The NCAA Tournament is big business, and with the Pac-12 performing very well in the 2017 edition, that means big money for the conference.
According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, the success of the Arizona Wildcats, Oregon Ducks, UCLA Bruins, and USC Trojans has netted the conference over $21 million so far.
This number comes from two different things: the number of teams in the tournament, and how many wins those teams pick up.
So in 2016, seven different teams from the conference were selected for the tourney, but only one made it to the Sweet Sixteen. This resulted in 11 “units”.
In 2017, the Pac-12 has already racked up 12 units despite only getting four teams in.
A conference earns a unit with each team in, then earns additional units with each team’s victory. So with all four teams already earning two victories (USC’s First Four win over Providence counts), the conference gets to 12.
The value of the units are rolled out over the next six years, and the actual money attached to each one increases each year at approximately 2.9%. Wilner does a good job breaking down how each unit actually pays out as it carries through for the next six years.
Wilner also does a great job of breaking down how one big win by USC over SMU back in November has had a large financial impact on every school in the conference. So shoutout to the Trojans for taking out the Mustangs back then and then doing it again last week.
2014 was the conference’s best year for units earned, picking up 14. All they need is two more wins to match that total, and a total of three wins to pick up more units than ever before.