Hey, so this is another fun example of how much money matters to college football. A new study has valued three college football programs at $1 billion or more, and you won’t be surprised by any of the schools involved.
Here are some details of the study, as broken down by The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton which starts with the most valuable program:
That would be Ohio State, which has surged to a $1.5 billion valuation, according to an analysis by Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus. That’s a 59.6% increase in value for a program that was already worth the most nationally according to the study, which analyzes what each team would be worth on the open market if sold like a professional sports franchise.
Texas ($1.24 billion) and Oklahoma ($1 billion) round out the three programs worth an estimated 10 figures. With five of the top-10 programs, the SEC has the highest average team value at $523 million, followed by the Big Ten ($416 million) and Big 12 ($376 million).
Sure, that makes sense. Again, these are all programs generating a massive amount of revenue for an entire industry built on a product that consists entirely of unpaid labor. Amateurism!
If you’re wondering where the most recent dominant powers of the sport fall:
For college football fans, this list may be the only place where the No. 1 team in the country isn’t No. 1. Alabama has won three of the last six national championships and owns a firm grip on the top spot in the polls.
But here, the Crimson Tide rank No. 4, with an estimated value of $930 million. That’s still nearly three times Clemson ($328 million), the team that beat Alabama for the title a year ago.
Alabama would almost certainly be valued higher if it weren’t for the fact that it’s in Alabama. There’s only so much value you can extract in Tuscaloosa, no matter how passionate the fanbase nor how successful the team.
To reiterate, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea that these programs are worth big money. That’s obvious, and a sign of the free market. But when anyone tries to tell you that they couldn’t afford to pay players, please keep valuations like these in mind. There’s a whole world of people making a lot of money off college football.
The pie is plenty big enough.