Category Archives: Football

The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee Meeting: Questions Presidents Must Ask

Today, the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee is meeting in Washington, D.C.  At the meeting, FBS conference commissioners will present the new post-season model, which they endorsed last week, to 12 university presidents.  The BCS has acknowledged that the proposal involves a four-team seeded playoff.  Other reports indicate that the four teams would be selected by a committee and would face-off in already existing bowl games.  Additional reports indicate that the site of the national championship game would be determined by a bidding system.  While the commissioner’s proposed new post-season model marks clear differences from the current BCS system, university presidents should ask the following questions and require sufficient answers before signing off on the plan. 

1.  Term of the Agreement

The first question presidents must ask, is how long of an agreement must they enter into if they approve the proposed plan?  The current BCS system has been in place since 1998.  While it was adopted to thwart previous criticism of the NCAA football post-season model, the current BCS system has attracted a large amount of criticism. 

Recognizing the amount of criticism that seems to befall any college football post-season model, university presidents should suggest that the term of this agreement be long enough to work any kinks out of the system, but not so long that changes cannot be made if it turns out to be an imperfect system.  In that regard, a five to six-year agreement would likely be the most beneficial term.

The elephant in the room when it comes to the length of the term, is arguably television contracts.  The expiration of the BCS’s current agreement coincides with the expiration of its television agreements.  Thus, there is the possibility that the BCS and conference commissioners believe that a lengthier agreement will benefit network negotiations.   Arguably, the longer that the BCS and conference commissioners can say that the new deal is in place, the more that networks will be willing to spend on deals. 

However, by shortening the term, the conferences and universities take away some of the negotiating power from the networks.  Shortening the term essentially requires networks to re-negotiate their television contracts at the end of the term.  Understandably, this opens up the possibility of conferences and universities obtaining more money from multiple television contracts.

2.  The Selection Committee

As noted above, it appears that conference commissioners propose that the teams that participate in the four-team playoff be selected by a committee.  This is arguably the least controversial proposal brought by the commissioners.  Most notably, a selection committee is used to seed the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  Although it is an imperfect method, it works.  Nonetheless, the presidents should question how the committee will be made up, and what safeguards will be in place to ensure that the nation’s top-four teams play in the playoff.

3.  Costs

The biggest issue university presidents should have with the proposed system, is its cost.  For all intensive purposes, under the proposed model, a team that makes the national championship game would be playing in two bowl games.  Playing in two bowl games understandably involves significant costs.

Before approving the proposed model, university presidents must rest assured that they understand the extent of these costs and who they will be borne by.  Under the current BCS model, teams playing in BCS bowl games are required to purchase a certain amount of tickets.  If they do not sell these tickets, they eat their cost.  This can cost a school hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Additionally, there are large travel costs associated with playing in bowl games.  Under the proposed model, these costs will now have to be borne twice.  This is because teams will have to travel to a bowl site to play in the playoff and then again to whichever city bid the highest to host the national championship game.

For contractual reasons, it is unlikely that the commissioners will sway away from hosting the playoff at a bowl site.  Thus, university presidents must request that the BCS or conferences pay some portion of their travel costs, in order to make this an economically feasible solution.

Overall, in presenting this proposal, the conference commissioners have answered many questions and addressed many of the criticisms of the current BCS model.  However, it is clear that issues remain that must be addressed before it is adopted as the new college football post-season model.

A Lucky Opportunity: How Andrew Luck’s Success Has Helped Stanford Athletics

One thing is certain to happen this evening at Radio City Music Hall:  The first name to be called in the 2012 NFL Draft will be that of former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

In his four years at Stanford, Luck threw for 31 wins, led Stanford to three bowl appearances and was a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy twice, all while completing an engineering degree in architectural design.  Luck’s impressive resume at Stanford left the university with not only a stronger football program, but with a great marketing opportunity.

Joe Karlgaard has served as Stanford’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Development since February 2011.  Prior to that, he was the athletic director at Oberlin College for six years and as a Stanford student, worked in Stanford’s track and field office.  When asked whether a Stanford student-athlete has captivated donors like Luck, Karlgaard says the school has never seen a current student-athlete as celebrated as Luck.

“I think that Andrew certainly has a profile in college athletics that we haven’t seen at Stanford in a long time.  Tiger Woods may have a similar profile, but his profile grew after he left Stanford and won the Masters.  Luck is a two-time Heisman finalist, who helped us turn around our football program and performed well in the classroom,” Karlgaard explained.

The profile Luck developed during his four-year tenure at Stanford has assisted the Stanford athletics department in fundraising.  In particular, the athletics department has received two anonymous donations totaling $15 million dollars from donors who said they were inspired by Luck.  While these large donations were definitely given as a result of Luck’s presence at Stanford, Karlgaard believes that Luck has motivated others to donate money to the Stanford athletics department.

