Last Updated on June 5, 2014
One school which has recently been frequently listed as a potential candidate for conferences to add as a new member as they seek to expand, is Louisville. There have been mumblings that conferences, including the Big 12, seek to add the Louisville Cardinals as a member.
There are many reasons that make Louisville an attractive target for conference realignment, including the strength of its men’s basketball team along with its profitability.
While the following is not likely a piece of data conferences seriously consider when deciding which schools to add into their mix, it paints an interesting portrait of just how large and profitable Louisville’s athletic program is. Upon learning that Louisville is one of the few schools in the country that sells beer at some of its athletic events, BusinessofCollegeSports.com reached out to the Louisville athletic department to learn more about how much money the school brings in through concession sales.
Before setting out Louisville’s concession data, remember that in 2009-10–before ever playing a game in its new KFC Yum! Center–the men’s basketball team was the 21st most profitable sports program in the country. This in and of itself was no small feat, as the men’s basketball team was the most profitable basketball program in the nation and even surpassed some high-power football programs, including Wisconsin, Oregon and USC in terms of profitability.
Although concessions do not make up the bulk of Louisville’s revenue, it is no surprise that the Cardinals–whose football and basketball facilities are named after food-chains–have reaped a significant amount of dollars in selling snacks that fans love.
In 2010, throughout seven home football games held at the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville received $785,000.00 in concession revenue.
This dollar amount represents Louisville’s 30 percent split with its concessionaire, Centerplate. Thus, in seven home football games, Louisville sold $2,616,666.66 worth of concessions, or on average, $373,809.52 worth of hot dogs, peanuts, beer and other concessions during each game. Louisville does not breakdown what dollar amount of sales is attributed to a particular item, such as hot dogs, pizza or beer.
As mentioned above, Louisville’s men’s basketball team is the most-profitable in the country. However, it is unlikely that the bulk of this profit is being driven by concession sales.
In 23 home basketball games in the new KFC Yum! Center in 2010-11, Louisville received $461,000 in profit.
The disparity in concession sales at Louisville football and basketball games is understood when you consider the number of seats at each facility. The KFC Yum! Center where the Louisville basketball teams play, has seating for 22,000, whereas Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium where the football team plays, has seating for 42,000.
In 2009-10, the men’s basketball team brought in $25,890,003.00 in revenue. Assuming that Louisville brought in the same amount of profit from concessions during that year and applying all of the revenue earned through concessions to the men’s basketball team’s revenue (and not the women’s), concessions sales accounted for 1.7 percent of the men’s basketball team’s revenue.
So, while $461,000.00 corresponds with a lot of hot dogs, pieces of pizza and cups of beer being enjoyed by Cardinals fans, it does not account significantly for Louisville’s financial success.