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ACC Basketball Financials Heavily Skewed by UNC and Duke

If you read this site regularly or follow me on Twitter, you know that I am in Ireland from May 17-25th. While I’m away, I’m sharing with you the work of Patrick Rishe, my collegue at SportsMoney on This is the fourth of a series of pieces Patrick did for SportsMoney on college basketball finance. You can find all of my pieces on football finance here.

By: Patrick Rishe

Part I of our coverage of the economics of college basketball compared the revenues of the top 14 rated Division I conferences as listed by the RPI ratings. And Part II provided an overview of the top revenue generating basketball programs in the country.

Part III of our assessment of college basketball financials took an in depth look at the college basketball financials of the Big East Conference. Part IV of our assessment of college basketball financials took an in depth look at the college basketball financials of the Big Ten Conference.  Based on data from the 2009-10 academic year, we saw that (a) the average Big Ten school earned $12.5 M in revenue with Wisconsin topping the list at $17.6 M, (b) men’s basketball revenues grew roughly 214% from 2003 to 2009 largely due to the advent of The Big Ten Network, and (c) the conference generated approximately $138 M in revenues which is 2ndbest among BCS conferences behind the Big East.

Part V of our look at college basketball financials herein focuses on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

Recall from our earlier pieces that the financial data for these programs comes from the U.S. Department of Education and is for the 2009-10 academic year.  For reasons described in the afore-linked pieces, this data is highly robust and credible as schools must report their financials to the U.S. Department of Education.


ACC schools average $11.6 M from men’s basketball, but the median is more than $2 M below the mean at $9.2 M.

This is because Duke and North Carolina greatly skew the mean.  Both ranked among the top 5 revenue-generating programs for the reporting year as they respectively earned 130% and 77% more revenue than the league average.

No other ACC team generated men’s basketball revenues above the league average, and 4 schools (Boston College, Miami, Clemson, and Florida State) earned at least 30% below the mean.

Duke $26,667,056 2.30
North Carolina $20,551,168 1.77
Maryland $10,739,282 0.92
North Carolina State $10,354,157 0.89
Virginia $9,788,223 0.84
Virginia Tech $9,252,293 0.80
Georgia Tech $9,143,914 0.79
Wake Forest $9,064,780 0.78
Boston College $8,026,369 0.69
Miami $7,081,121 0.61
Clemson $7,054,691 0.61
Florida St $5,756,857 0.50
MEAN $11,611,187  
MEDIAN $9,252,293  

Not surprisingly, Duke and North Carolina are also far above their conference peers in terms of profits.

Duke earned $14.3 M in men’s basketball profits for the reporting year, North Carolina earned $13.9 M, and then the next closest school was NC State at $7.2 M.  The league average was roughly $5.3 M.

Duke $26,667,056 $12,286,475 $14,380,581
North Carolina $20,551,168 $6,647,459 $13,903,709
North Carolina State $10,354,157 $3,104,152 $7,250,005
Maryland $10,739,282 $5,160,381 $5,578,901
Georgia Tech $9,143,914 $3,873,987 $5,269,927
Wake Forest $9,064,780 $4,196,104 $4,868,676
Virginia Tech $9,252,293 $4,790,553 $4,461,740
Clemson $7,054,691 $4,217,341 $2,837,350
Miami $7,081,121 $4,651,481 $2,429,640
Virginia $9,788,223 $7,390,325 $2,397,898
Florida St $5,756,857 $5,126,393 $630,464
Boston College $8,026,369 $8,026,369 $0
MEAN $11,123,326 $5,789,252 $5,334,074
MEDIAN $9,198,104 $4,958,473 $4,665,208


Due to both the strength of their basketball program and the relative weakness of their football program, Duke generates nearly 39% of their total revenue from men’s basketball.  This is one of the largest “basketball reliance” statistics among Division I BCS schools.