The $15 million which the Stanford athletics department received from donors who were inspired by Luck will only further propel Luck’s positive presence on the campus.  According to Karlgaard, the $15 million will be used to fund endowment and capital projects.  One capital project that will be funded in part by the $15 million donation, is Stanford’s renovations to its Arrillaga Family Sports Center.  Stanford will break ground this summer on the 18 month renovation process to the facility.  Renovations will include an expanded weight room, new football locker room, two new auditoriums, new football coaches offices and new film rooms.  The total cost of the renovations to the Arrillaga Family Sports Center is expected to be $18 million, of which Karlgaard indicates has all been raised by Stanford.

Luck’s presence as Stanford has been used by the athletics department to generate annual giving donations.  Stanford athletics utilizes the website BuckCardinal.com for annual giving purposes.  As of this Tuesday, the front page of the website features a nine-and-a-half minute video featuring Luck discussing his experience at Stanford.  Karlgaard said that the email was pushed out to donors who have not given this year to the annual find with invitation for them to donate to the athletics department.  Within 24 hours of the video being uploaded, it had received over 2,000 page views.

As for whether Luck’s being drafted number-one will further motivate donors to give money to Stanford athletics, Karlgaard said, “I don’t think his going number-one necessarily changes the minds of our donors regarding how they feel about Luck or Stanford football.  He’s the whole package.  He’s the consummate student-athlete as Stanford envisions it.  His success on the football field and his commitment to finishing his degree in a rigorous subject, like architecture, have inspired our donors at a variety of levels.  I don’t think his going number-one has any real impact.  If the Colts decided to take Robert Griffin III, I don’t think we would see any real downturn to our donations for development.”

Today, there is an air of excitement on the Stanford campus, as the school’s quarterback is expected to be the first name called in the NFL Draft.  However, given the profile Andrew Luck built-in his four years at Stanford, his name will certainly continue to ring out on Stanford’s campus.

Georgia Tech Fans Costing Athletic Department Millions

Guest Author: Taylor King of ChuckOliver.net

Dan Radakovich and Paul Johnson must sit in their respective offices at 150 Bobby Dodd Way and shake their heads in disbelief. They look out at Bobby Dodd Stadium and must wonder how they are going to fill the seats next season.  Not only does it look bad for recruiting and player morale, The Institute is losing millions of dollars.  And with the “Big 3” games-Clemson, Virginia Tech and UGA-on the road this year, the revenue loss for the upcoming seasons has to be a hot topic for the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach with no solution in sight.

If you look at the 2011 football season, Tech lost just over $2.3 million in tickets sales at home football games alone.  How did I come up with such a figure?  Tech sold 337,622 of the potential 385,000 seats for its 2011 home games (87%.)  With an average ticket price of $50 multiplied to the difference of 47,378 empty seats, a figure of around $2,368,900 in revenue lost can be attributed to seats that were not purchased during the season.

That is astronomical if you think that the number does not include any monies lost in concessions or merchandise sales.  The ticket office even ran a few deals during the year which include the three for $99 for select ACC home games and the four tickets, four drinks, four hotdogs and a media guide for $100 for the Family Weekend game against UNC.

So what is it going to take for fans to start showing up? Click to keep reading…

Did Missouri Overstate Its Football Expenses?

When reviewing the Department of Education’s most recent Equity in Athletics Disclosure Report, one item stood out:  Missouri’s football expenses rose sharply between 2009-10 and 2010-11.

In 2009, Missouri’s total football expenses were reported as being $13.76 million.  In its initial 2010-11 Equity in Athletics Disclosure, Missouri reported that its football team’s expenses totaled around $20 million.  A jump of $6.24 million led several media outlets to question Missouri about the sharp rise in its football team’s expenses.

As it turns out, Missouri did not go gangbusters in spending during the 2010-11 season.  Rather, it was merely a typo which caused the school to report that its football expenses increased by $6.24 million over a one-year period.

While it truly was most likely a typo which caused this reporting error, other media outlets noted that Missouri’s initial 2010-11 football expense reporting value of $20 million was closer in par to that of SEC football teams.  Late last year, Missouri announced that it would be leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC.  When the announcement was made, many wondered if Missouri could compete in the SEC in football.

Along with Missouri, Texas A&M will be leaving the Big 12 to begin play in the SEC this upcoming season.  If Missouri and Texas A&M were members of the SEC during the 2010-11 season, how would their football expenses stack up amongst those of the rest of the conference?

The chart below depicts each football team’s total expenses during the 2010-11 season, as reported to the Department of Education.  This data is the best available to gauge such expenses, as it is the only public report available providing this type of data for both public and private institutions.  However, the data is not perfect.  For instance, there are no set guidelines as to how expenses are calculated, other than the Department of Education does not allow schools to add in capital expenses to their expense value.  Nonetheless, it does provide insight into which football teams are spending the most.

Team Total Expenses
1.  Auburn $39,069,676.00
2.  Alabama $31,580,059.00
3.  Florida $26,263,539.00
4.  Arkansas $24,059,193.00
5.  South Carolina $22,482,479.00
6.  Georgia $22,036,338.00
7.  LSU $21,492,741.00
8.  Tennessee $19,135,650.00
9.  Ole Miss $17,764,174.00
10.  Vanderbilt $16,507,997.00
11.  Texas A&M $15,560,216.00
12.  Missouri $14,983,805.00
13.  Kentucky $14,352,110.00
14.  Mississippi State $11,766,024.00

The good news for Missouri and Texas A&M, is that if they were members of the SEC during the 2010-11 season, their football teams would not have expended the least amount of money in the SEC.  The bad news for Missouri and Texas A&M, is that Kentucky and Mississippi State have never been known for their SEC football competitiveness.

