Most Profitable College Football Programs: #5 LSU

Last Updated on October 31, 2014

Most profitable #5I recently wrote a piece for Smarty Cents about the finances of college football programs – where does the money come from (other than television), where does it go and who makes the most?

For the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the Top 10 most profitable (with nonprofits it’s technically net revenue, not profit, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue) college football programs from 2012-2013. I’ve already posted #1 (Texas), #2 (Michigan), #3 (Georgia) and #4 (Florida).

#5 LSU

Football Revenues

Ticket Sales$33,171,661.00
Student Fees$0.00
Compensation and Benefits Provided by a Third Party (car stipend, country club membership, entertainment allowance, clothing allowance, speaking fees, housing allowance, compensation from camps, radio/tv income, and shoe and apparel income)$635,895.00
Indirect Institutional Support (the value of facilities and services provided by the university and not charged to athletics)$0.00
Direct Institutional Support (institutional resources provided for athletics and unrestricted funds allocated to athletics by the university)$0.00
Government Support$0.00
NCAA and Conference Distributions$15,913,422.00
Broadcast, Television, Radio and Internet Rights (those not covered by conference-wide contracts)$0.00
Program Sales, Concessions, Novelty Sales and Parking$2,768,620.00
Royalties, Licensing, Advertisements and Sponsorships$0.00
Sport Camps$0.00
Endowment and Investment Income$0.00

Football Expenses

Athletic Student Aid (i.e., tuition, room and board)$3,080,962.00
Guarantees (amounts paid to visiting teams)$2,885,000.00
Head Coach Salary/Benefits/Bonuses$4,290,781.00
Asst Coaches Salaries/Benefits/Bonuses$5,871,695.00
Support Staff Salaries/Benefits/Bonuses$1,520,744.00
Severance Payments$8,398.00
Team Travel$1,036,267.00
Equipment, Uniforms and Supplies$1,133,395.00
Game Expenses$886,826.00
Fundraising, Marketing and Promotion$194,927.00
Sport Camps$0.00
Direct Facilities, Maintenance and Rental (costs charged to athletics for building and grounds maintenance, utilities, rental fees, operating leases, equipment repair and maintenance, and debt service)$14,784.00
Spirit Groups (support for bands, cheerleaders, mascots, dancers, etc.)$0.00
Indirect Facilities and Administrative Support (the value of facilities and services provided by the institution and not charged to athletics)$0.00
Medical Expenses and Medical Insurance$176,138.00
Memberships and Dues$35,609.00

The Tigers banked $48.5 million in net revenue from football in 2012-2013 – plenty to cover the $15.7 million lost by sports other than football and men’s basketball (which had $2.6 million in net revenue). However, LSU also reported $50 million in expenses not attributed to just one sport, offset by only $26.9 million in non-attributed revenue.

Like the other four athletic departments I’ve detailed at the top of this list, LSU contributed back to the University for non-athletic initiatives. The Tigers inked a check for $4.7 million and ended the 2012-2013 reporting year $7.5 million in the black.

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The data presented here comes from financial reports the schools file with the NCAA. You may notice the numbers vary slightly from the Department of Education data I shared on Smarty Cents, but that’s because the reporting guidelines are slightly different. The reports filed with the NCAA are more accurate, but unfortunately they’re unavailable for private universities, because they aren’t subject to public records requests. Accordingly, I created the Top 10 list using Department of Education data (which does include private universities), but I’m sharing with you the more detailed data from the reports filed with the NCAA.

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