The case for expansion is simple; adding teams means more yearly revenue per school. Adding a 12th team allows the Big Ten to hold a championship game that should generate something on the order of $1 million per school. The real profits, however, come from expanding the conference footprint, putting the Big Ten Network on basic cable in more markets.
Unfortunately, this seems to mean expansion beyond 12 teams. Does anyone actually want a ManBearBigEast of a conference with 14 or 16 teams where we only see Minnesota or Iowa twice a decade? I most certainly do not.
So I pose this question to the MGoBlog Community: Is there a way to expand the markets in which the BTN is on basic cable, without adding more schools?
What if the BTN were to approach the Big XII, a conference with a large number of untelevised conference games and strike a deal? Would 2-3 games each week be enough to see the BTN put on basic cable in Big XII markets? What if individual schools were contracted to provide ~2 non-conference football games per year, in addition to football and basketball coverage? In short, could the BTN grow revenues without expanding the conference?
"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."