In 2010-11, SEC football teams had total expenses averaging $22,209,165.00.  Thus, there is room to argue that if Missouri and Texas A&M want to be competitive within the conference in football, they will need to raise their expenditures to this level.  It is unknown what SEC football teams expended on football during the 2011-12 season, as that data is not available yet.

To see how Missouri and Texas A&M’s football teams stacked up financially in 2010-11 in the Big 12, click here.  (NOTE:  The PDF chart was created using the expense amount initially reported by Missouri to the Department of Education.  This chart will be updated shortly).

To see how Missouri and Texas A&M’s football teams stacked up financially in 2010-11 throughout the NCAA, click here.

51-100 Most Profitable FBS Football and Basketball Programs

Over the past week, we’ve posted financials for every football and men’s basketball program in the FBS, with the exception of the military academies. Here are the links: ACCBig XIIBig EastC-USABig TenMACPac-12SECSun BeltMountain West and WAC. Yesterday we presented the Top 50 most profitable FBS football and men’s basketball programs.

Below you will find the 51-100 most profitable programs. The “% Invested” column shows how much of the specific sport’s revenue goes back into that specific sport.

Please read below before viewing the financials.

About the data: All of the data is from reports each school files with the US Department of Education. It is the only available data for both public and private universities. However, there can be variances in how each school chooses to report data. For example, each school can decide for itself whether to break out television revenue by sport or leave it in a generic revenue category, which causes variances. After speaking with dozens of schools the most common practice appears to be attributing the majority of television revenue to football and a portion to basketball. The most common split is 65/35.

There are also variances from year-to-year, so be careful when comparing this data to last year’s data. For example, Florida State’s football program showed a gain of approximately $14 million from ’09-’10 to ’10-’11. When contacted for comment FSU explained that in ’10-’11 they broke out contributions by sport, which they hadn’t done previously.

Although far from perfect, this data is the only available data for all Division I programs (with the exception of the military academies). We just want to make you aware of the possible variances and will let you draw your own conclusions.

Please note: we did not rank non-AQ schools last year, so those schools will not show a rank for ’09-’10.

10-11 Rank 09-10 Rank School 10-11 Revenue 10-11 Expenses  10-11 Profit  % Invested
51 62 Kansas State (Football) $19,731,620 $10,867,052 $8,864,568 55.07%
52 56 Northwestern Univ. (Football) $28,198,769 $19,430,675 $8,768,094 68.91%
53 60 University of Texas (Basketball) $16,437,705 $8,195,360 $8,242,345 49.86%
54 45 Indiana Univ. (Football) $24,230,741 $16,112,930 $8,117,811 66.50%
55 40 Univ of Arizona (Football) $25,448,212 $17,965,169 $7,483,043 70.60%
56 50 Michigan St. (Basketball) $16,479,208 $9,263,945 $7,215,263 56.22%
57 44 Georgia Tech (Football) $22,557,020 $15,463,243 $7,093,777 68.55%
58 66 Univ of California, Berkeley (Football) $24,328,784 $17,398,649 $6,930,135 71.51%
59 58 Univ. of Tennessee (Basketball) $13,785,893 $6,863,233 $6,922,660 49.78%
60 24 West Virginia University (Football) $19,960,732 $13,230,226 $6,730,506 66.28%
61 100 Oklahoma State (Basketball) $12,262,241 $5,658,993 $6,603,248 46.15%
62 52 North Carolina State (Basketball) $10,490,494 $3,947,120 $6,543,374 37.63%
63 67 Northwestern (Basketball) $11,018,639 $4,577,278 $6,441,361 41.54%
64 54 University of Pittsburgh  (Basketball) $13,574,317 $7,181,490 $6,392,827 52.90%
65   UNLV (Basketball) $10,123,168 $3,806,508 $6,316,660 37.60%
66 71 Univ. of Kentucky (Basketball) $18,557,243 $12,355,375 $6,201,868 66.58%
67 128 Vanderbilt Univ.  (Football) $22,455,110 $16,507,997 $5,947,113 73.52%
68 63 Purdue Univ. (Football) $18,359,413 $12,420,742 $5,938,671 67.65%
69 81 University of Missouri (Basketball) $11,084,210 $5,391,400 $5,692,810 48.64%
70 68 Marquette (Basketball) $15,568,569 $10,348,303 $5,220,266 66.47%
71   Boise State (Football) $12,950,605 $7,834,316 $5,116,289 60.49%
72 55 Univ of California, Los Angeles (Football) $23,017,910 $17,913,658 $5,104,252 77.82%
73 47 Univ. of Arkansas (Basketball) $14,608,513 $9,548,135 $5,060,378 65.36%
74 65 Univ of California, Los Angeles (Basketball) $11,621,364 $6,702,818 $4,918,546 57.68%
75 69 Maryland (Basketball) $10,965,638 $6,062,659 $4,902,979 55.29%
76   BYU (Football) $15,664,108 $10,764,814 $4,899,294 68.72%
77 64 Univ of Washington (Basketball) $10,474,040 $5,702,562 $4,771,478 54.44%
78 80 Penn St. (Basketball) $9,485,900 $4,851,361 $4,634,539 51.14%
79 78 University of South Florida (Football) $17,017,821 $12,657,523 $4,360,298 74.38%
80 79 Univ. of Alabama (Basketball) $11,016,184 $6,819,080 $4,197,104 61.90%
81 98 Purdue (Basketball) $9,396,189 $5,204,365 $4,191,824 55.39%
82 89 Michigan (Basketball) $9,154,689 $5,102,129 $4,052,560 55.73%
83 70 Georgia Tech (Basketball) $8,543,269 $4,625,109 $3,918,160 54.14%
84 35 University of Missouri (Football) $24,694,807 $20,806,778 $3,888,029 84.26%
85 82 Stanford University (Football) $19,521,092 $15,888,069 $3,633,023 81.39%
86 86 Washington State (Football) $12,741,698 $9,193,553 $3,548,145 72.15%
87 75 Wake Forest (Basketball) $8,261,666 $4,773,315 $3,488,351 57.78%
88 84 Univ. of Georgia (Basketball) $8,718,363 $5,253,434 $3,464,929 60.26%
89 94 Texas A&M (Basketball) $9,786,655 $6,340,072 $3,446,583 64.78%
90 111 Duke University (Football) $18,243,589 $14,837,825 $3,405,764 81.33%
91 95 Clemson (Basketball) $7,705,630 $4,417,665 $3,287,965 57.33%
92 72 Univ. of South Carolina (Basketball) $7,849,818 $4,618,566 $3,231,252 58.84%
93   Army (Football) $8,839,775 $5,620,774 $3,219,001 63.59%
94 77 Virginia Tech (Basketball) $7,858,609 $4,782,477 $3,076,132 60.86%
95   Cal State – Fresno (Football) $10,059,929 $7,040,523 $3,019,406 69.99%
96   Wyoming (Football) $8,677,505 $5,770,034 $2,907,471 66.49%
97 88 Univ. of Mississippi (Basketball) $7,175,223 $4,270,576 $2,904,647 59.52%
98 85 Mississippi State Univ. (Basketball) $6,914,565 $4,052,623 $2,861,942 58.61%
99   Utah (Basketball) $6,220,172 $3,516,570 $2,703,602 56.53%
100 57 West Virginia University  (Basketball) $7,968,819 $5,333,891 $2,634,928 66.93%

