Monthly Archives: January 2011

How Big is the Big Ten Financially?

I recently wrote about finances in the SEC, specifically with respect to football and overall athletic department profits. Thanks to so many of you who sent me tweets and emails about it, I’ve decided to make this into a series. Next up is the Big Ten. (If you missed the first piece and want to understand the origin of these numbers and how they were calculated, check the note at the end of this piece.)

There’s an argument to be made that the SEC is the strongest conference in college football. I’m not just saying that because I’m an SEC fan, I’m saying it because they’ve won the past five national championships. Perhaps then it is no surprise that the SEC surpasses the Big Ten in each and every category when it comes to football finance: it generates more, it spends more and it posts bigger profits.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the averages for each category (the totals would be misleading because the SEC has twelve teams and the Big Ten only eleven):

  Football Revenue Football Expenses Football Profit
SEC $49,900,780.92 $19,954,052.50 $29,946,728.42
Big Ten $40,578,173.45 $17,886,754.73 $22,691,418.73

While the SEC has the Big Ten beat in terms of football, the Big Ten teams bring in larger athletic department profits in the aggregate than SEC teams.  The total profit for athletic departments in the Big Ten is $117,750,068, while the SEC, who has one more team than the Big Ten, only posts aggregate profits of $97,887,580.00.  The Big Ten edges out the SEC in terms of average profit by school as well with $10,704,551.44 versus $8,157,298.33 in the SEC. Read the rest of this entry

Who’s Making Money in SEC Football?

Is your team turning a profit in its athletic department? Is it spending in line with its revenue? Could this have any effect on performance on the field? Thanks to a federal statute requiring all colleges and universities that receive Title IV funding (federal student aid) to report the financials for their athletic department, I have the answers for you. (See the Note at the end for more information on this data.)

First, let’s take a look at how the schools rank in terms of revenue for just the football program. For added comparison, I have put each school’s stadium capacity next to their name, since that would have a direct effect on their ability to bring in revenue:

    Stadium Capacity Football Revenue
1 Univ. of Alabama 101,821 $71,884,525.00
2 Univ. of Georgia 92,746 $70,838,539.00
3 Louisiana State Univ. 92,400 $68,819,806.00
4 Univ. of Florida 88,548 $68,715,750.00
5 Auburn Univ. 87,451 $66,162,720.00
6 Univ. of South Carolina 80,250 $58,266,159.00
7 Univ. of Tennessee 102,037 $56,593,946.00
8 Univ. of Arkansas 76,000 $48,524,244.00
9 Univ. of Kentucky 67,606 $31,890,572.00
10 Univ. of Mississippi 60,580 $28,409,774.00
11 Mississippi State Univ. 55,082 $14,551,275.00
12 Vanderbilt Univ. 41,448 $14,152,061.00

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to see perennial contenders like LSU, Florida and Alabama at the top. 

Now let’s take a look at who the big spenders are: Read the rest of this entry