Forbes has again come out with its list of the most valuable college basketball teams. Louisville, as it did last year, tops the list. The Cardinals are estimated to be worth $38.5 million. The Cardinals are followed by Kansas ($32.9 million), North Carolina ($32.8 million), Kentucky ($32.1 million) and Ohio State ($23.1 million) at fifth, where the drop-off really takes effect.
Duke is all the way at No. 11 (because of "changes in the athletic department's accounting practices," per Forbes), and Minnesota at No. 13 isn't a program I would've guessed would be in the top 20.
What does Louisville have that allows it to be worth the most money?
The team's financial success is largely tied to the KFC Yum! Center, the waterfront arena that opened in 2010. The new arena had an immediate impact, driving ticket sales up 28% to $14.2 million and generating over $20 million in contributions to the team, an 84% increase from the prior year. Income from program sales, concessions, parking and other sources also increased by more than $2 million. And the financial impact is a lasting one. Contributions to the team are still up, reaching $20.4 million last year, as is revenue from concessions and parking.
Factor in the move to the ACC, the upped revenue in TV money coming to the school (from $3 million per year to $17 million year), and the Cards probably will remain on top for a while.
Forbes qualifies its rankings and estimations by going in "order of weight, basketball revenue spent on athlete scholarships and other academic programming, profit kept by the athletic department to support athletic endeavors and conference revenue generated via NCAA tournament play."
This is all off of the 2011-12 season, too.
And if you're curious about how hoops compares to football, the pigskin dominates. Forbes' most recent list has Texas, Notre Dame and Penn State all north of $100 million, with its 20th team (Michigan State) weighing in at $59 mil -- more than $20 million above Louisville.
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