We’ve also created a comprehensive chart with comparisons to ’09-’10: Top 51-100 Most Profitable Programs 10-11 (.pdf)

Top 50 Most Profitable FBS Football and Men’s Basketball Programs

Over the past week, we’ve posted financials for every football and men’s basketball program in the FBS, with the exception of the military academies. Here are the links: ACCBig XIIBig EastC-USABig TenMACPac-12SEC, Sun Belt, Mountain West and WAC.

Below you will find the top 50 most profitable programs. We’ll post 51-100 later today. The “% Invested” column shows how much of the specific sport’s revenue goes back into that specific sport.

Please read below before viewing the financials.

About the data: All of the data is from reports each school files with the US Department of Education. It is the only available data for both public and private universities. However, there can be variances in how each school chooses to report data. For example, each school can decide for itself whether to break out television revenue by sport or leave it in a generic revenue category, which causes variances. After speaking with dozens of schools the most common practice appears to be attributing the majority of television revenue to football and a portion to basketball. The most common split is 65/35.

There are also variances from year-to-year, so be careful when comparing this data to last year’s data. For example, Florida State’s football program showed a gain of approximately $14 million from ’09-’10 to ’10-’11. When contacted for comment FSU explained that in ’10-’11 they broke out contributions by sport, which they hadn’t done previously.

Although far from perfect, this data is the only available data for all Division I programs (with the exception of the military academies). We just want to make you aware of the possible variances and will let you draw your own conclusions.

