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
15 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 Indiana 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-Visalia 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


  • 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, D.C. (#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)


  • 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)


  • 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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2 months ago

The city TV markets are accurate, but the university TV markets are completely skewed. Alumni and fans of a school do not typically live in the city of their school. They spread out, typically within the same state to the major cities. Just to give you some perspective, Washington State University alumni move to the greater Seattle area in much higher numbers than stay in the Pullman area. The WSU TV Market should be only slightly less than the University of Washington based on graduation numbers. The same can be said for Oregon State vs Oregon, Arizona vs Arizona State (which, by the way, is a heavily Spanish-speaking population – likely not American college football fans by majority).

Sri Kothur
4 months ago

Adding to my clarification, I omitted something.

57. Mobile-Pensacola (Fort Walton Beach) – ACC. SEC
– Sort of weird how you gave this market to Alabama even though the majority of households are in Florida. FSU alumni comprise the largest alumni of any university on the Florida side of the border. Of course, the SEC is strongest here, but we must not ignore the strong FSU presence here.

Sri Kothur
4 months ago

Sorry to be critical because I know you put lots of effort to compile this. Your conception of the state of Florida’s market-conference expectations is less than half correct.

13.Tampa-St. Petersburg (Sarasota) – ACC, SEC
– I realize that UCF is joining the Big 12, but UCF does not even have the plurality of the Orlando market. Tampa is almost evenly split Florida and Florida State with USF at best 3rd in viewership.

17. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne – ACC, Big 12, SEC
– Again this is similar to Tampa in the Florida followed closely by FSU own this market. UCF is rising and joining the Big 12 so of course it should be included.

18. Miami-Fort Lauderdale – ACC,… Read more »

4 months ago

Bring in Cal and Standford with the #6 Bay area market. Additionally, bring in Arizona and Arizona St with the #11 Phoenix and #64 Tucson markets. Our east, bring in Syracuse with the #87 market, Boston College with the #10 market, Pitt with the #26 market. Finally, try your best at bringing in Notre Dame and their large television market.

Reply to  Pablo
4 months ago

No need to add U Pitt. There’s far more PSU/Big Ten fans living in Western PA than Pitt fans! Just count bumper stickers or empty seats at Heinz Field

4 months ago

This is embarrassing. The Big Ten has become a sell-out. This is degrading the history of the conference. This is degrading the traditions of the conference. This is a slap in the face to every fan who cares about the Big Ten. These conferences were created and set up to be regional and correspond to geography. The Big Ten is for mid-western states; not California.

This is the biggest sell-out of college sports that I have ever seen in my life. I am ashamed. I think this is only going to increase. I believe we will see more PAC12 schools leaving and joining the Big Ten.

This is also going to hurt athletes. They will have to miss… Read more »

Go Kamminga Go
Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
4 months ago

It’s called CAPITALISM.

Why settle for less money when you can make more money.

Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
4 months ago

The reality is with the weak NCAA and NIL, playoffs, recruits, money and the very livlihood of teams is on the line right now. The 2 maybe 3 conferences that grab the most television money and best product, will survive realigmnet. The rest will become second tier teams like the G5, or worse. It is time to destroy or be destroyed. Your plan would ensure the destruction of the Big Ten and all of its team.

Reply to  #AthleteLivesMatter
3 months ago

If AthleteLivesMatter this is good for B1G Athletes. Once the LA schools being a big name in the Big Ten will be big money and not just for the schools. NIL means the wider the market the bigger the possible deals. NIL is currently being used as a recruiting tool. Not all NIL deals have to be about recruiting. It could mean deals with major corporation deals regardless of which Big Ten school you go to.
The other thing is if the B1G wasn’t aggressive it will become a second tier conference and lose Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State for sure. I did think LA after the SEC got Texas. My thoughts was going after Virginia, Kansas, Iowa… Read more »

Ole 99
4 months ago

The Big Ten is likely going to 20 teams now and 24 whenever ACC schools figure out how to get out of their grant of rights.

The conference will add Notre Dame, either now or when the conference goes up to 24. Just a question of how long until ND capitulates.

If ND capitulates now, the conference will add them, Stanford, Washington and Oregon.

If ND holds out, the conference will add Stanford, Washington, Oregon and one of Cal or Arizona. Cal is the better academic fit, but brings less on the revenue side. Cal or Arizona would eventually get an invite, but only when the conference goes to 24.

The conference will eventually add three current… Read more »

Blake pierogi
4 months ago

Wild speculation but Iowa state and WV to SEC makes sense to me but idk if the SEC would want them. Perhaps OK state will shift to B1G

IU Swammer
Reply to  Blake pierogi
4 months ago

I don’t think OK State has the academic reputation for the B1G.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  IU Swammer
4 months ago

Aww it’s cute, you think that matters.

Ole 99
Reply to  Steve Nolan
4 months ago

Ok State is going nowhere. They bring nothing to the table… academic or revenue

Reply to  Steve Nolan
3 months ago

It does on some level because it is the Big Ten Presidents voting on it. There are quite a few schools in the Big Ten if you took away all athletics it would be just a hiccup. Michigan a big national brand in athletics and athletics gross revenue around 300m. UofM Medicine generates around 5billion last I heard was projected to make a profit around 170m. That is a profit that is over half all athletics generated gross. When you dealing with these major research universities athletics usually is the golden goose. It is advertisement, recruiting tool and entertainment. It isn’t something you looking to make money off of.

The metroplex
4 months ago

What sec team is in San Antonio? Also Dallas/Fort Worth is a 3 1/2 hour car ride to Austin. It’s like saying NYC and Washington DC are the same market since they are a 3 and 1/2 drive from each other.

Reply to  The metroplex
4 months ago

This is not a list of where schools are located. It is a list of where certain conferences dominate the college sports television markets.

There are lots of colleges in Texas, true, but both Texas and Texas A&M eat up massive pieces of the San Antonio and Dallas markets, and draw a ton of eyeballs in those places.

There are more people watching Texas A&M football in Dallas than there are in College Station. The same is true of Austin/Dallas for Texas. The SEC did not add Texas A&M in 2013 because they were desperate to beam games into the Waco-Temple-Bryan television market.

The metroplex
Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

There are so many transplants in the metroplex. The area has changed so much over the last 20 years. Go to a Cowboys game it’s embarrassing half the audience is rooting for the opponent. You didn’t see that years ago, I drive around my neighborhood and you see a lot of Steelers, packers and patriots flags. Sure there is a following for a&m and Texas in the metroplex but it’s far from homogeneous. Not all the eyeballs are on these two schools.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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