Alabama’s lucrative Learfield Media Rights Deal confirms what we thought about 3rd Tier Rights.


Why am I bringing up something that’s two years old, and largely irrelevant to the current landscape of college athletics. The reason is because 2 years ago 3rd Tier TV rights discussions were all the rage. The ACC sold theirs away, and according to the mis-informed rumors of the day it would destroy the ACC. Of course that never happened the ACC signed a Grant of Rights, and the conference is in a strong position going forward.

Now we have some new information from Sports Business Journal report on Alabama’s new lucrative Learfield Media Rights Deal, that confirms what was said here nearly 2 years ago. Those 3rd Tier TV rights weren’t worth Millions upon  Millions upon Millions of dollars.  Just exactly how did Alabama’s rights deal prove this?

From the SBJ article…

“Alabama decided to keep its contract with Learfield virtually the same, except for the increase in the annual guarantee. The only significant difference is that Learfield will not have rights to Alabama’s third-tier football and basketball games, which now are controlled by the SEC Network.”

Consider had this come out 2 years ago… I believe the legion of “mis-informed” would have been dealt with something that would have been difficult to wrap their heads around.

“The new financial terms of $15 million to $16 million a year double Alabama’s guarantee previously and put the Tide among the top three schools in multimedia rights revenue behind Texas and Notre Dame…”

Alabama’s multi-media right agreement doubled without those 3rd tier football and basketball games that now belong to ESPN and the SEC Network!

Isn’t it something how things come full circle when you look back 2 years ago? A mis-informed premise set the internet on fire for months.


  1. Hokie Mark says:

    TRUE. I think a big part of this Learfield deal is the concessions rights. Selling Coca Cola and hot dogs is worth a LOT of money – and now ‘Bama gets paid a consistent amount without having to worry about it. All the same, those rights are obviously worth more than what Learfield is paying or they wouldn’t do it, so schools which continue to handle their own concession could be more profitable, though I doubt they make more than ‘Bama just due to the sheer number of fans in Tuscaloosa.

    1. Jfann says:

      I suppose a school could retain those rights, but it may be Learfield has more advertising resources than a particular school. I liken it to the SEC grouping all their TV rights together to form the SEC Network rather than each negotiating on their own. I’m not 100% sure on this, but that’s my guess.

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