WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Less than two months after the universities of Cincinnati, Houston, and Central Florida announced they were leaving Wichita State’s conference, the American Athletic Conference has added six teams to make up for the loss.
With the conference adding six additional teams, experts say there’s a good chance this ends up helping Wichita State in both the short and the long term.
“If anything, it should be beneficial money-wise, losing three teams and adding six,” explained Ted Bolema, WSU executive director of the study of economic growth.
In 2019, Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF combined for around $213 million in total revenue. In the same year, five of the six new additions to the conference had nearly $190 million (excluding Rice University which does not disclose its numbers to the public).
“Pretty good markets,” Bolema added. “San Antonio, Florida, Charlotte, we’re maintaining a presence in South Florida and in Houston.”
Bolema believes the addition of these six schools, with their locations, and their football programs will help the AAC and therefore WSU generates more revenue in the long term with future TV rights negotiations.
“We’re getting some pretty good football teams coming in with UAB, Florida Atlantic, Rice,” he said. “They’ve had good football over the years.”
In the short term, when the official realignment of these conferences takes hold, WSU will no longer have to share the AAC’s TV rights money with the three universities leaving, or at least initially, the six schools arriving.
“When conferences bring in new teams they normally phase them in on the TV revenues over time,” Bolema said.