You can read a pretty silly exercise in Forbes that assigns values to the top fifteen college football programs. Silly, because it’s not like any of these programs could be bought and sold like a pro sports franchise. (Georgia is ranked third, by the way.)
But when there’s a discussion about revenues in D-1 football, there’s usually something relevant to the BCS/playoffs argument, and such is the case here.
The most valuable “franchise” is Notre Dame. Why?
Big advantage for the Fighting Irish: A $9 million annual broadcasting fee from NBC, owned by General Electric, by far the most for any team. It also helps Notre Dame that it plays as an independent team, not belonging to an NCAA conference–so it doesn’t have to share its broadcasting and bowl revenue the way other schools do. [Emphasis added.]
There are no ACC, PAC-10 or Big East schools listed in the top fifteen. Why not?
Note that only teams from the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten Conference and Big 12 Conference made our list because of their lucrative television deals with CBS, and ESPN and ABC, which are owned by the Walt Disney Co. [Emphasis added.]
The article concludes with this note:
Perennial powerhouse the University of Southern California, which is playing in the Rose Bowl this year, did not make our top 15 because the team’s profits were too low to contribute as much to their schools as did our 15 finalists.
When arguably the best program in the country over the past five years doesn’t make the value list because of low profits due to inadequate revenues from a broadcast deal, that should be a pretty good indication of the influence the TV networks have over the sport.
All in all, the negotiations to convert to a playoff format, if that day ever comes, will likely be quite bloody. “Sharing the wealth” ain’t gonna be easy…