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Sports Business

Notre Dame, IU, Purdue all slide in college football value rankings

September 27, 2017
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer is earning his keep. Texas is still a financial giant in the world of college football. The Fighting Irish aren’t what they used to be. And Indiana tops Purdue—for now.

At least that’s what the most recent study of college football program valuations by Indiana University associate finance professor Ryan Brewer tells us.

The big takeaway this year: As the popularity of college football continues to skyrocket, valuations among schools that Brewer studies are up—on average—26 percent this year (based on 2016 financials), compared to the previous year.

Brewer has been calculating valuations for college football programs as if they were stand-alone for-profit enterprises since 2011. He released his most recent report last week. His work, first published in the IBJ six years ago, now is cited widely in the sports and financial media, including in The Wall Street Journal.

Brewer values the college football programs the way Wall Street analysts value businesses, based on cash flow history and myriad other factors.

Values are up this year, largely due to increased cash flow and revenue.

Total cash flow among the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools was up 24 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, Brewers’ study showed. That’s following an 18 percent increase in 2015 over 2014.

Total revenue among FBS schools was 17 percent higher in 2016 than 2015, and that follows a 9 percent increase in 2015 over 2014.

Ohio State ranks No. 1 on Brewer’s most recent list with a valuation (or “intrinsic value,” as Brewer labels it) of $1.5 billion. In 2011—the season before Urban Meyer arrived as the Buckeyes’ head football coach—Brewer had Ohio State at No. 12 in his rankings with a valuation of $292.8 million.

Texas, which ranked No. 1 in 2011 with a $848.3 million valuation, rose to $1.24 billion in Brewer’s calculations this year, which was good for the No. 2 spot.

Oklahoma was the only other football program in the billion-dollar club, ranking No. 3 with a $1 billion valuation.

While Notre Dame’s valuation increased from $811.5 million in 2012 (Notre Dame wasn’t included in the 2011 study because he only studied public schools for the report published in 2011) to $856.9 million this year, the Fighting Irish dropped from No. 2 in Brewer’s 2012 valuation ratings to No. 7 this year.

That’s still way ahead of Indiana’s other major college football programs.

IU ranks No. 44 on the list with a valuation of $178.2 million, and Purdue ranks No. 55 with a $135 million valuation in Brewer’s most recent ranking.

Both schools have made substantial progress in their valuations but lost ground in the rankings—which could be interpreted as the schools losing ground in the college athletics revenue arms race.

In 2011, Indiana had a valuation of $77.8 million. But its No. 36 rank in 2011 was a bit higher than it was this year.

In 2011, Purdue had a valuation of $55.5 million, with a No. 44 ranking.

The Hoosiers and Boilermakers both have first-year coaches this season and are boasting stadium renovations, so there’s reason to hope that IU and Purdue could rise in future ranking.

In addition, Purdue started expanded beer sales this season at Ross-Ade Stadium, so that can’t hurt either.

Here are the full rankings in Brewer's most recent study:

Fall 2017 Rank

Institution Name

2016 Adjusted Cash Flow

2016 Adjusted Revenues

Intrinsic Values

1

Ohio State

66,521,000

 130,114,000

1,510,482,000

2

Texas

85,283,000

 145,223,000

1,243,124,000

3

Oklahoma 

62,871,000

 124,923,000

1,001,967,000

4

Alabama

53,689,000

 132,318,000

930,001,000

5

LSU

61,247,000

 118,879,000

910,927,000

6

Michigan  

60,396,000

 118,961,000

892,951,000

7

Notre Dame

69,032,000

 121,180,000

856,938,000

8

Georgia 

42,339,000

 105,529,000

822,310,000

9

Tennessee

55,551,000

 109,606,000

745,640,000

10

Auburn

59,103,000

 120,572,000

724,191,000

11

Florida

51,735,000

 111,948,000

682,031,000

12

Penn State

37,323,000

 93,294,000

549,497,000

13

Texas A & M

57,335,000

 102,725,000

522,863,000

14

Nebraska

39,214,000

 83,708,000

507,679,000

15

South Carolina

40,459,000

 95,948,000

484,757,000

16

Iowa 

45,178,000

 92,630,000

483,564,000

17

Arkansas 

44,208,000

 96,381,000

456,153,000

18

Wisconsin

34,378,000

 84,789,000

439,379,000

19

Washington 

40,317,000

 84,621,000

434,313,000

20

Florida State

7,960,000

 69,137,000

385,339,000

21

Oregon

37,076,000

 76,666,000

368,529,000

22

Michigan State

27,523,000

 73,139,000

336,794,000

23

Mississippi

35,229,000

 77,778,000

330,503,000

24

Clemson

15,642,000

 68,175,000

328,411,000

25

Southern California

14,524,000

 67,884,000

324,195,000

26

Arizona State

29,800,000

 67,831,000

315,412,000

27

UCLA

24,169,000

 63,918,000

314,436,000

28

Kentucky

30,594,000

 70,852,000

287,589,000

29

Oklahoma State

30,106,000

 67,533,000

285,293,000

30

Kansas State

29,492,000

 61,614,000

277,203,000

31

Virginia Tech

16,881,000

 59,125,000

269,883,000

32

Minnesota

30,915,000

 74,346,000

260,264,000

33

Miami of Florida

16,566,000

 59,087,000

254,502,000

34

Texas Tech

31,209,000

 57,955,000

246,871,000

35

Miss State

28,712,000

 64,270,000

230,655,000

36

Stanford

21,876,000

 62,226,000

225,479,000

37

California Berkely

15,538,000

 47,899,000

220,017,000

38

Georgia Tech

23,238,000

 52,668,000

212,068,000

39

Utah 

26,899,000

 56,831,000

206,365,000

40

Colorado 

22,971,000

 57,843,000

203,533,000

41

Iowa State

20,859,000

 59,254,000

196,973,000

42

North Carolina State

19,372,000

 48,774,000

191,813,000

43

Kansas 

30,454,000

 58,807,000

183,031,000

44

Indiana

20,709,000

 55,261,000

178,168,000

45

Virginia 

16,700,000

 50,915,000

168,534,000

46

Northwestern

18,680,000

 53,666,000

163,315,000

47

Louisville

13,360,000

 51,060,000

160,899,000

48

Texas Christian

15,422,000

 58,083,000

153,631,000

49

Maryland

14,581,000

 49,782,000

147,608,000

50

North Carolina 

11,989,000

 50,097,000

147,179,000

51

Arizona

17,985,000

 48,126,000

146,153,000

52

Oregon State

13,890,000

 44,004,000

144,713,000

53

Illinois

16,678,000

 47,931,000

143,318,000

54

Wash State

16,654,000

 48,515,000

142,052,000

55

Purdue

14,982,000

 42,812,000

135,021,000

56

Missouri

8,119,000

 44,740,000

126,219,000

57

Syracuse

13,705,000

 38,565,000

120,903,000

58

Pittsburgh

7,769,000

 41,228,000

114,468,000

59

Baylor

5,854,000

 45,023,000

103,591,000

60

BYU

9,897,000

 32,714,000

98,924,000

61

Central Florida

3,127,000

 32,421,000

82,302,000

62

Boston College

6,106,000

 34,802,000

82,241,000

63

Boise State

11,468,000

 26,572,000

77,981,000

64

Vanderbilt

6,192,000

 35,714,000

73,991,000

65

Rutgers

0

 36,957,000

72,441,000

66

West Virginia

-2,039,000

 34,492,000

72,049,000

67

South Florida

6,332,000

 26,981,000

70,189,000

68

Duke

3,179,000

 33,436,000

64,195,000

69

Connecticut

3,218,000

 26,521,000

59,776,000

70

Wake Forest

2,742,000

 28,176,000

52,940,000

71

Houston

0

 24,711,000

41,386,000

72

Temple

0

 24,490,000

40,669,000

73

Army

6,099,000

 15,850,000

38,048,000

74

Southern Methodist

0

 21,873,000

36,047,000

75

Wyoming

1,640,000

 16,260,000

34,554,000

76

Memphis

0

 19,763,000

32,290,000

77

Cincinnati

0

 18,664,000

30,230,000

78

Colorado State

0

 18,304,000

30,221,000

79

Fresno State

362,000

 16,006,000

29,325,000

80

North Texas

2,791,000

 15,388,000

29,266,000

81

East Carolina

-1,007,000

 17,834,000

28,408,000

82

San Diego State

-1,405,000

 17,556,000

27,716,000

83

Hawaii

-147,000

 16,800,000

26,284,000

84

Florida International

3,289,000

 14,472,000

24,145,000

85

Ohio  

1,096,000

 13,771,000

22,302,000

86

UNLV

217,000

 14,561,000

21,772,000

87

Marshall

866,000

 13,690,000

21,483,000

88

Rice

0

 14,484,000

21,453,000

89

San Jose State

0

 11,377,000

21,370,000

90

Akron

657,000

 13,700,000

20,235,000

91

UTEP

972,000

 12,238,000

19,344,000

92

Middle Tennessee

0

 13,647,000

19,322,000

93

Toledo

0

 13,391,000

18,736,000

94

Utah State

0

 13,217,000

18,305,000

95

Nevada

448,000

 12,750,000

17,478,000

96

Western Michigan

0

 12,630,000

17,134,000

97

Western Kentucky

0

 12,300,000

16,532,000

98

Northern Illinois

0

 12,033,000

16,141,000

99

Buffalo

18,000

 12,074,000

16,090,000

100

New Mexico 

-1,069,000

 11,933,000

15,380,000

101

Southern Miss

0

 11,796,000

15,037,000

102

Troy

1,376,000

 10,925,000

14,879,000

103

Central Michigan

0

 11,384,000

14,350,000

104

Florida Atlantic

-531,000

 10,840,000

13,221,000

105

Ball State

0

 10,537,000

12,701,000

106

Miami - Ohio

0

 10,230,000

12,187,000

107

Louisiana Lafayette

0

 10,049,000

11,829,000

108

Eastern Michigan

-37,000

 9,930,000

11,563,000

109

Kent State

0

 9,615,000

11,060,000

110

Louisiana Tech

-32,000

 9,538,000

10,836,000

111

Idaho

245,000

 9,178,000

10,513,000

112

New Mexico State

0

 9,177,000

10,180,000

113

Bowling Green

0

 8,759,000

9,915,000

114

Arkansas State

0

 8,129,000

8,787,000

115

Louisiana Monroe

0

 6,287,000

6,792,000

 

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