How Much Money is Involved in College Sports?

By: Martin Dasko on April 6, 2015

“What’s the money like for college sports?”

That’s what I asked my buddy when I saw him watching a game once.

When you watch a college basketball game, you see a huge crowd and all kinds of buzz. I live in Canada and even I can’t go anywhere on social media without hearing about college basketball.

When I was younger I assumed that these athletes were also rock star millionaires like those in the NBA. I was wrong.

How is money generated through college sports?

  • Merchandise.
  • Media rights.
  • Sponsors.
  • Donations.
  • Tickets.
  • Concessions.

As you know, advertising is about eye balls. The money goes where the people go. When there are thousands of fans at a game with millions around the country tuned in, you can rest assured that the sponsorship dollars are going to be exorbitant.

What are some dollar figures behind NCAA basketball?

Instead of throwing out broad ideas, I wanted to find some actual dollar figures on NCAA basketball.

According to US News, CBS and Turner Broadcasting making $1 billion of the games. During the final four, they charge $700,000 for a 30-second ad.

According to USA Today, University of Texas earned $60,860,735 in ticket revenue for 2013.

That’s some serious money if you asked me. This means that college sports are pretty serious when it comes to generating revenue for the school and everyone involved in the game.

Why don’t college athletes get paid?

This is a rather controversial topic and truthfully, the scope of this article doesn’t allow me to dig too deep into this topic.

The argument is that the college athletes receive an education, exposure, valuable training, and are able to hone their crafts, all while earning a degree in the process.

The other side of the coin is the revenue generated. You can’t deny the amount of money that these college athletes generate for their schools and everyone involved in the process.

The best point that I could find came from this article on Forbes:

“Colleges are already compensating their student athletes with tuition, room, board, coaching, nutritional support, and physical trainers that can exceed $100,000 per year in value. Student athletes are already paid and the current system is pretty close to as fair as we are going to get. Paying a few of them will not improve college sports.”

As you can tell there’s huge money involved in college sports. The athletes might be frustrated since they’re still students and they’re not getting paid as they deal with credit, studies, and life. For now, the college athletes won’t be paid for playing the game that they love. The good news is that these young players will graduate with degrees and the potential to continue playing the game.

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