Indiana athletic director Fred Glass recently compared the push for facility upgrades across the country to an amusement park adding new rides.
"It's a little bit like [the amusement park] Kings Island," Glass said. "Every year, you've got to have a new ride to show people you're serious."
As Brian Bennett of ESPN points out, the revenue from the TV deals, such as the Big Ten Network, has given many schools the funding needed to make improvements to their athletic facilities during otherwise tight economic times.
In the Big Ten alone Nebraska is spending over $63 million on an expansion to memorial stadium, Wisconsin is pouring $86 million into renovations to the locker rooms and training areas in Camp Randall, and Iowa is just getting started on a $57 million upgrade to their indoor practice facility and coaches offices.
"The Big Ten Network is the best thing since canned soup," Glass said about the TV deal. "We're investing a lot of that money in not only football facilities, but also track and field, swimming and diving, softball and field hockey. It's not hyperbole to say that every one of our 24 sports have benefited from facility improvements which were driven by Big Ten Network revenues."
Michigan's AD, Dave Brandon pointed out that the TV money is helpful, but Michigan often gets more value from a single major donation than they collect from the TV revenue.
According to Bennett, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity believes that the next big push will focus on technology "as schools tailor their new facilities around the iPad generation's needs and incorporate increased fan connectivity into their game-day experiences".
"That's the challenge all schools face in whatever they design for the future...keeping up with the kids and what's important to baby boomers like me. You have to make sure you're ahead of the curve as much as you can possibly be." McGarity added.