Most Profitable College Football Programs: #6 Alabama

Last Updated on October 7, 2014

Most Profitable #6I 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?

Now, I’m breaking 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), #4 (Florida) and #5 LSU.

#6 Alabama

Football Revenues

Ticket Sales$36,199,233.00
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)$203,412.00
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$15,832,996.00
Broadcast, Television, Radio and Internet Rights (those not covered by conference-wide contracts)$7,248,639.00
Program Sales, Concessions, Novelty Sales and Parking$46,467.00
Royalties, Licensing, Advertisements and Sponsorships$1,297,257.00
Sport Camps$584,616.00
Endowment and Investment Income$311,143.00

Football Expenses

Athletic Student Aid (i.e., tuition, room and board)$3,632,607.00
Guarantees (amounts paid to visiting teams)$2,475,000.00
Head Coach Salary/Benefits/Bonuses$6,385,824.00
Asst Coaches Salaries/Benefits/Bonuses$5,571,481.00
Support Staff Salaries/Benefits/Bonuses$2,896,666.00
Severance Payments$141,476.00
Team Travel$3,432,188.00
Equipment, Uniforms and Supplies$1,576,657.00
Game Expenses$2,918,745.00
Fundraising, Marketing and Promotion$4,273,408.00
Sport Camps$647,774.00
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)$2,579,734.00
Spirit Groups (support for bands, cheerleaders, mascots, dancers, etc.)$229,553.00
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$1,237,426.00
Memberships and Dues$2,506.00


Alabama’s $47.1 million in net revenue from football is good enough for sixth in the nation behind Texas, Michigan, UGA, Florida and LSU. It was also plenty to cover the $14.9 million lost by sports other than football and men’s basketball (which had $5.8 million in net revenue). However, Alabama also reported $44.9 million in operating expenses not attributed to just one sport, offset by only $34 million in non-attributed revenue.

Like the other five athletic departments I’ve detailed at the top of this list, Alabama contributed back to the University for non-athletic initiatives to the tune of $5.9 million. After its expenses, the Crimson Tide reported $21.2 million in net revenue for the athletic department in 2012-2013.

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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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