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Texas tops Forbes ‘most valuable’ rankings yet again

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For the second straight release, Texas has been determined to be the most valuable college football program in the country according to a renowned business magazine.  And, thanks to a controversial network that wasn’t even included this latest evaluation, that stranglehold on the top spot is not about to end in the foreseeable future.

In its latest rankings of College Football’s Most Valuable Teams, has pegged the value of the Longhorns at $129 million, up roughly eight percent from its value in the 2009 rankings.  UT is well ahead of No. 2 Notre Dame, with the Irish coming in at $112 million.

That gap will likely only widen, however; the 20-year, $300 million deal for the Longhorn Network was not included in Forbes’ most recent set of financial calculations.

Forbes also laid out exactly how it comes to its financial estimates:

… Unlike our NFL Team Valuations, which estimates each team’s enterprise value in an arms-length transaction, our college football ranking evaluates the financial impact each team has on four distinct areas. The two areas most important to our study are a team’s academic value, or the revenue directed towards university programs and spending (including football scholarships), and its athletic value, which is the football revenue used to support other athletic programs. The remaining two areas are weighted less heavily in our scoring system. They consist of the distribution of bowl game revenue amongst conference teams and the economic impact of visiting fans for each team’s home games.

While UT’s value will only continue to rise thanks in part to the LHN, another school will likely see its value tumble in the next set of rankings.

Penn State is currently the third-most valuable team in college football, but that value was determined prior to the Jerry Sandusky child-sex abuse scandal that rocked the State College school last month.  As Forbes writes, “we expect the team to fall quite a bit in future rankings.”

As expected, the SEC and Big Ten accounts for a sizable majority of Forbes’ Top 20 — eight for the former (nine if you include Texas A&M), seven for the latter.  In fact, exactly half of the members of the Top Ten come from the conference that, after Jan. 9, will have won the last six BcS titles.

Oklahoma State was the only team to fall out of the rankings, replaced by Iowa.

Below are the 20 teams that make up the upper financial echelon of the Forbes rankings:

1. Texas, $129 million (up 8% from 2009)
2. Notre Dame, $112 million (up 4%)
3. Penn State, $100 million (up 1%)
4. LSU, $96 million (up 12%)
5. Michigan, $94 million (up 15%)
6. Alabama, $93 million (up 1%)
7. Georgia, $90 million ( up 7%)
8. Arkansas, $89 million (up 59%)
9. Auburn, $88 million (up 27%)
10. Oklahoma, $87 million (up 5%)
11. Florida, $86 million (down 1%)
12. Tennessee, $82 million (up 6%)
13. Ohio State, $78 million (down 8%)
14. Nebraska, $77 million (down 18%)
15. Wisconsin, $67 million (up 40 percent)
16. South Carolina, $64 million (down 20%)
17. Texas A&M, $63 million (up 19%)
18. USC, $62 million (down 9%)
19. Michigan State, $59 million (3%)
20. Iowa, $48 million (unranked)

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16 Responses to “Texas tops Forbes ‘most valuable’ rankings yet again”
  1. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Dec 23, 2011 12:03 PM

    I take these figures as an indication of how well a team’s fan base supports them (game attendance, TV ratings, apparel sales, etc.). 15 of the teams are from the Big 10 and SEC. Only 4 are from the Big 12 (1 of them will be an SEC team next year) and PAC 12.

  2. tonystrong says: Dec 23, 2011 12:18 PM

    Penn State is about to drop off that list and not show it’s face on it again for a very long time!

  3. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 23, 2011 12:21 PM

    As one who works with some great guys and gals from Texas (and alot from Louisiana as well), I can attest to rabid fan support of Texas. However, it may well be somewhat in vain as long as Mac recruits the best players in the U.S. and then coaches them to underachieve each year.

    Penn State may well fall as JT wrote as a result of the Sandusky horror. LSU is increasing in value as a result of their record setting year. The LSU president announced that since LSU was doing so well this football season, that enrollment has increased about 10% at the Baton Rouge campus. What value can be placed on that? The president further said that even tens of millions of dollars of advertising would not have had such great results. If the trend continues with a BCS National Champion as we all hope and expect, the value of LSU’s program will surpass Penn State and will be in neighborhood of Notre Dame (and their now yearly mediocre program). Thanks to the daughter of SouthernPatriots family members in sending me that info.

  4. tigersgeaux says: Dec 23, 2011 12:28 PM

    I expected Texas and Notre Dame to be up there at the top or near the top. I did not expect LSU to be up there. As alligatorsnapper said, LSU should surpass Penn State any time and be in third and with a win in a few more days, may draw close to Notre Dame.

    As brutusbuckeye2011 said, the SEC and Big 10 dominate the teams listed. The SEC will become richer as of July 1, 2011 with A&M coming on board. Georgia may well be increasing since they have seemed to turn the corner with an appearance in the SEC championship game and good competition the first half.

    It may be another case, where “the rich get richer” when new TV contracts are considered.

  5. thefiesty1 says: Dec 23, 2011 12:38 PM

    Depending on whether WVA gets out of the Little East, the Big 12 schools will see the other. Conference teams get closer to the top when the Big 12 loses money with only 9 teams from their TV contract.

