Posted December 18, 2013

Forbes: Texas, Notre Dame and Alabama top highest-valued college football teams

Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorns

Texas is the most valuable program in college football, according to a study by Forbes. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

For the fifth consecutive year, Texas is the most valuable college football program, based on a study conducted by Forbes. Notre Dame is number two, with Alabama, LSU and Michigan rounding out the top five. The Longhorns are worth approximately $139 million, up $30 million from a year ago. The Fighting Irish are worth $117 million.

Per Forbes:

To determine college football’s most valuable teams, we consider each team’s value to its athletic department, its university’s academic endeavors, its conference and its school’s local economy. Athletic value consists of football profit that is directed toward supporting non-revenue sports, like softball or gymnastics, while a team’s value to academics consists of money that supports football scholarships or other non-athletic programming, like faculty support, non-athletic scholarships or a library fund. Conference value consists of revenue generated for other conference teams by participating in a bowl game, and a team’s value to its local community consists of the direct spending injected by fans visiting the area on days of the team’s home games.

Texas’ value points to why there is so much speculation surrounding the Longhorns’ coaching search. The Texas job is already a coveted position, but given how much of a cash cow (like Bevo do you get it) the program is, the next hire is important to sustaining its worth. So when names such as Nick Saban or salaries upwards of $10 million a year are tossed around, it begins to make sense.

This all gets even murkier when factoring in the pay-for-play argument. Take Texas A&M, for instance. The Aggies came in as the 14th-most valuable program this year. They weren’t in the top 20 in the previous report. What changed? For starters, Johnny Manziel won a Heisman Trophy and led Texas A&M to an 11-2 record, a Cotton Bowl victory and a No. 5 ranking in the final AP Poll in 2012. While Manziel and the rest of his team won’t see an extra dime, the school added an extra $9 million in revenue, and coach Kevin Sumlin earned a healthy raise.

The full top 20 is below, but for the “too long, didn’t read” crowd: Good football teams are worth a lot of money. The full Forbes article is worth your time, so make sure to click on over.

1. Texas
2. Notre Dame
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Michigan
6. Florida
7. Oklahoma
8. Georgia
9. Ohio State
10. Nebraska
11. Auburn
12. Arkansas
13. USC
14. Texas A&M
15. Penn State
16. Wisconsin
17. Washington
18. South Carolina
19. Oregon
20. Tennessee


Did anyone besides me notice PSU made top 20. How? Why? And on top of Oregon,Phil Knight central.


@SInow Pretty to build up value when you don't have to compensate your players.


If you read the Forbes article and look at the list of schools with their gross income and net profit, one thing sticks out. Texas has almost an 80% net to gross. All of the SEC schools on the list are at 50% or lower. Wonder where that extra few random million go? :)

James C
James C

If you notice the schools on this list have 1 thing in common. They are all programs with massive stadiums. 

Of the 20 teams on this list, only USC does not have a college owned stadium (they play in the LA Colosseum, which is owned by the City of Los Angelas, Los Angelas County and the State of California) 

Of the teams on this list, the majority play most non-conference games at home, only occasionally hitting the road for a game. This equals huge revenues for the programs just from ticket sales. 


@martinrickman I'm as interested in seeing those worth the least to see the disparity between Texas and a random Sun Belt or MAC team.


@James C SC does own the Colosseum,bought it in Jan '13. Doesn't change your points though.


@johnj17 @MoveTheSticks @si_ncaafb Irrelevant?  1 went to the title game just last year and the other has a coaching search that has NFL teams worried their coaches will leave.  No, definitely not irrelevant.  

James C
James C

@MockingTheDraft @martinrickman I'm sure Eastern Michigan is at the bottom of the list. They are barely meeting the NCAA minimum attendance requirements for tickets sold. Given the fact they rank behind DII Grand Valley State University in attendance this season, I can't see how the value of the EMU football program can be anything but last in the FBS.