ucla approved join big ten one interesting catch

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UCLA on Wednesday received approval to join the Big Ten in 2024 as they had hoped. But there is one interesting catch.

UCLA announced over the summer that they would be joining rival USC in moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. 

The decision meant the Los Angeles-based schools would be leaving behind nearly a century of traditions and rivalries for a stronger football conference that promised more national media exposure, and more importantly, money.

But not all of that newfound money will be going to UCLA.

The University of California’s Board of Regents voted 11-5 to approve UCLA’s move to the Big Ten. The catch is that some of the money UCLA will receive from being part of the Big Ten will have to go to Cal as a subsidy.

The UC Regents approved a subsidy in the range of $2M-$10M for Cal, which is another member of the University of California system. The reason for the subsidy is because UCLA’s departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten will adversely affect UC Berkeley financially, which remains a part of the Pac-12.

The Pac-12 is seeking a new media rights deal. Once that deal is struck, the UC Regents will determine how much of a subsidy payment UCLA would make to Cal. 

UCLA stands to make around double ($60M or so compared to around $30M) in annual payments thanks to a media rights deal from being a member of the Big Ten vs. the Pac-12. 

Had UCLA remained in the Pac-12, the inclusion of the Los Angeles market would have strengthened the conference’s position in negotiations with media companies.

UCLA is still coming out ahead financially as part of the move, but the subsidy payment and additional travel costs will eat into their gains.

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