College football’s most valuable programs


The Wall Street Journal revealed their annual list of the top 50 most valuable programs in college football earlier this year.

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Texas remained the country’s most valuable team at $875 million, and only one SEC school finished in the top five in Florida, valued at $660 million. For reference, Forbes’ annual list of valuing the world’s sports teams had the Cincinnati Bengals worth $871 million.

Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State filled the gap between No. 1 Texas and No. 5 Florida. Other notables include No. 7 Alabama ($640.1), No. 8 Georgia ($581.8), No. 9 Auburn ($537.6) and No. 10 LSU ($529.8). Twelve SEC schools made the top 50, and Missouri and Vanderbilt were the two left out.

Although the study didn’t add any details to how the valuations were calculated, here’s how last year’s study was conducted by the same professor:

Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, calculated the intrinsic valuations for 115 of the teams in the top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision. Among other factors, the study looked at each program’s revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections for each school. The resulting figures represent what the teams might fetch if they could be bought and sold like pro franchises.

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Here are the 50 most valuable schools, according to the Wall Street Journal:




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  • The only one that surprises me in the top 20 is Iowa. No kick on Iowa…but, well, it’s Iowa.

  • I thought this was the recruiting ranks? So similar. Wouldn’t you say?

  • Jon,
    Very good article, and last I seen in the Houston Chronicle last month that UT generated that kind of money. They basically compared it to Alabama, most of the UT alum/Fan are still a little ticked off being lead to believe that St. Nick was going there.

  • Ryan Brewer probably needs to review his figures because there is no way Kansas is only one behind MSU. Kansas can’t even pay kids to show up for their football games. Michigan State is a huge University with a huge following. This is analysis is weak at best.

  • Sounds like endowment/reserves + gross income (not counting a lot of expenditures) + facility costs + coaching staff pay were used to calculate this. It’s the strangest ‘most valuable list’ I can recall seeing. It really doesn’t make sense without a really weird formula.

  • I would have thought Alabama would be higher considering they have won everything (at least that is how they would say it).

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