10-11 Rank 09-10 Rank School 10-11 Revenue 10-11 Expenses  10-11 Profit 
1 1 University of Texas (Football) $95,749,684 $24,507,352 $71,242,332
2 3 Penn State Univ. (Football) $72,747,734 $19,519,288 $53,228,446
3 2 Univ. of Georgia (Football) $74,888,175 $22,036,338 $52,851,837
4 6 Louisiana State Univ. (Football) $68,510,141 $21,492,741 $47,017,400
5 4 Univ. of Michigan (Football) $70,300,676 $23,552,233 $46,748,443
6 5 Univ. of Florida (Football) $72,807,236 $26,263,539 $46,543,697
7 7 Univ. of Alabama (Football) $76,801,800 $31,580,059 $45,221,741
8 12 Notre Dame (Football) $68,782,560 $25,164,887 $43,617,673
9 8 Univ. of Tennessee (Football) $56,831,514 $19,135,650 $37,695,864
10 9 Auburn Univ. (Football) $76,227,804 $39,069,676 $37,158,128
11 17 Univ. of Arkansas (Football) $61,131,707 $24,059,193 $37,072,514
12 10 University of Oklahoma (Football) $58,811,324 $23,191,402 $35,619,922
13 13 University of Nebraska (Football) $54,712,406 $20,147,302 $34,565,104
14 18 Texas A&M (Football) $45,414,074 $15,560,216 $29,853,858
15 16 Michigan State Univ. (Football) $45,040,778 $17,420,499 $27,620,279
16 21 University of Louisville (Basketball) $40,887,938 $13,336,649 $27,551,289
17 14 Ohio State Univ. (Football) $60,837,342 $34,373,844 $26,463,498
18 15 Univ. of Iowa (Football) $44,506,832 $20,510,807 $23,996,025
19 11 Univ. of South Carolina (Football) $45,464,058 $22,482,479 $22,981,579
20 19 Univ. of Kentucky (Football) $34,020,276 $14,352,110 $19,668,166
21 22 Univ. of Wisconsin (Football) $43,296,599 $23,662,925 $19,633,674
22 20 Oklahoma State (Football) $33,213,396 $13,787,271 $19,426,125
23 27 Univ of Washington (Football) $39,405,237 $21,306,380 $18,098,857
24 99 Florida State Univ. (Football) $35,870,789 $18,689,809 $17,180,980
25 30 Univ. of Illinois (Football) $28,079,694 $12,910,507 $15,169,187
26 29 Duke (Basketball) $28,917,329 $13,819,529 $15,097,800
27 26 Virginia Tech (Football) $35,083,799 $20,009,657 $15,074,142
28 33 Univ of Arizona (Basketball) $21,209,980 $6,918,239 $14,291,741
29 28 Clemson Univ. (Football) $31,730,042 $17,992,943 $13,737,099
30 25 Univ. of Minnesota (Football) $30,524,945 $16,985,182 $13,539,763
31 31 North Carolina (Basketball) $19,672,012 $6,510,942 $13,161,070
32 34 Ohio St. (Basketball) $17,020,807 $5,251,724 $11,769,083
33 48 Univ of Southern California (Football) $31,148,724 $19,423,723 $11,725,001
34 41 Syracuse University (Basketball)  $19,017,231 $7,532,455 $11,484,776
35 51 Univ. of North Carolina (Football) $26,385,760 $15,050,721 $11,335,039
36 37 Arizona State (Football) $27,842,879 $16,564,598 $11,278,281
37 76 Mississippi State Univ. (Football) $22,575,985 $11,766,024 $10,809,961
38 38 Texas Tech (Football) $26,569,287 $15,788,943 $10,780,344
39 23 Univ. of Mississippi (Football) $28,515,471 $17,764,174 $10,751,297
40 36 North Carolina State (Football) $21,856,742 $11,329,718 $10,527,024
41 90 University of Louisville (Football) $25,658,653 $15,582,161 $10,076,492
42 42 Wisconsin (Basketball) $16,353,313 $6,394,547 $9,958,766
43 46 Indiana (Basketball) $17,804,586 $7,945,102 $9,859,484
44   Utah (Football) $21,235,202 $11,426,280 $9,808,922
45 43 Illinois (Basketball) $15,408,818 $5,630,297 $9,778,521
46 32 University of Colorado (Football) $25,955,136 $16,308,544 $9,646,592
47 49 Minnesota (Basketball) $15,141,713 $5,549,650 $9,592,063
48 39 Univ of Oregon (Football) $27,713,278 $18,198,476 $9,514,802
49 53 Oregon State (Football) $21,690,794 $12,282,221 $9,408,573
50 61 Iowa State (Football) $21,862,535 $12,513,317 $9,349,218

We’ve also created a comprehensive chart with comparisons to ’09-’10: Top 50 Most Profitable Programs ’10-’11 (.pdf)

San Diego State Takes Calculated Risk Joining Big East

Guest author: Dr. Michael Lorenzen

Dr. Michael Lorenzen is the principal owner of Collegiate Athletics Strategy Advising, a firm that provides advisement services to collegiate athletics administrators 

One of the most significant trends to impact intercollegiate athletics in the last several years has been conference realignment.  While some of the most landscape-altering changes have probably already been completed, there is almost certainly going to continue to be movement as universities make decisions that may seem to contradict completely the traditional understanding of conference membership.  After all, the historic significance of collegiate athletic conferences has been to organize a group of universities around a common sense of mission, history, size, and geographic location in order to create affiliations and rivalries that benefit all involved.  In that context, it is reasonable to ask how in the world some of the latest changes make any sense at all–does San Diego State really fit in the Big East?

There is a fairly straightforward analytical approach to evaluating that sort of move and in the case of San Diego State, the financial bottom line would suggest that the move makes both dollars and sense.

The first consideration for most schools is the most obvious one–what sort of media rights contract exists in the target conference and how does that compare to their current situation?  San Diego State has been a member of the Mountain West, which was likely paying out up to $1.9 million per institution per year according to Boise State President Bob Kustra.  By comparison, the Big East media deal was projected to pay $3.7 million per year to football schools.  A gain of $1.8 million per year could be a powerful incentive.

