[WSJ] Michigan Leads BCS in "Revenue Bowl"

Submitted by SchrodingersCat on January 6th, 2012 at 7:50 AM

Michigan leads the teams playing for 2012 BCS Bowl Championships in the percentage of total revenue not derived from football. Only ~1% of Michigan's total campus revenue is derived from football. 


By these figures, football accounted for 14% of LSU's gross income...

Alabama... earned a final mark of 11%...

Other schools which had football teams playing in elite bowl games had far lower marks: These include Clemson (5%), West Virginia (3%) Wisconsin (2%) and Michigan (1%).

This shows how well-rounded Michigan is when compared to its football competitors and is evidence of the breadth of opportunities available at the University of Michigan. With its diverse revenue, Michigan is able to fund a top football education as well as top extra-curricular and research programs. This diversity strengthens the university, allowing it to take more risk, as a negative outcome from any single program (spread-offense anyone?) will not have a large impact on the university as a whole.

Michigan also leads the Wall Street Journal's study group in total revenue with over $6 billion in total campus revenue (Revenue Spreadsheet). (edit: Link not working, click source and then scroll down and click on second graphic on left) For laughs, rank the list accoring  to football share rank and find the SEC schools. SEC speed = football is all we do. 

These facts are excellent evidence of the true strength of the University of Michigan, its diversity. It is a football school while simultaneously being a research institution and an excellent educator. If a football recruit wants to get the full college experience and have as many opportunities as possible, the University of Michigan is the premier institute in the country.

Source WSJ



turbo cool

January 6th, 2012 at 8:06 AM ^

You don't want us on that list! It breaks down how much of the school's revenue is derived from football. Michigan, unlike LSU and Bama, isn't heavily reliant on funds from the f'ball program.

Edit: The above graphic can be misleading since the lower #'s are the more favorable #s. Bottom line, Michigan leads all the BCS schools in the amount of revenue the school brings in as a whole, from all areas, not just football. And, on top of of that, only ~1% of that entire revenue comes from football, meaning, we have a very diverse revenue base and our academics, R&D, etc., are not dependent on how well our football team performs.


January 6th, 2012 at 8:32 AM ^

Thanks for pointing this out, I am a little unsure of whether BCS Bowl contender is people playing in BCS bowls, are all the teams trying to play. I am editing and working on clearing that bit up. It's a work in progress, much like life :-D

I also have no clue as to which day it is... Still hungover from the Sugar Bowl.

Coastal Elite

January 6th, 2012 at 8:47 AM ^

Just a thought, but when it says "revenue derived from football," is that exclusively counting ticket sales and other revenue proximately tied to the games? Because it seems to me like the biggest (financial) value of our football program is the national notoriety it gives the University, which allows us to license Michigan apparel, media, gifts, and other paraphernalia.


January 6th, 2012 at 11:45 AM ^

On of my pet peeves is the frequent misuse of the word Notoriety.

Notoriety: The state of being Notorious.

Notorious: : generally known and talked of; especially : widely and unfavorably known


Just a thought, but when it says "revenue derived from football," is that exclusively counting ticket sales and other revenue proximately tied to the games? Because it seems to me like the biggest (financial) value of our football program is the national notoriety it gives the University, which allows us to license Michigan apparel, media, gifts, and other paraphernalia




January 6th, 2012 at 9:06 AM ^

Notice that all B1G schools are "low" on the list.  This seems like it is a function of the CIC (research consortium of B1G schools plus U Chicago) that give those schools a huge advantage in landing large research grants.

Hardware Sushi

January 6th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

Haha the Buckeye commenting in the article is hilarious:

"The percentages are high for Alabama and LSU because they have low campus revenue."

I'm thinking this guy is the head of the Buckeye math department.

Also, standard Bama response from Gene:



January 6th, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

...the Health System is the true 800lb gorilla in these parts.  

The sponsored research doesn't hurt though, and neither does the relatively high tuition and healthy fraction of out-of-state students.

Edited to add: here's another interesting stat from the article:

"LSU generated less than $500 million in revenues in 2009-10, one of the lowest totals on the Journal's list. Michigan, the school with the highest revenue in the sample, reported just over $6 billion in revenue."

If you are a subscriber, the online version of the article also contains an interactive chart with more data.  The second school in total campus revenue is UCLA, with just under $4.8B.

As for football revenue, the interactive chart lists Michigan at 6th, with $63M and change, vs. Alabama at #1 with just south of $73M.

Feat of Clay

January 6th, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

Thie OP mentions why this is great for football recruits, but what's also key is that it is good for ANY recruit. 

One of the reasons that UM is such an appealing school is that students know they can have a big-time sports experience as well as tons of diverse academic offerings and prestige that is widely recognized by future employers and grad schools.  There are schools which can offer a few of those items, but not very many can offer all of them.   We are almost in a class by ourselves on that score.  


January 6th, 2012 at 1:26 PM ^

reforms of the way things are done in the SEC. When more than 10% of your institution's revenue is derived from football, there is a gigantic disincentive to do anything, however temporary or morally ethical, that might harm the fortunes of the football program.

LSU and Alabama truly are colleges attached to gigantic football stadiums.


January 6th, 2012 at 4:42 PM ^

Very good article, thanks for pointing it out.

What was most interesting to me was Utah's revenue. I had no idea that Utah was such a big university. They are 6th on that list of total campus revenue with 2.9 billion dollars.  Admittedly, I know very little about Utah as a school but with roughly only one exception all of the schools in the top 20 are pretty darn good schools.


January 6th, 2012 at 5:22 PM ^

The article claims that:

"In some ways, the revenue rankings mirror what's happening on the field. The Southeastern Conference, which includes LSU and Alabama—and will claim its sixth consecutive Bowl Championship Series title Monday—fills out eight of the nine spots in this football revenue ranking. At the same time, schools from the Big Ten and Pac-12, which have fallen off the pace, cluster toward the bottom."

This would be true except when you rank the school by TOTAL revenue, rather than PERCENT of revenue.  You do find the SEC has the top 5 spots, but in the top 15, you find 8 SEC teams and 6 B1G teams with Michigan at number 6.

So the SEC is winning the revenue game, but B1G is not far off.

Just sayin'


School Total '09-'10 Campus Revenue Rank Rank Football Share (%) Rank
Alabama $660,836,147 36 $72,845,206 1 11 2
Georgia $1,241,359,232 19 $71,168,739 2 6 9
LSU $488,949,358 43 $69,434,528 3 14 1
Florida $2,308,320,000 10 $68,915,750 4 3 17
Auburn $841,457,011 30 $66,162,719 5 8 5
Michigan $6,005,110,000 1 $63,189,417 6 1 35
South Carolina $832,713,302 31 $57,086,212 7 7 7
Tennessee $633,018,334 37 $56,739,105 8 9 3
Ohio St. $4,638,451,000 4 $56,133,807 9 1 35
Nebraska $938,301,966 26 $49,928,228 10 5 10
Arkansas $528,909,957 42 $48,524,243 11 9 3
Iowa $2,394,685,061 9 $46,624,062 12 2 21
Michigan St. $2,006,352,000 13 $44,583,159 13 2 21
Texas A&M $1,280,764,024 18 $41,916,445 14 3 17
Wisconsin $2,472,718,446 8 $38,662,971 15 2 21