Because that’s where the money is.

If you mosey on over to the Department of Education’s OPE Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Cutting Tool site, you can find all sorts of cool data on US colleges and universities – including how much revenue each school’s athletic department generated in 2008.

Take, for example, this breakdown of the SEC’s income comparison of basketball, football and total revenues, by school (in order of total revenues) and for the conference overall:

SCHOOL Basketball Rev. Football Rev. Total Rev.
Florida $   10,016,431.00 $   66,150,063.00 $ 108,309,060.00
Alabama $      8,766,826.00 $   64,606,392.00 $ 103,934,873.00
LSU $      6,034,178.00 $   61,868,953.00 $ 100,077,884.00
Tennessee $   12,576,715.00 $   42,805,360.00 $   92,524,125.00
Auburn $      7,187,457.00 $   58,618,819.00 $   87,001,416.00
Georgia $      7,266,018.00 $   65,218,406.00 $   81,496,357.00
S. Carolina $      8,101,086.00 $   57,118,519.00 $   76,254,236.00
Arkansas $   14,391,769.00 $   38,630,265.00 $   63,978,641.00
Vanderbilt $      8,021,361.00 $   18,564,940.00 $   45,582,274.00
Kentucky $   14,773,034.00 $   26,143,126.00 $   72,057,751.00
Mississippi $      4,725,911.00 $   18,688,648.00 $   41,318,068.00
Miss. State $      6,199,698.00 $   18,732,248.00 $   36,536,152.00
TOTAL $ 108,058,484.00 $ 537,145,739.00 $ 909,070,837.00

Note that for the conference as a whole, football generates five times as much income as basketball and more than half of all SEC revenue.  Given those numbers, it’s not a surprise that no SEC school generates more basketball revenue than football revenue, but only Kentucky has a basketball program that even earns more than half as much as its football program.

On top of this, keep in mind that these are the numbers for 2008, the season before the new TV contracts kicked in.  The disparity will be far greater in the next report.

I’ll do some more exploring, but a quick check only revealed only a couple of schools in 2008 playing D-1 football and basketball in a BCS conference that generated more basketball money than football money – Louisville and Duke.

I recognize that football enjoys greater popularity than does basketball, but still, that’s an enormous spread. Given how the money is currently generated, is it any wonder that the BCS-conference commissioners and presidents are at least somewhat apprehensive about what sort of an effect a football playoff might have on the regular season cash flow?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

36 responses to “Because that’s where the money is.

  1. JasonC

    Note that Auburn earn more than 6 million dollars less than UGA for football, but total about 6 million dollars more. Do swim teams really bring in that much money?

    • Mike

      I think each program generates a lot of revenue that cannot be attributed to a particular sport. Like generic clothing sales, etc.

  2. Ray

    I think that is a bit of reaching.

  3. JaxDawg

    Interesting information Senator. I recall, or seem to recall, that UGA’s athletic dept was one of the highest grossing in the nation, behind Texas and *maybe* Florida. In fact, there was one year that we finished #1 in revenues.

    If I am correct:
    (1) why is there a disparity in these #’s?
    (2) there should be, and is, reason why we can’t compete with anyone or any level.

    • If we’re thinking of the same reports, one talked about football only revenue and the other looked at “profitability” (a supposed oxymoron when you’re discussing non-profit institutions).

      If you’re talking top grossing institutions, Texas and Ohio State are in a class by themselves right now. Although I bet with the new SEC TV contracts, Florida will be close.

      • JaxDawg

        I meant to say “no reason why we cannot compete” above.

        You’re correct. It was football only, and the above #’s bear that out. Florida leads us by a small % – Imagine our revenues if we won two national titles in 3 years.

        God only knows how hungry GA fans are and how much they’d spend if the MNC trophy came to Athens.

  4. It would be a compelling argument if we had a legitimate playoff proposal for comparison. I have no doubt a playoff would dramatically eclipse the current TV deals of all the bowls combined.

    As for the regular season impact, I just do not see the passion and loyalties of college football fans being diminished. SEC stadiums, for example, are routinely filled to capacity to watch two teams that have no shot at winning the conference. If that does not diminish interest, I can’t fathom a playoff would.

    • The Realist

      Bowl money doesn’t just come from tv deals. It comes from sponsorship deals, local revenue-generating events tied to the bowl games, and, of course, some tv money. While a playoff deal might eclipse the current TV deals of all the bowls combined, the teams/bowls/host cities would miss out on all the other revenue generated by the teams being there for nearly a week for fun ‘n’ games. Even teams that lose money by going to the bowls get some swag for their players, some extra practice out of the deal, and free advertisement for their programs & universities. In short, the teams are getting waaay more out of the bowls than just money. If it were just about the money, more teams would turn down small-time bowl invitations. What additional incentive does Middle Tennessee State have to choose a playoff over the New Orleans Bowl? They’d never make the playoff, and they’d lose all the extras that come with the bowl games.

      • Prov

        I don’t think a tournament would necessarily do away with all of the bowls. Not until it swelled to 64 teams at least.

    • I have no doubt a playoff would dramatically eclipse the current TV deals of all the bowls combined.

      TV pays for audience. Where do you see the increased viewership coming from that would cause such a dramatic rise in value?

      • You need look no further than the drop in ratings for most bowl games since the inception of the BCS. Even being the only game on, the non-championship games have steadily fallen with the exception of a few notable match-ups.

        About 6 years ago, some European organization attempted to make a proposal that would have doubled the current BCS TV deal at that time, but the BCS would not allow the NCAA to listen.

        I know, I know, I will research it

  5. Ed Gunther

    Great find, Senator. Just what I need – more grist for the off-season mill…

  6. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The thing that jumps off the page is the significant amount of $ FLA is ahead of UGA in total revenue. Worse still, it seems that UGA trails every one of its major SEC rivals in the category.This disparity is shocking and an indication that something is seriously wrong at the UGA AD’s office.

