The SWAC has experienced unprecedented growth year over year. Commissioner Charles McClelland addressed the state of the SWAC and the accomplishments it has had this past year.
The SWAC brand is strong with attendance numbers in 2021 breaking SWAC records. Furthermore, the conference had FAMU represent the conference in the FCS Football Playoffs. About 4-years ago, the SWAC was facing a deficit of $2 million dollars, but now heading into the 2022 football season the conference budget is at its highest it’s ever been.
For that reason, the conference was able to distribute more revenue to the member institutions. At this rate of growth, by 2030, the conference projects to have a higher budget than three FBS conferences. This is a true testament to the leadership in the conference.
Like commissioner McClelland said, “Revenue brings strength.”
SWAC Media Exposure
As the SWAC grows so will the opportunity for exposure. The SWAC will be entering into a new agreement with HBCU GO. The detail of the deal is still on going, but the added exposure HBCU GO is offering is a great opportunity no other FCS conference is getting.
Additionally, the conference will have various games on ESPN this season as well. Jackson State for example will have eight games on ESPN networks and two on HBCU Go. Last season, ESPN aired 35 SWAC games on their network with 7 of those game producing more streaming viewers than ESPN normal t.v.
At the moment, the larger brands like FAMU, Jackson State, and Southern are leading the charge when it comes to exposure. As the conference as a whole raises its commitment to its athletics the more opportunities for exposure will come.
The SWAC is handling conference expansion or realignment very well. It has arguably the biggest brand in all of FCS athletics. As previously noted, the SWAC is revenue is growing and so is the opportunity for more streams of revenue to come. Any talks of expanding the SWAC into a super conference is a little dated.
Commissioner McClelland mentioned that the SWAC will not be adding programs just for the sake of adding. “If we bring in someone it will be someone that fit our academic profile and brings value to our conference.” and speaking on super conferences “Let me say we already view ourselves as a super conference.”