    Of course Texas has hedged on that with their up front money from the LHN. All of Texas’ parafinallia is extremely expensive due to their licensing agreement, so they’ll continue to be at the top and remain first for the foreseeable future.

  6. bozosforall says: Dec 23, 2011 1:33 PM

    The SEC will still OWN everyone on the football field.

  7. gorilladunk says: Dec 23, 2011 2:06 PM

    @bozo…actually, the big 12 had the best non conference (and, I believe, the best of all time) mark against other conferences this year.

  8. harleyspoon says: Dec 23, 2011 3:01 PM

    alligatorsnapper, the number of students has a negative effect on the value of an overall program because it costs more money to educate a college student than the college student pays for that education. In a public college or university, the most a student pays–even if he pays 100% of his/her tuition and fees is only a tiny fraction–maybe 7%-10%–of the real cost of the foundations and current real costs of that education…all things considered…And if the student resides in campus housing and eats his/her meals on campus, the costs versus the tuition and fees are even higher…that 10% increase in the student body at LSU does nothing to enhance the value of the LSU football program…The students pay, as part of their fees, for access to football games on campus but the amount in no more than a pimple on an Elephants rear end compared to the cost of operating the program…

  9. blitz4848 says: Dec 23, 2011 3:11 PM


    I believe strength of schedule is a more accurate barometer than OOC games since many are cupcakes!!!!!

    NCAA stats show this as the Top 10 based on toughest schedules played:

    1. LSU
    2. Nebraska
    3. Kansas
    4. Auburn
    5. Oklahoma St.
    6. Penn St.
    7. Tennessee
    8. Ole Miss
    9. Alabama
    10. Oklahoma

    That equates to:
    SEC — 5 schools
    Big 12 — 3 ”
    Big 10 — 2 “

  10. stairwayto7 says: Dec 23, 2011 5:07 PM

    2 out of top 5 Big 10 not SEC…
    Lets put graduation rate in there and see where SEC finished..
    Top QB’S in NFL..
    Brady Brees both from big ten!

  11. rockytex says: Dec 23, 2011 5:50 PM

    And… let’s not forget where the great (bs) SEC sits academically as a conference in the prestigious American Association of Universities (AAU). That would be dead last with two members – Vanderbilt and Florida, haha!

    Not to worry though you SEC bloggers, reinforcements are coming from the Big 12 – Mizzou and A&M are members.

  12. alligatorsnapper says: Dec 23, 2011 7:25 PM

    Forbes’ Magazine on line ran two stories this week on the value and efficiency of the LSU football program.

    Unique to both Forbes’ stories and lists is LSU as the only school in the country ranked on both Forbes’ lists of “most valuable teams” and “best teams for the money.”

    Neither of these stories (or most others) revealed the fact that LSU uses no state tax dollars and takes no student fees to operate its athletics program. A USA Today story cited LSU and Nebraska as the only schools in the nation that took no state aid and gave money back to the academic mission of their universities over a four-year period.

    In a story titled “College Football’s Most Valuable Teams,” LSU is ranked atop the Southeastern Conference and No. 4 in the country in a study that evaluates the financial impact of football programs in four distinct areas. The survey puts primary emphasis on a team’s academic value – the revenue directed toward university programs and spending (including football scholarships) – and its athletic value – football revenue used to support other athletic programs.

    Also considered are the distribution of bowl game revenue among conference teams and the economic impact of visiting fans for each teams’ home games. The story praises LSU as “a great example of how college football programs generate immense value in surrounding communities.” According to the story, the existence of LSU football generated nearly $60 million in additional spending in the Baton Rouge area last year.

    LSU also receives recognition in a story titled, “Best College Football Teams for The Money” which ranks schools based on the balance of how much they spend on the sport and how successful they are on the field. With LSU having the highest number of wins the past few years in the SEC and perennially ranked highly by the ranking companies, LSU is a good bet to continue to have a very positive impact on Baton Rouge and Louisiana.

  13. dmcgrann says: Dec 23, 2011 10:09 PM

    LSU has excess capacity to absorb a 10% increase in enrollment? Could you possibly mean a 10% increase in applications?

    Actual increase in LSU enrollment appears to be much, much less than 10%:

  14. Pac12ute says: Dec 24, 2011 5:27 AM

    @ rockytex: Thanks you for the link to the AAU schools. When joining the conference I knew that the academic expectations were high, but I didn’t realize that the Pac-12 had 8 schools listed on there… sadly, my school isn’t there yet… hopefully someday soon though.

  15. tigersgeaux says: Dec 24, 2011 12:59 PM

    dmcgrann: See your point but the news story released by LSU itself of the president’s words did not mention applications, but rather used the term enrollment. With the huge attrition rate after the first semester, and first year, and second year, maybe they indeed do have the “excess capacity.”

    With most of the large donations, endowments, etc. coming from LSU alums and their private monies, or from corporations being run by LSU alums, the football team attracting new enrollees will help those contributions greatly in real time today and in years to come.

  16. spytdi says: Dec 26, 2011 1:10 AM

    It’s not always the best team that has the most money (see Dallas Cowboys).

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