As much as I love Boston University, there is just one thing that I cannot get over — the fact that we do not have a football team. Being a football fan, the frustration is real when the season begins. There have been countless Saturday nights where I watched college football games from my dorm and witnessed teams of other schools striving for victory. The excitement, the tension and the expectation were not as intense due to the fact that BU was never in the games that I watched. Even BC has a decent football team. Really, BU? Really?
College football has been a major part of campus life, especially in the south. College football stimulates sales and generates revenue in school merchandise, ticketing, TV and online broadcasts. According to a report obtained by Tuscaloosa News and Forbes, University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide athletic department reported that the school’s football team generated about $95 million this past season, setting a new record for not only the school’s football team, but in college football in general. It is the most revenue ever generated by any college sport team in a single year.
You might wonder, how can college football, a seemingly unprofitable sport, make so much money for colleges every year? The league is not as regulated as the NFL, not as commercially oriented as the NFL, not as professional as the NFL. However, the ways college football generates revenue are not popularly known.
There are a handful of ways that college sports can make money: donations from alumni, ticket sales, sponsorships and distributions from lucrative contracts with broadcasting companies.
Although this sounds like a good deal to colleges, not everyone walks away with cash in their hands. Only the major college sports programs are profitable. As we all know, college sports are a big category in spending. From coach and staff to field maintenance, colleges need to invest big amounts to keep their programs running. Besides these fixed costs, colleges need to find new ways to attract good players. By offering scholarships or annual bonuses, colleges are doing what they can to get all the good players in hand so that the teams can go one more round in the playoffs and generate more revenue.
Consequently, universities have to rely on allocated revenue, which includes direct or indirect donations and student fees. In other words, students are basically subsidizing the sports programs of their schools, to a certain degree. For instance, if our hockey team does not do well this year, guess what’s going to happen to our tuition? You get the idea.