Texas Remains Most Valuable College Football Program

The “amateur” sport of big time college football continues to be a very lucrative business:

Never mind for a moment which college-football team is No. 1 on the field. Is Texas losing its grip on being No. 1 at the bank?

According to an annual analysis of the values of college-football programs, Texas remains the most valuable team in the sport. But the gap is narrowing: The Longhorns—whose 2011-12 valuation is $761.7 million—now are only slightly ahead of Michigan ($731.9 million).

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. (As a point of reference, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars sold in late 2011 for about $760 million.)

Here’s the chart:


The only people not making money off these players are the players themselves.


FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Sports, , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The only people not making money off these players are the players themselves.

    Doug, you forgot High School. In TX, HS football is king.

  2. de stijl says:

    I watch perhaps 3 – 5 college football games a year. 10 – 15 basketball games. 20+ hockey.

    If the NCAA went away, all of those games would still happen. I would / could still watch them. Money will flow from program to program (or program to conference to the other conference to the program you just played).

    The NCAA is understandable because folks want some level of organization above the conference level, but the current NCAA and all of its institutional baggage is easily replaced by another structure as long as it delivers the goods.

    The demand is there. People could give two sh!ts about the supplier /enabler.

  3. aFloridian says:

    The only people not making money off these players are the players themselves.

    I’ve never been able to muster up much sympathy on this point. There aren’t many deals better for young men of this age than becoming student-athletes.

    Most of them get free tuition, room, board – basically a straight free ride to some pretty good colleges. It’s up to them whether or not they take that education seriously, but for the vast majority that will never go pro, graduating college debt-free will provide a lot more freedom than most graduates have in the current economic climate.