kentucky 696,070 ACC
50 New Orleans Louisiana 663,520 SEC
51 Memphis Tennessee 619,610 SEC
52 Providence-New Bedford Rhode Island 619,140 N/A
53 Buffalo New York 612,780 ACC
54 Fort Myers-Naples Florida 608,640 SEC
55 Fresno-Visa California 607,200 Pac-12, Big Ten
56 Richmond-Petersburg Virginia 585,030 ACC
57 Mobile-Pensacola (Fort Walton Beach) Alabama 584,290 SEC
58 Wilkes-Barre–Scranton–Hazleton Pennsylvania 571,470 Big Ten
59 Little Rock-Pine Bluff Arkansas 562,060 SEC
60 Albany-Schenectady-Troy New York 556,730 ACC
61 Tulsa Oklahoma 552,980 Big 12, SEC
62 Knoxville Tennessee 535,230 SEC
63 Lexington Kentucky 499,880 SEC
64 Tucson (Sierra Vista) Arizona 479,780 Pac-12
65 Dayton Ohio 476,790 Big Ten
66 Spokane Washington 470,210 Pac-12
67 Honolulu Hawaii 464,090 N/A
68 Des Moines-Ames Iowa 457,040 Big Ten
69 Green Bay-Appleton Wisconsin 455,560 Big Ten
70 Wichita-Hutchinson Kansas 447,710 Big 12
Expected Conference Fan Affiliations Total TV Households
Big Ten 35,839,830
SEC 24,088,240
Pac-12 14,140,930
ACC 16,230,080
Big 12 15,098,560
N/A 4,768,550

SEC

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (#5)
  • Atlanta (#7)
  • Houston (#8)
  • Nashville (#29)
  • San Antonio (#31)
  • Austin (#38)
  • Oklahoma City (#44)
  • Birmingham (Anniston and Tuscaloosa) (#45)
  • Knoxville (#62)
  • Lexington (#63)
  • Columbia, SC (#76)
  • Waco-Temple-Bryan (#83)
  • Baton Rouge (#94)
  • Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (#95)
  • Montgomery-Selma (#126)
  • Columbia-Jefferson City (#135)
  • Gainesville (#160)

Big Ten

  • New York (#1)
  • Los Angeles (#2)
  • Chicago (#3)
  • Philadelphia (#4)
  • Washington, DC (#9)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (#14)
  • Detroit (#15)
  • Indianapolis (#25)
  • Columbus, OH (#33)
  • Des Moines-Ames (#68)
  • Madison (#81)
  • Champaign & Springfield-Decatur (#90)
  • Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney (#105)
  • Lansing (#115)
  • Lafayette, IN (#188)

ACC

  • Atlanta (#7)
  • Boston (#10)
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale (#18)
  • Charlotte (#22)
  • Raleigh-Durham (#24)
  • Pittsburgh (#26)
  • Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson (#35)
  • Greensboro-High Point-Winston-Salem (#47)
  • Louisville (#48)
  • Syracuse (#87)
  • South Bend-Elkhart (#98)
  • Tallahassee-Thomasville (#108)
  • Charlottesville (#177)

Big 12

  • Dallas-Fort Worth (#5)
  • Houston (#8)
  • Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne (#17)
  • Salt Lake City (#30)
  • Kansas City (#34)
  • Cincinnati (#36)
  • Oklahoma City (#44)
  • Tulsa (#61)
  • Des Moines-Ames (#68)
  • Waco-Temple-Bryan (#83)
  • Topeka (#142)
  • Lubbock (#145)

Pac-12

  • San Francisco/Oakland (#6)
  • Phoenix (#11)
  • Seattle (#12)
  • Denver (#16)
  • Portland (#21)
  • Salt Lake City (#30)
  • Tucson (#64)
  • Spokane (#66)
  • Eugene (#113)

The Big Ten now lays claim to eight schools located directly in the nation’s top 25 TV markets. The ACC has five such schools, the Pac-12 has four, the Big 12 has three, and the SEC has just one. But even though Texas and Texas A&M aren’t technically in major TV markets such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, we still included those areas as SEC country because the majority of fans there support them. TV market size doesn’t tell the whole story, of course, as smaller-market schools like LSU and Oregon attract way more viewers than bigger-market schools like Northwestern and Boston College.

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