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Researcher: Cardinals most valuable in college hoops

Apr 28, 2012, 10:44 PM EDT

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Louisville v Michigan State Getty Images

Kentucky might have won the national title, knocking off in-state rival Louisville in the Final Four along the way, but the Cards are having the last laugh, financially speaking.

In a study of ‘intrinsic value’ compiled by Ryan Brewer — an associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University of Columbus — Louisville topped the hoops list with a revenue figure in the neighborhood of $211 million from basketball alone. Kansas came in a distant second, valued at $146 million, and Kentucky lagged in the 16th slot, raking in a surprisingly low number of $71 million.

Numbers can be made to stand on their heads and do tricks for a talented mathematician, so reporter Mark Story quizzed Brewer on his methodology:

In a phone interview last week, Brewer explained that his calculations were purely financial evaluations extrapolated from the athletics budget numbers that university athletic departments submit to the federal government annually as part of gender-equity disclosure.

“When you look at the revenue being produced from men’s basketball, the University of Louisville is far outperforming everyone else,” Brewer said. “It’s not just Kentucky.”

For fiscal year 2011, Louisville reported net revenue from men’s basketball in excess of $27 million. UK reported some $6.5 million in men’s hoops revenue.

“Kentucky spends a lot, too,” Brewer said. “In my evaluation, that (negatively) impacted their standing.” UK budgeted men’s hoops spending of $10.16 million in 2011.

In coming up with “intrinsic values” for the top 100 men’s college basketball programs, Brewer said he examined the revenues and expenditures for each program, then made risk assessments and growth projections for each. He also did the same for 115 of the nation’s 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs.

Not surprisingly, the values of elite major-college football programs dwarf that of similar men’s hoops operations.

Truer words were never written. The University of Texas topped the football revenue list, with a whopping $805 million coming in, and Kentucky’s football team ($207 mil) outperformed the Cards($120 mil) in Brewer’s metric.

The Cards were number one in intrinsic value before moving to the KFC Yum! center, but the new building’s luxury suites generated an additional $5.7 million in the first season U of L played there.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. kingghidora - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    What a crock of Cardinal crap! So all you have to do is match the “growth projections” for the next few years and UL will actually be making more money than UK! Simple. All they have to do is build a new stadium every year to match the amount of increased ticket sales and hot shot box money and they can surpass the team with the highest attendance in the country and the exact same team that won the championship. So next year the Yum Center will have to be replaced with a new stadium (they’ll be out of the arena range already) that effectively increases ticket revenue at the same rate it increased this year. So if they managed to double their ticket money this year they will have to double it again new year and every year afterwards until whatever projection was used is actually fulfilled. I figure in 5 years they will have to be selling 250,000 tickets per game and winning the championship every single year to meet those projections. That shouldn’t be so hard.

    Ain’t it amazing what you can do with a few “projections”. And another Cal hater is shot down in flames. UK has 5 times the fan base of UL “at least” and has more ticket sales than UL and likely has even more ticket revenue without selling to the super rich and spitting in the face of the common man. Naturally we all know that the privileged few should just pay for the teams to play for them privately without the noisy students attending. There’s so much noise the super rich can’t enjoy the game nearly as much as if they actually owned the teams. More money is the obvious goal for the team so why not just sell the Cardinals to the Vatican (they’ll probably like the name) and only allow the Pope to watch games. They can play in the Sistine Chapel and somebody can paint a red uniform on Adam and an Armani suit on God. It is an Italian suit after all. I’m sure they’ll pay big for the privilege in the Holy See. After all money is what the game is all about. Yep the more money the program makes the more people will like it even though they won’t get to watch anymore. Nobody wants those loudmouth tv announcers talking about Duke in the Sistine Chapel. If the Pope owns the Cardinals he will expect them to be his Cardinals. After all it’s his money.

  2. jthammerstix - Apr 29, 2012 at 7:03 AM

    You are entirely to butt hurt about this. Get a life redneck.

  3. hoosiercolts - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    kingghidora- wow dude. Stop proving that the stereotype of UK fans as overly sensitive babies is correct. Someone can say something about a school other than UK without all of you tools getting butt hurt about it. So UL is 1st in profit and UK is 16th, why are you so mad? So please step away from the ledge, UK will still be playing next year.

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