Say Goodbye to Division IV

453653643In my opinion, Division IV was like Texas threatening to leave the Big XII; it was never going to happen. Texas wanted Longhorn Network and all the money that came with it, and the Power 5 (the ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) want autonomy within the confines of the NCAA.

Click here to keep reading my thoughts on why Division IV isn’t happening over on Outkick the Coverage.

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

Sold: Naming Rights for Houston’s New Football Stadium

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

Rendering of TDECU Stadium at University of Houston (photo credit: University of Houston)

When University of Houston plays its first football game in its new on-campus stadium on August 29th against UTSA on national television, the announcers will refer to it as TDECU Stadium thanks to a new naming rights deal. A 10-year, $15-million gift from TDECU gets the local credit union naming rights and a suite on the 50-yard line.

Here at BusinessofCollegeSports.com we’ve been tracking naming rights deals for intercollegiate athletics facilities. Houston’s new deal brings the average annual value of naming rights for football stadiums to $879,594 (based on available data). Read more about our naming rights study here. We also maintain a full database of known naming rights deals.

Houston’s deal will be a nice infusion of cash for an athletic department that reported $42 million in total revenue last year. Mack Rhoades, Houston’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, had this to say about the partnership:

“From the beginning of this process, we have been very strategic with how we chose our naming rights gift. We wanted an entity that aligned with our core values, cared about its workforce and its clients, invested in the community and the University. We’ve found that and more with TDECU.”

TDECU’s President and CEO Stephanie Sherrodd was equally as enthusiastic about the partnership:

“We are thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to partner with the University of Houston.  We are proud to have the TDECU name on the new stadium as a visible sign of our commitment to the University and the Houston community, TDECU’s core values are shared by the University of Houston in improving the lives of those around us in order to build for the future.”

Houston has already sold out all suites (26), loge boxes, suite decks, party patios and club seating in the new football stadium as it looks forward to its second season in the American Athletic Conference.

Naming Rights Banner


Conference Realignment Timeline

When I was writing my business of college football book, Saturday Millionaires, it was practically a full-time job keeping up with conference realignment from 2010-2013. Lucky for me, all got quiet about the same time I published the book, so you’ll find Chapter 4 is still a completely accurate tale of not only this round of realignment but previous rounds as well.

Feeling nostalgic for the good ole days when you never knew what conferences might look like in a week or a month or a year? Here’s a detailed timeline of how it all played out….

A big thank you to my intern extraordinaire, Lauren Nevidomsky, who helped me put this together!

Cal Stadium

Barbour Becomes Second Female FBS AD to Step Down this Summer

Cal Stadium
Photo credit: Flickr user John Morgan

Cal will reportedly be announcing today that AD Sandy Barbour, who’s led Cal’s athletic department since 2004, will step down and move to the academic side. She’s the second female athletic director to step down from an FBS athletic department this summer. Georgia State announced in May that AD Cheryl Levick would move into a new role as special assistant to the university president.

That leaves six women at the helm in FBS athletic departments:

Julie Hermann, Rutgers

Debbie Yow, North Carolina State

Lynn Hickey, UT-San Antonio

Kathy Beauregard, Western Michigan

Tina Kunzer-Murphy, UNLV

Heather Lyke, Eastern Michigan

When UNC-Charlotte moves up to FBS next year, Judy Rose will become the seventh female athletic director at the FBS level. You could also perhaps count Chris Plonsky, Director of Women’s Athletics at University of Texas, since Texas has divided the AD role between men’s and women’s sports.

Women might be in the minority at the FBS level, but three of the current female ADs have been hired in the past two years: Hermann at Rutgers, Kunzer-Murphy at UNLV and Lyke at Eastern Michigan.  In 2012, there were only five female athletic directors at the FBS level.

Why do you think there are so few women ADs at the FBS level (and even at the Division I level overall)? Is it discrimination? Do women not want the job? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Thank you to my Twitter followers who helped me track down exactly how many female ADs are currently in FBS!

CWS 2011 Opening Ceremony

How much money does Vanderbilt make for winning College World Series?

CWS 2011 Opening Ceremony
Photo credit: White & Blue Review via Flickr


Outside of men’s basketball, participation in postseason NCAA competition is not rewarded with monetary compensation. Not even for the College World Series, where hundreds of thousands of fans pack the stands over the course of the series and the games air on national television.

This year, the College World Series drew an average of 21,734 fans per game, just edging out the 20,533 per session for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. Total attendance for the College World Series this year was 347,740. However, the television contract pales in comparison: the CWS is part of a $500 million television contract signed with ESPN in 2011 for 24 sports championships through 2023-2024, while the men’s basketball tournament averages $771 million annually.

According to a presentation I attended by NCAA CFO Kathleen McNeely at the CABMA convention in 2013, the NCAA banked approximately $9 million from the baseball tournament the previous year, which amounted to 12 percent of all NCAA championship revenue.

Before you think the NCAA is unfairly depriving baseball teams of the revenue generated by postseason tournaments, keep this in mind: McNeely also shared that only seven sports bring in revenue for the NCAA from championships. By my count, the NCAA hosts championships for 92 sports across Division I, II and III. McNeely’s presentation pegged the annual cost of championships at $74 million for programming costs, which does not include the cost to staff those championships.

Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)

How much are college athletic facility naming rights worth?

Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)
Brighthouse Networks Stadium at UCF (photo credit: Breezy Baldwin via Flickr)

UPDATE: Boise State’s new naming rights deal with Albertsons was unintentionally omitted. It has been added, which has changed the average annual values in the original post.

What’s the market value for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities? It’s much more difficult to estimate than if we were talking about professional athletics. Universities often complete these deals at less than market rate in order to acknowledge past gifts by major donors.

For example, naming right for Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium at University of Louisville is officially on the books as a $5 million donation for 52 years. In total, however, Papa John’s had donated approximately $22 million for the football stadium through 2011.  Would University of Louisville have agreed to a naming rights deal with a company it had never done business with previously for 52 years for $5 million? Not likely.

It’s not uncommon in these deals for past donations to be taken into account, causing the naming rights deal itself to be below market rate. That’s somewhat unique to college athletics thanks to its nonprofit status and history of relying upon donations.

We’ve recently updated our database for naming rights deals on college athletic facilities. Quite a few of the deals are for the life of the stadium or arena, and details of the deals aren’t always disclosed, especially when it involves a private university.

However, just for the sake of trying to pinpoint something approximating an average annual value, here are some average annual values based on what we do know: Continue reading