Not even the networks. As reported in the Washington Post, here:
… “A lot of the coverage of the cancellations focuses on the revenue lost. But that’s a mistake,” said Neal Pilson, who served as president of CBS Sports for much of the 1980s and ’90s. “What it’s really about is the profit. And the margins for these games have gotten pretty thin.”
In the 1990s, the profit margin on a college-football game could range between 20 and 30 percent, he said. With viewership down and the packages costing more, it’s now often between 15 and 20 percent. That makes the networks a lot more vulnerable to a weakened ad market.
Consider the Penn State-Ohio State matchup last year. Played the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Fox game featured not only a historic Big Ten rivalry but two teams in the top 10, and provided thrills as Penn State came back from 21-0 down to score 17 unanswered points before losing 28-17.
But total viewership for the game was just 9.2 million viewers. The pro matchup between teams from the same states, the Steelers and Browns, garnered 15.7 million viewers on Fox the week before. The advertising disparity was even worse: The game generated $5.1 million for Fox, according to Standard Media Index, which tracks rates, or $81,000 for a 30-second spot. The average 30-second spot in the NFL topped $400,000 last season.