Tennessee will dole out a total of $2.125 million to the three teams playing non-conference games at Neyland Stadium in 2012.
The Vols (1-0) play host to Georgia State (0-1) on Saturday (TV: pay-per-view, 4 p.m.) and will pay the fledgling program $500,000 for the appearance.
Tennessee also is paying Akron $825,000 and Troy $800,000. The Vols play host to Akron on Sept. 22 and Troy on Nov. 3. The figures are in line with past payouts for non-conference opponents and the numbers for other SEC schools.
For comparison, Alabama is paying $2.475 million for three non-conference opponents this year. Tennessee paid $3.1 million for four opponents last season.
The figures illustrate the balance of power between power conferences like the SEC and teams from weaker leagues that make up many of the non-conference opponents.
For a team like Akron, which had a $25 million budget in 2011, the payout will represent a sizeable chunk of its $6 million in revenue that doesn't come from school or student subsidies.
It's increasingly difficult — and expensive — for teams to schedule an opponent without agreeing to play a road game as part of the agreement.
North Carolina State, an ACC school, recently scheduled a home-and-home series with Central Michigan.
Kansas and Oklahoma State, two Big 12 schools, also agreed to future home-and-home matchups against CMU.
In Week 1, Oklahoma visited UTEP and Texas A&M was scheduled to play Louisiana Tech in Shreveport.
Tennessee, like most SEC schools, prefers to avoid those road trips and keep the lucrative home non-conference games at their own stadium.
Although an increasing percentage of cash comes from television, tickets sales still made up $37.7 million of Tennessee's $106.5 million in revenue in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
The payouts have grown in a sellers' market. Alabama paid Kent State $1.2 million last year.
Auburn paid Arkansas State $1 million in 2010.
Tennessee was originally scheduled to play a home-and-home series against North Carolina, traveling to Chapel Hill in 2011 and playing a game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.
But UT elected to buy out the contract with UNC, paying $900,000 to add Buffalo as a late replacement in 2011 and filling the slot with Georgia State this season.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.