      MBB Rev as
Team MBB Rev Tot Rev % of Tot Rev
Duke $26,667,056 $68,536,289 38.9%
North Carolina $20,551,168 $67,613,805 30.4%
Wake Forest $9,064,780 $42,253,156 21.5%
Maryland $10,739,282 $51,641,771 20.8%
North Carolina State $10,354,157 $50,335,991 20.6%
Georgia Tech $9,143,914 $46,983,216 19.5%
Virginia Tech $9,252,293 $58,115,929 15.9%
Miami $7,081,121 $56,084,064 12.6%
Boston College $8,026,369 $64,502,395 12.4%
Clemson $7,054,691 $57,562,999 12.3%
Virginia $9,788,223 $81,841,632 12.0%
Florida St $5,756,857 $75,209,179 7.7%
MEAN $11,123,326 $60,056,702 18.7%
MEDIAN $9,198,104 $57,839,464 17.7%

Alternatively, schools with a greater history in football relative to basketball (e.g. Florida St, Virginia, Clemson, Boston College, and Miami) have much smaller “basketball shares”.  Florida State, with the most storied football history, only generated 7.7% of their revenues from men’s basketball.

To this point:

Clemson $7,054,691 $30,994,503 4.39
Miami $7,081,121 $24,631,029 3.48
Virginia Tech $9,252,293 $31,155,870 3.37
Florida St $5,756,857 $18,958,861 3.29
Georgia Tech $9,143,914 $24,870,064 2.72
Boston College $8,026,369 $19,184,902 2.39
North Carolina State $10,354,157 $22,018,738 2.13
Virginia $9,788,223 $19,004,653 1.94
Wake Forest $9,064,780 $10,227,922 1.13
Maryland $10,739,282 $11,540,368 1.07
North Carolina $20,551,168 $22,077,550 1.07
Duke $26,667,056 $16,109,324 0.60
MEAN $11,123,326 $20,897,815 2.45
MEDIAN $9,198,104 $20,601,820 2.39

This shows that (a) the average football revenue for ACC schools was $20.9 M per school for the reporting year, and (b) ACC schools averaged $245 in football revenue for every $100 in men’s basketball revenue.

Other interesting points on this topic:

–        4 ACC schools (Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, Florida State) generate at least 3 times as much revenue from football than men’s basketball;

–        Duke actually generated more revenue from men’s basketball than football, perhaps one of the only schools among BCS Division I programs for which this is true.


ACC 2009 2003 Ratio
MBB REV $133,479,911 $98,850,529 1.35
WBB REV $13,783,701 $6,047,077 2.28
ALL REV: MEN+WOMEN SPORTS $420,234,244 $323,565,900 1.30
MBB Rev as % of Total 31.8% 23.5% 1.35
WBB Rev as % of Total 3.3% 1.4% 2.28
Basketball as % of Total 35.0% 32.4% 1.08

Comparing aggregate conference revenue data from 2003 to 2009 and controlling for inflation by measuring both years in constant 2009 dollars, we can surmise that:

– Men’s basketball revenues have grown roughly 35% during that span while women’s basketball revenues have increased by 128%;

– Men’s basketball comprised nearly 32% of the conference’s revenue from men’s and women’s sports in 2009, the largest percentage of any of the 3 conferences analyzed thus far;

– Jointly men’s and women’s basketball comprised 35% of aggregate revenue from men’s and women’s sports in 2009, only up 8% from 2003 but rivaling the Big East for the highest “share”.

That basketball is such a high percentage of total revenues in the ACC speaks to (a) the immense popularity and tradition of college basketball on Tobacco Road and (b) the relatively weaker football revenues generated collectively among ACC schools.

But make no mistake…these financials are wildly skewed by the 2 programs at the top of the table.  Duke and UNC.

Many thanks to Saint Louis University Sports Business students Bryan Beasley, Jacob Fish, Brett Goldman, Jeff Tiedman, Jordan Erk, and Andrew Moses for their contributions to this article.


Follow Patrick on Twitter @ SportsDocRock or visit


  • Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more

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