At the same time, that Big East deal pales when compared to the other conference negotiations in the last several years.  The new Pac 12 contract, which will begin with the 2012-13 season, will be worth more than $225 million per year — or $2.7 billion over the life of the deal, according to the Sports Business Daily and The Associated Press.

The ACC currently operates under a deal for $155 million a year, and the Big 12 reached a deal with Fox that made its total annual package worth about $130 million.  The SEC gets $205 million per year and the Big 10 gets $220 million.  Though there is clearly some variation in the number of ways each of those pies gets split, a $10 million per year distribution per school is rapidly becoming the norm.

So what might the Big East alignment eventually net San Diego State? One former television executive consulting to the Big East estimates that the next Big East media package will conservatively bring $90 million per year.  The current Big East practice is to split the total package with 70% going to football and 30% to basketball.

As announced last week, the new Big East includes 8 full members: Houston, SMU, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Rutgers, and USF.  Boise and San Diego State have committed to be football only members, and the Big East could still land Air Force and Navy as football only members.  The 8 basketball only members would be: DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Villanova.

Based on a $90 million annual package, there would be $63 million for football and $27 million for basketball.  Given the projected membership above, that leaves a $5.25 million share for football only schools, a $1.687 million share for basketball only schools, and a $6.937 million share for full members.  Under that scenario, San Diego State could be increasing their annual take from football media rights from $1.9 million to $5.25 million, for a net gain of $3.35 million.

The second consideration is the share of BCS revenue that a school in a conference with an automatic qualifying slot would gain as a result of their membership, assuming the conference has an equal revenue sharing agreement.  The Big East currently has an AQ slot (the Mountain West has appealed for a spot).

Under the current BCS arrangement, each conference whose team qualifies automatically for the BCS receives approximately $22.3 million in net revenue. A second team brings an additional $6 million to its conference. Notre Dame receives $1.8 million. Army, Navy and Brigham Young also receive $100,000 each, and each of the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision conferences receive $250,000.

At one point late in the season this year both Houston and Boise State were ranked in the top 10 in the BCS, which would mean $28.9 million for the Big East if both had been members and chosen for BCS games. Adding Houston, Boise State, and two other schools for football gets the Big East to 12 football members, which would yield a max of $2.4 million per institution from BCS participation if two schools were chosen to participate in BCS games.  Add that $2.4 million to the incremental $3.35 million from the media rights deal, and now San Diego State is $5.75 million ahead on revenue by switching conferences.

The third consideration is the impact on the cost side of the athletics equation.  According to the US Department of Education, SDSU is currently spending $12.1 million on 121 football players, or $100.2K per player.  That is almost double the median spending in the Mountain West conference in absolute terms and $39K more per player than their current peer institutions spend.  This gives SDSU a fairly dominant position in the Mountain West.

After taking out Georgetown (who does not play football at the BCS level), the median spending in the Big East on football is $12.6 million on 111 players, or $112.1K per player.  To rise to the median level of football spending in the Big East that would require an incremental $12K per player, or $1.45 million per year.

Another important component of the cost bar is staffing.  One way to quickly measure and benchmark athletic staffing levels is to evaluate the number of Full Time Equivalent positions in each department as reported on their websites.  In order to match Big East average staffing levels SDSU would have to add a total of 12 staff FTEs.  Relative to their peers in the Mountain West, SDSU would require an additional 9 FTEs.  At an average of $60K including benefits that would require an additional $720K per year to match the Big East and $540K per year to reach Mountain West norms.  Since SDSU is only participating in football in the Big East, let’s assume that only 15% of staffing is attributed to football, or 2 FTEs.  That would still require an incremental investment of  $120K per year.  Add that to the increased spending per player and you get an annual operating expense increase of $1.57 million per year, which still leaves a tidy net gain of $4.18 million per year by switching football to the Big East.

The fourth consideration, and one that gets dwarfed by all of the others in the current world of professionalized collegiate athletics, is the impact on the remainder of the athletic department.  In the case of SDSU, the biggest factor is the effect on what is currently a very successful basketball program.  Last year SDSU earned more than $1 million profit from basketball operations on revenues of $4.7 million.  The Mountain West median basketball profit was $300K on median revenues of $2.9 million, so SDSU has a very strong and successful position compared to their current peers.

With the move of the football team to the Big East, SDSU had to find a new home for all of the other sports since the Mountain West was no longer interested in having the school without football.  The destination conference is the Big West, which is generally a weaker conference in terms of revenue and level of play.  Last year the Big West median revenue on basketball was $1.4 million and not a single school reported a profit, with several losing money.

If SDSU approximated the rest of the Big West as a result of lower level of competition, smaller venues, lower attendance, lower level recruits, etc., it would be reasonable to assume that SDSU basketball would become a break-even enterprise.  The impact on the department as a whole would be a reduction in departmental revenues by several million dollars and departmental income available for supporting other sports/programs by $1 million.

