College Basketball Revenue and Game Attendance

Previously, BusinessofCollegeSports.com listed the top-100 most profitable Division I programs.  While the majority of the most profitable programs were football programs, some were surprised to learn that 41 of the top-100 most profitable programs were basketball programs.

So, what is driving college basketball revenue?

The clearest answer is arena attendance at games.

Each year, the NCAA publishes attendance data for all NCAA men’s basketball teams.  Amongst other things, the data ranks the top-100 programs which had the highest attendance at home games, by the team’s average attendance per game.  Stacking this data up against the most profitable NCAA basketball programs depicts that there is a direct correlation between the revenue (and subsequently, profit) that a team generates and attendance at home games.  Out of all of the basketball programs that ranked within BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s top-100 most profitable programs, all but one (Northwestern) also fell within the NCAA’s top-100 average game attendance.

The chart below depicts:  Respective school’s 2010-11 revenue, how their subsequent profit ranked amongst BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s top-100 most profitable programs, 2011 home game attendance figures (total and average), and 2011 NCAA ranking for home game attendance.

School 2010-11 Revenue Ranking 2011 Attendance (Total/Average) Ranking
Louisville $40,887,938.00 16 (458,463/21,832) 3
Duke $28,917,329.00 26 (158,338/9,314) 48
Arizona $21,209,980.00 28 (232,561/13,680) 20
North Carolina $19,672,012.00 31 (287,155/19,144) 4
Ohio State $17,020,807.00 32 (302,498/15,125) 13
Syracuse $19,017,231.00 34 (423,924/22,312) 2
Wisconsin $16,353,313.00 42 (275,680/17,230) 7
Indiana $17,804,586.00 43 (274,663/15,259) 12
Illinois $15,408,818.00 45 (253,623/15,851) 10
Minnesota $15,141,713.00 47 (225,105/13,241) 24
Texas $16,437,705.00 53 (246,044/13,669) 21
Michigan State $16,479,208.00 56 (221,955/14,797) 15
Tennessee $13,785,893.00 59 (341,130/18,952) 5
Oklahoma State $12,262,241.00 61 (167,144/10,447) 39
North Carolina State $10,490,494.00 62 (220,457/13,779) 19
Northwestern $11,018,639.00 63 (89,955/5,291) N/A
Pittsburgh $13,574,317.00 64 (195,182/10,843) 36
UNLV $10,123,168.00 65 (225,301/13,241) 23
Kentucky $18,557,243.00 66 (354,046/23,603) 1
Missouri $11,084,210.00 69 (200,022/11,112) 34
Marquette $15,568,569.00 70 (280,545/15,586) 11
Arkansas $14,608,513.00 73 (225,794/11,884) 29
UCLA $11,621,364.00 74 (139,670/7,759) 65
Maryland $10,965,638.00 75 (268,380/14,910) 14
Washington $10,474,040.00 77 (154,392/9,650) 45
Penn State $9,485,900.00 78 (134,221/7,457) 70
Alabama $11,016,184.00 80 (208,668/10,983) 35
Purdue $9,396,189.00 81 (222,659/13,916) 17
Michigan $9,154,689.00 82 (202,157/10,640) 37
Georgia Tech $8,543,269.00 83 (97,253/6,095) 85
Wake Forest $8,261,666.00 87 (174,781/9,199) 49
Georgia $8,718,363.00 88 (131,998/8,250) 60
Texas A&M $9,786,655.00 89 (153,001/9,000) 50
Clemson $7,705,630.00 91 (140,917/8,289) 59
South Carolina $7,849,818.00 92 (177,254/10,427) 41
Virginia Tech $7,858,609.00 94 (142,907/8,932) 52
Mississippi $7,175,223.00 97 (108,120/6,360) 82
Mississippi State $6,914,565.00 98 (97,069/5,710) 94
Utah $6,220,172.00 99 (126,331/8,422) 58
WVU $7,968,819.00 100 (172,934/11,529) 33

That all but one of the basketball programs which fell into BusinessofCollegeSports.com’s top-100 most profitable programs fell within the NCAA’s top-100 attendance ranking is not coincidental.  Gate admissions generate serious revenue.  Consider the 2012 ticket prices for three schools which had some of the highest attendance ratings in 2011:

School Ticket Prices Ticket Revenue:  Low Ticket Revenue:  High
Kentucky $35.00 or $40 $12,391,610.00 $14,161,840.00
Louisville $35 $16,046,205.00
Tennessee $10 or $25 $3,411,300.00 $8,528,250.00

The figures above assume several factors:  1.  That 2011 ticket prices were the same as 2012 ticket prices, and that the school maintains all of the ticket revenue.  Additionally, it should be noted that in 2012, Louisville charged a higher price ($40) for tickets in its home game versus Memphis.  It is unclear whether that price was charged in 2011.

That being said, given the numbers above, it is possible that ticket sales amount for between 24.7 percent (Tennessee) to 76.3 percent (Kentucky) of a given basketball program’s 2010-11 revenue.  Thus, there is much to be said about how many fans a team draws into home games and how high of a revenue the team is able to turn in a given year.

Posted on March 5, 2012, in Basketball, Finance. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Out of all of the basketball programs that ranked within BusinessofCollegeSports. Gate admissions generate serious revenue. Notify me of new posts via email.Hope you like my post on بنات today.

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