Both the University of Texas and the University of Alabama’s athletic programs individually recorded higher revenues in 2013 than did all 30 NHL teams and 25 of the 30 NBA teams.
I’ll let that one sink in for a bit.
While this might seem less surprising considering the depth of each program in the number of sports represented, there are a couple things to think about.
There are 82 regular season games in both the NHL and the NBA. Considering NCAA football teams play fewer than 15 games a season and NCAA basketball teams average around 30 regular season games per season, these statistics are pretty remarkable.
Pretty much without fail, each academic institution’s largest sports will be football or basketball. Those are obviously the cash cows. In 2013, the Longhorns recorded $165 million in revenue, from which $109 million came from football. Ohio State, Michigan, USC and Oregon were also close to the top of the list when considering overall revenue in 2013.
I’m not even going to attempt to take a side of the age-old argument of whether or not college athletes should be paid, because I realistically see both sides of the argument. But when you are dealing with thousands of unpaid “student-athletes” across the NCAA, some of these statistics can be pretty eye-opening.
Take Major League Soccer, for example. The league’s popularity has undeniably grown in the past five years, and team values have grown as much as 47% in the last year alone. However, the top seven college programs reported double the revenue of the entire MLS.
The MLS reported a sum of $445 million for the revenue of its 19 teams. The 2012 revenues for Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M and LSU exceed $900 million. And NHL franchises as storied and successful as the Red Wings, the Blackhawks, the Penguins and the Kings are dwarfed these powerhouse programs.
With television contracts pushing $18 billion just for March Madness and bowl games each year, plus five major deals for major conferences, there’s a lot of money to be had. Add on merchandise sales, sponsorship deals, ticket sales and booster donations, college athletes are raking in buckets of money. Just not for themselves.
[via Sports Illustrated]