Under the best case scenario, where the Big East lands a media rights deal worth $90 million a year and has two teams in BCS games, SDSU stands to gain $4.18 million per year after deducting incremental spending on football. However, on the other end of the spectrum, the worst case scenario could cost SDSU approximately $770,000 per year, which would involve no increased media rights deal and loss of AQ status in the Big East and decreased basketball revenue consistent with typical Big West basketball revenue.

Those are likely the most significant considerations for a university in SDSU’s position and the ones that would be expected to drive the final decision.  More difficult to quantify are issues like the impact on football student-athletes from a more demanding travel schedule, the effect that playing lower ranked teams has on recruiting and quality of experience for every other team in the department, and the overall message that accompanies the move.

High Ticket Prices: LSU versus Alabama Tickets

This Saturday’s game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama is being billed by some as this year’s National Championship game.  Each team’s success on the gridiron this season has understandably piqued the general public’s interest in the game.

Interest in the game has in turn driven the price of tickets for the game.

Reports indicate that Alabama students could have purchased a game ticket for $5.00 earlier in the season.  On October 29, 2,141 tickets for the game remained on StubHub.com.  The lowest ticket on the site could be purchased for $229.00 on that date.

On the eve of the game, 203 tickets remain on StubHub.  The least expensive pair of tickets, located in an upper level, was priced at $399.00 per seat.  This price represents a 74 percent increase in the price of tickets for the game on StubHub over a six day period.  The highest priced ticket on StubHub was for a single lower level ticket which was being sold for $865.00.

On Craigslist, fans were willing to spend $600.00 in cash for a pair of tickets.  One owner was seeking $1,000.00 for his two tickets.

Even if this weekend’s match-up between LSU and Alabama is not the National Championship, one thing is for certain: ticket sales will rake in a lot of money!

Saturday’s Stub Stats

This past week brought the first round of BCS rankings.  Did these rankings affect ticket sales and prices for any teams in the AP Top 25?

The following depicts the least expensive tickets found for this week’s and next week’s games for teams on the AP Top 25 as of October 16, 2011.

The prices were found using StubHub as of 12 p.m. PST on October 22, 2011.  For this data, the number in parenthesis indicates the number of tickets remaining for sale on StubHub.  Prices with a “*” indicate that StubHub data was unavailable and thus, Craigslist was used to obtain data.

TEAM

10/22 TICKET PRICE

(# OF TICKETS REMAINING)

10/29 TICKET PRICE

(# OF TICKETS REMAINING)

1.  LSU

versus Auburn – $70.00 (30)

No game

2.  Alabama

versus Tennessee – $20.00 (151)

No game

3.  Oklahoma

versus Texas Tech – $35.00 (315)

at Kansas State – $78.00 (387)

4.  Wisconsin

at Michigan State – $85.00 (89)

at Ohio State – $60.00 (2,004)

5.  Boise State

versus Air Force – $20.00*

No game

6.  Oklahoma State

at Missouri – $20.00*

versus Baylor – $25.00 (522)

7.  Stanford

versus Washington – $69.00 (251)

at USC – $52.00 (1,118)

8.  Clemson

versus North Carolina – $40.00*

at Georgia Tech – $97.00 (659)

9.  Oregon

at Colorado – $117.00 (16)

versus Washington State – $53.00 (534)

10.  Arkansas

at Ole Miss – $50.00*

at Vanderbilt – $39.00 (201)

11.  West Virginia

at Syracuse – $40.00*

at Rutgers – $50.00 (542)

12.  Kansas State

at Kansas – $35.00*

versus Oklahoma – $78.00 (387)

13.  Nebraska

at Minnesota – $53.00 (18)

versus Oklahoma – $78.00 (387)

14.  South Carolina

No game

at Tennessee – $43.00 (1,647)

15.  Michigan State

versus Wisconsin – $85.00 (86)

at Nebraska – $50.00 (1,043)

16.  Virginia Tech

versus Boston College – $44.00 (142)

at Duke – $43.00 (68)

17.  Texas A&M

at Iowa State – $15.00*

versus Missouri – $49.00 (1,574)

18.  Michigan

No game

versus Purdue – $70.00 (1,021)

19.  Auburn

at LSU – $65.00 (24)

versus Ole Miss – $60.00 (848)

20.  Georgia Tech

at Miami – $10.00 (68)

versus Clemson – $97.00 (659)

21.  Houston

versus Marshall – $15.00

versus Rice – $55.00 (36)

22.  Washington

at Stanford – $69.00 (251)

versus Arizona – $49.00 (913)

23.  Illinois

at Purdue – $40.00*

at Penn State – $15.00 (1,670)

24.  Georgia

No game

versus Florida – $67.00 (2,636)

25.  Arizona State

No game

versus Colorado – $9.00 (1,155)

 The first thing that stands out has nothing to do with ticket prices, but rather, the fact that LSU, Alabama and Boise State all have bye-weeks next week.

Last week, Washington was not in the AP Top 25 and tickets for its game against Stanford could be found for $19.00.  By Saturday, ticket prices rose to $69.00.

Arizona has fallen a few places in the rankings.  Last week, the Sun Devils were ranked 18 and tickets for their 10/15 game versus a ranked Oregon team sold for $49.00 at the low-end.  Ranked 25 for the week of October 16, 2011, the Sun Devils’ next game against a Colorado team that’s not in the top-25 can be found for as low as $9.00.

