We all know about how successful the various sports programs are across Louisville’s entire athletic department: Final Four basketball team, football is squaring off a for a conference title tonight, soccer team is a perennial contender, women’s basketball in the top ten, women’s volleyball dominates the conference, and so on and so on. Factor in the rabid fan support and the #1 TV market for college basketball, and it’s no secret why the ACC chose Louisville to replace Maryland as the conference’s 14th team yesterday. But another huge factor in the process, perhaps one that was overlooked by national media – but certainly not ACC commissioner John Swafford and other key decision makers – is the fact that Louisville possesses one of the most profitable athletics programs from top to bottom, in the entire nation. There will never be a question about the dedication towards winning here and the ability to make money at a high level. Kristi Dosh of The Business of College Sports and now ESPN, wrote a little over a year ago about just how profitable Louisville’s program is, compared to other big hitters across the country. And what we found is that the basketball team is more profitable than any other football program in the Big East OR the ACC.
Not only is Louisville basketball the most profitable basketball program in the country, it’s more profitable than the football program at any Big East school. It’s also more profitable than any football program in the ACC or Pac-10! Keep in mind, these numbers were for the season before Louisville basketball began play in a new arena.
But, as mentioned above, the data from that column is a bit outdated now. According to this piece from Forbes magazine published in March of 2011, once the Cards moved into the Yum! Center, their revenue jumped from $16 million all the way up to nearly $26 million.
And keep in mind, Louisville did all of this while being a member of the Big East, which, by far and away, receives the smallest TV and BCS payouts compared to the other power five conferences. However, with the impending ACC move, the program is about to take things to a whole new level. In a new piece published last night by Dosh, she states that Louisville was pretty rich before, but now they’re going to become even richer. According to her report, Louisville once again upped its basketball revenue in 2010-2011 (2011-2012 numbers won’t be available until January) to $27.6 million. Duke who was at one time ahead of the Cards in basketball revenue, is now more than $10 million behind them. The Big East reportedly paid Louisville $10 million last year. Meanwhile, the ACC – and this number should go up – pays their members $17 million annually. With that extra $7 million, Louisville will become one of the top ten most profitable programs in the country. Think about that for a second. Texas, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and Louisville, all in the same breath among the richest programs in all of college sports.
James Ramsey and Tom Jurich should have statues erected on campus the day they retire.