    • Florida is the only program ahead of us in football rev. Florida football ticket prices are higher and they have had one more home game a year. I do not think Hartman Fund donations are counted as “revenue”.

    • Mayor, on this one, you should cut Damon a little slack. The deal with ISP will cut into the disparity you’re talking about here.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        OK. What am I missing? The UGA football revenue is about the same as FLA’s. FLA has about $3 Million more revenue than UGA in basketball (understandable given the success FLA has had in basketball and the relative lack of success UGA has had). The other sports are not revenue producing for either school. How does this translate into $27 Million more in gross revenue for FLA? That can only be coming from more and better ad and license revenue. Whose responsibility is that? And don’t give me that “it’s going to get better in the future” stuff as an excuse. I want to know about the shortfall in the here and now. According to your numbers (which I believe) UGA is second in the conference in football revenue (less than $1 Million behind FLA) but is 6th in the conference in total revenue. That sure doesn’t sound like good management of the Athletic Department to me. And while I’m at it, why do you always make excuses for the guy? If this were the real business world he’d be dragged into a Board meeting to explain to the CEO and the Board why we were $27 Million/year behind our biggest competitor in gross revenue and canned on the spot if the answers were not good enough. The guy needs to be accountable just like everybody else.

        • Again, the ISP deal didn’t kick in until last year. You’re looking at ’08 numbers.

          It’s not realistic to expect a match between Georgia and Florida. The Gators have a bigger alumni base.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            What?!!! ISP has deals with half the major colleges out there and has for years. What was UGA doing 2008 and before to maximize ad and license revenue? It’s beginning to look like nothing.

            • I don’t get why this is such a big deal to you. So what if UGA’s gross revenues aren’t the same as Florida’s? Either way both athletic departments are swimming in cash and can afford to do whatever they want. That cash shortfall of UGA’s sure did prevent them from spending top dollar on a top line defensive coordinator /sarcasm mode off. You sound like one of those fans that won’t be satisfied unless we’re winning at everything. Just because one profitable company makes more gross revenues than the other profitable company doesn’t make the latter profitable company bad. Talk about making mountains out of mole hills. Jeez.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                $27 Million is not a molehill. And it appears from what MikeinValdosta found there has been a reversal of fortune in the last couple of years. Why? And more importantly, why is UGA now (as of the most recent figure from 2008) in the middle of the pack in the SEC in gross revenue when as recently as 3 years ago UGA was the most profitable school from athletics in the country?

    • Carter

      What you net is more important than what you gross.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Great point Carter. So, show me the net for UGA and the net for FLA and if UGA’s net is bigger I’ll shut up. Otherwise I want to know why FLA is grossing so much more money than UGA overall when the revenue producing sports are doing about the same at both schools.

        • I have no idea, but I would guess Florida’s enrollment and the state’s population have to come into play here.

          If you will notice the “two” revenue producing sports do not add up to the total.

          I seriously doubt poor management could create this type of difference. It has to be related to scale.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            OK Mike. Then explain why Bama, LSU, UT and Auburn are all ahead of UGA in gross revenue when UGA has higher football revenue and about the same basketball revenue? The states those schools are in have a much LOWER population than Georgia and their enrollments are about the same as UGA.

            • I was wondering that myself. I looked up Alabama, apparently they copyrighted the script A and generate a great deal of revenue from that. Georgia gets nothing from Grambling or Green Bay. That is all I could find.

              It is perplexing. Given these numbers presented, how is it possible we are more profitable than these schools?


              Something is not adding up.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                You are right Mike. The “Top Ten” chart you attached shows net income for 2006. UGA led the nation by a wide margin. Bama and LSU are on the list as winners but way behind UGA. FLA is not even mentioned. Something happened between 2006 and 2008 as it appears UGA is now behind both at least in gross, not to mention FLA.. I would love to see the net profit numbers for all these schools for 2008. Senator, can you assist in that endeavor?

                • You don’t need me for that – the link will show you both revenue and expenses for the SEC schools.

                  • Hackerdog

                    I checked out the net numbers for UGA & UF on that site. As automaticslim points out, they may not be accurate, apples to apples numbers, but they’re something. According to the site, UGA nets $5.0 million and UF nets $6.8 million. If those numbers are close to being accurate, then it appears our athletic department is much more efficient than UF’s.

  7. Loyed

    Yet, Senator….when we dive into this actual discussion, we find that the AD’s don’t actually give much if any of the money back to the school

    As the Knight Commission correctly points out, all of it basically goes back to the AD.

    Florida gave $1M 2-3 years back for regular schollys and they made it as big a deal as possible media wise. Yes, just $1M out of the millions they make

  8. dawg1976

    very interesting… I enjoyed this

    thank you for the link. i’m going to play around with that a little bit

  9. automaticslim

    Couple things. First, these numbers are not accurate. The Ed Department bases this report on an incredibly broad survey that does not generate comparable figures from one institution to the next. The NCAA does a better job, but does not make school-by-school data available.
    Second, UGA has had a longstanding relationship with ISP, but the current deal (about $9m a year) did not kick in until 2009-10.
    Read “College Sports 101” on the Knight Commission website for a broader understanding of the trends here. Again, no school-by-school info available, but it helps.

  10. Mike

    Senator, you figures for UK is wrong. You left off $29,406,344 in unallocated revenue, which you included for other programs.

    You might want to check other totals too. If you made the mistake on UK you could have made it for others too

    • Mike, thanks for catching that. For some reason, the revenue figures are presented differently on the UK page than for the other SEC schools.

      I’ve left the schools out of order so that there would be some idea of my original mistake.