Arguably, the best buy this weekend was the Georgia Tech – Miami ticket.  For $9.00, Hurricanes fans could have had the opportunity to see their team beat a number 20 Georgia Tech team.

As for next week’s games, the Nebraska – Oklahoma match-up should see higher ticket prices, as the Cornhuskers will meet their former Big 12 competitors.  With Missouri reportedly expected to announce its decision to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, next week’s game between the Tigers and Texas A&M could be nicknamed the “SEC Newbies Bowl.”  It will be interesting to see how any announcement by Missouri drives ticket sales for this game.

Saturday’s Stub Stats

BusinessofCollegeSports.com continues to investigate whether a team’s ranking affects its ticket prices and sales.  Throughout football season, we’ll be tracking data to see if ticket prices rise as a team climbs the AP Top 25.

The following depicts the least expensive tickets found for this week’s and next week’s games for teams on the AP Top 25 as of October 9, 2011.

The prices were found using StubHub as of 12 p.m. PST on October 15, 2011.  For this data the number in parenthesis indicates the number of tickets remaining for sale on StubHub.  Prices with a “*” indicate that StubHub data was unavailable and thus, Craigslist was used to obtain data.  The # symbol indicates that reputable data could not be obtained from StubHub or Craigslist, and thus, last week’s data was used.

TEAM

10/15 TICKET PRICE

(# OF TICKETS REMAINING)

10/22 TICKET PRICE

(# OF TICKETS REMAINING)

1. LSU

at Tennessee – $50.00*

versus Auburn – $120.00 (983)

2.  Alabama

versus Ole Miss – $45.00 (46)

versus Tennessee – $35.00 (1,686)

3.  Oklahoma

at Kansas – $39.00 (20)

versus Texas Tech – $80.00 (1,264)

4.  Wisconsin

versus Indiana – $70.00*

at Michigan State – $95.00 (763)

5.  Boise State

at Colorado State – $59.00 (24)

versus Air Force – $89.00 (155)

6.  Oklahoma State

at Texas – $55.00 (260)

at Missouri – $45.00 (581)

7.  Stanford

at Washington State – $30.00*

versus Washington – $19.00 (1,072)

8.  Clemson

at Maryland – $35.00 (47)

versus North Carolina – $44.00 (549)

9.  Oregon

versus Arizona State – $49.00 (85)

at Colorado – $74.00 (712)

10.  Arkansas

No Game

at Ole Miss – $39.00 (698)

11.  Michigan

at Michigan State – $168.00#

No Game

12.  Georgia Tech

at Virginia – $45.00*

at Miami – $4.00 (2,513)

13.  West Virginia

No Game

at Syracuse – $25.00 (394)

14.  Nebraska

No Game

at Minnesota – $79.00 (1,491)

15.  South Carolina

at Mississippi State – $50.00 (5)

No Game

16.  Illinois

versus Ohio State – $80.00*

at Purdue – $34.00 (272)

17.  Kansas State

at Texas Tech – $9.00 (272)

at Kansas – $60.00 (214) (Sunflower Showdown)

18.  Arizona State

at Oregon – $49.00 (85)

No Game

19.  Virginia Tech

at Wake Forest – $175.00 (2)

versus Boston College – $79.00 (580)

20.  Baylor

at Texas A&M – $35.00*

No Game

21.  Texas A&M

versus Baylor – $35.00*

at Iowa State – $25.00 (363)

22.  Texas

versus Oklahoma State – $55.00 (260)

No Game

23.  Michigan State

versus Michigan – $168.00#

versus Wisconsin – $95.00 (763)

24.  Auburn

versus Florida – $379.00 (2)

at LSU – $120.00 (983)

25.  Houston

No Game

versus Marshall – $23.00 (50)

 In-state rivalries continue to garner high ticket prices, as the Michigan versus Michigan State match-up had one of the highest ticket prices.  Next week’s Sunflower Showdown between Kansas State and Kansas, however, is more affordable, with tickets priced at $60.00.

Last week, Auburn was ranked 15 in the AP poll.  This past week they were ranked 24.  Their opponent this week, Florida, was ranked last week but fell out of the poll this past week.  However, that didn’t seem to affect ticket prices for the Auburn versus Florida game.  Last week on StubHub, tickets could be found for as low as $94.00.  By this past Saturday, there were only two tickets left on StubHub and they were being sold for $379.00.

Two teams which rose several spots in the rankings, South Carolina and Illinois, both experienced increases in the prices of their tickets over the past week.  Last week, tickets for South Carolina’s game against Mississippi State were being sold for $32.00.  As of Saturday, they were being sold for $50.00.  As for Illinois, last week, tickets for its game against Ohio State were fetching $31.00.  By Saturday, they were being sold for $80.00.

As for next week, the greatest steal is the $4.00 tickets for Georgia Tech at Miami.  Auburn at LSU, which was priced at $120.00 on Saturday will likely climb higher in price as the number of tickets available dwindles.

This week is the first week that BCS rankings are out, so it is to be seen whether that affects ticket sales and prices for upcoming games.