Willie is pumped that the Wildcats have the most "valuable" college program of the local schools. (Photo Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports)

College Football Programs in Terms of Value

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal Online published an article titled What Is Your Team Worth, and I just had to share some of the findings. What makes it fascinating is that it deals not with the values of the various professional sports teams but rather with those of the nation’s college football programs.

They say everything is bigger in Texas and in terms of this particular analysis that holds true. The University of Texas continues to occupy the top spot (apparently they’ve done this exercise before) with an estimated value of $761.7 million. Michigan is not far behind with a value of $731.9 million. After the top two schools there is a steep drop off to Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State which are just shy of $600 million.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably asking how they assigned values to each of these programs. That was actually the first thing that popped into my head just a sentence or two into the article. For that question the author provides us with this:

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.

Ah, “Intrinsic Valuations” sounds like a good book to read if you’re suffering from insomnia but I suppose when you’re talking about relatively hypothetical values you’re going to find some ambiguous terminology like that somewhere. Sadly there’s not much more explanation than the above quote but the piece itself isn’t all that in depth so I guess it’s understandable but I sure would like to get more about the study – at least a link to it or something.

Anyway, while my curiosity will go without further answers on the methodology behind this “study,” the big ticket value of the article rests with the table that was included which lists the top 69* schools in order of value from highest to lowest.

*Not sure why anyone would stop a table or study at 69. I’d assume that was intentional for the innuendo but I’d like to believe it is just coincidence.

If you’re wondering where the local schools come in, then you’re going to be happy with me:

  • Kansas State (24th): $207.1 million
  • Kansas (51st): $103.4 million
  • Missouri (67th): $56.4 million

Of the local schools, K-State is on the most solid footing in terms of recent success, relative stability and I can certainly come up with some other “logical” reasons why the Jayhawks football program is worth just half of the Wildcats. I would not have guessed, however that Missouri would come in so low. In fact the Tigers are behind all ten Big 12 schools with Baylor the closest at $71.3 million (61st). At first I thought the discrepancy was likely due to the recent change in conferences but then I noticed that Texas A&M, which also left the Big 12 for the comforting embrace of the SEC, ranked 18th with a value of $278.5 million.

Is this list interesting? Yeah, it’s pretty cool to look an see which schools rank where but I’m not sure it amounts to a hill of beans otherwise. Of course I’m sure some of you Wildcat and Jayhawk diehards will use this to fire a few shots at your Tiger brethren (not that you needed any more reasons).

Note: A flap of Gerald’s wing goes out to Kings of Kauffman Editor (and KC Kingdom) Staff Writer for sharing this article with me!

Tags: Kansas Jayhawks Kansas State Wildcats Missouri Tigers

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