The geographical locale is in relation to TV revenue. The SEC network and the ACC network charge more for carriage in geographical areas covered by the conference. The numbers are not public, but I have heard that the SEC Network charges something like $1.50 per cable subscriber in the SEC areas. They charge something like 25-40 cents in the other areas. I am guessing when they added TA&M, the SEC Network got the additional dollar in the Houston (#8) and Dallas (#5) markets. That is more tv subscribers (so more money) than any other market in the SEC. The largest before that was Atlanta (#7 now has ranged between #7 and #10). If you add a school that does not add more geographical area, then ESPN will not pay more because they are not going to receive more gross income.Reminiscent of the TA&M plan… plausible at the least.
It’s curious to me the emphasis on TV Market as a geographic locale vs the “brand” of the team. Surely UAuburn’s brand exceeds State of Alabama (obviously, it’s in GA big time). Conversely, while Tech resides in Atlanta I don’t necessarily think that Tech brings in that much of the city if that’s the talking point?