Lets Play Hockey stunned the college hockey world today by revealing the value of moving the Big Ten's hockey schools formally into the Big Ten.
Big Ten hockey schools will get $2 million per year from the Big Ten Network, in addition to the allotment that all B1G schools receive.— Let's Play Hockey (@LetsPlay_Hockey) April 29, 2013
If this number is to be believed, it's a game changer for the rest of the schools in the Big Ten as well as the rest of college hockey. In 2010, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the top three schools in revenue generated by hockey with numbers ranging from $4.1 million for Michigan to $6.6 million for Minnesota. In comparison, Nebraska-Omaha ranked eighth with $2.8 million in total revenue.
If you assume that college hockey programs will break even with revenue approaching $3 million, then a $2 million television deal for Big Ten hockey programs should make hockey viable at any Big Ten school. Each campus is going to be different: is there a facility available to play hockey, and how much will it cost to operate? Are there any Title IX issues that are raised by starting a men's hockey team, and would you need to add another women's sport to compensate.
And that includes Nebraska. I've long felt that Husker hockey probably wasn't viable at Nebraska. Shawn Eichorst dismissed the idea of hockey in February on his statewide call in show, and should have known at that time that this type of revenue was being discussed. But these numbers are hard to ignore. If they are true, that is. It's just one report, mind you. It may be a special incentive to compensate the schools that left comfortable arrangements in the WCHA and CCHA to join the Big Ten. It may be an erroneous report as well; could it be $2 million total, split between the six Big Ten hockey schools?
But if this report is true, and each Big Ten hockey school will be receiving $2 million in additional revenue for hockey, then Nebraska needs to reopen the debate about starting a intercollegiate hockey program in Lincoln.