clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How Much Is Your College Football Team Worth? 2015 Edition

Eagles rank 62nd in the nation in value, per The Wall Street Journal.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Wall Street Journal released its estimated values for 2015 this week, and for the first time, they expanded the numbers to include teams beyond what they perceive as the top 50. That means Boston College, after falling from 50th to unranked last year, is back to having a number associated with their name.

The Eagles rank 62nd in the nation with an estimated value of of $90.92 million.

Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus performs the annual valuation by analyzing program revenues and expenses against cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments, and growth projections. The resulting figure simulates the estimated selling price if college programs could be bought and sold like franchises in the major sporting leagues.

Program revenues are estimated based on self-disclosed financial information. Professor Brewer estimates program values by using "fundamental analysis," including long-term performance, stadium size, state-by-state growth rates, cash flue, and other information.

As usual, Notre Dame is ranked as one of the most valuable franchises in college football. The Fighting Irish are the fourth most valuable team in the rankings at over $936 million. They're also one of four programs rated with a value over the $900 million mark. They're the top-ranked ACC program (if you consider them a member of the conference), coming behind third place Texas (the top-ranked team the last three years and valued at over $970 million), second place Michigan ($999 million) and top-ranked Ohio State (the only program rated over $1 billion).

This value for ND no doubt stems from the way they've marketed themselves. They draw on their national interest factor, and they've leveraged their own network ties to create scheduling opportunities in low-risk, high-reward areas. Because of their independence in football, they're able to leverage their name without having to lose any money to other teams. It doesn't matter how ND does on the field; their name and branding will always have them as a top-ranked team.

The ranking itself is an interesting number, though. Texas Christian, the preseason #1 team according to some polls, ranks as the 53rd most valuable franchise. Connecticut is valued 60th overall at just under $95 million, and Syracuse is rated 48th at over $137 million.

That the Eagles are rated 62nd is more of a reflection of the long-term risk associated with the program. The "Intrinsic Values" and "Estimated Program Revenue" take into account disclosed information, which BC doesn't have to do publicly because it's a private institution, and professional sports climate. Syracuse and UConn don't have to contend for sports revenue dollars with any professional teams, while Boston College and TCU have to compete for monies with some of the most valuable and richest franchises in the world (BC with the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots, TCU with the Dallas Cowboys).

Likewise, if you think about the success and drawing power of schools like Louisville and Duke, their valuations drop because of the perceived estimations of their basketball programs. It doesn't matter how many games Duke football wins, their value can only grow so much because they're up against Coach K and the Cameron Crazies in their own backyard.

Along with that, BC's long-term risk includes the fact that the team's been pieced together the last two years while transitioning between Frank Spaziani to Steve Addazio. There will be less risk associated in a couple of years once Addazio is competing with his own system. That he brought in as many fifth year seniors and transfer students as he did this year, a season after he had high-impact seniors like Andre Williams, is an indication of that risk.

All in all, it's a good indication that Boston College's program gave its viewers a pretty damn good return on their investment since the program is clearly still valued pretty low. That they went 7-6 and had the showing they did in the bowl game is a compliment to the people who invested their time, energy, and (most importantly) their dollars.

Around the rest of the league, Florida State's value grew thanks to their stability coming off of last year (as well as striaght up regular inflation), but they failed to outgrow anyone nationally because of long-term risks. Their drawing power is still huge, but consider that they couldn't even draw the #1 seed in the College Football Playoff as an undefeated team—there was definite risk involved.

Big winners included Virginia Tech, who vaulted over Clemson, and NC State, who went up one in the league and up seven slots in the nation. North Carolina was outgrown by a plethora of schools and tumbled to 50th nationally, while Georgia Tech's stock actually dropped.

Check out the table below for the ACC valuations from last year to this year. If you'd like to see how the league's schools fared in previous years, click here to see!

Program 2014 Rank Conf Rank Value (in millions) 2015 Rank Conf Rank Value (in millions)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2 ----- $811.5 4 1 $936.38
Florida State Seminoles 22 1 $277.9 21 2 $325.74
Virginia Tech Hokies 31 3 $203.7 23 3 $308.51
Clemson Tigers 25 2 $242.6 29 4 $255.05
Miami-Florida Hurricanes 35 5 $180.8 37 5 $204.08
N.C. State Wolfpack 47 7 $119.3 40 6 $182.58
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 33 4 $184.9 42 7 $180.52
Virginia Cavaliers n/a n/a n/a 44 8 $159.34
Syracuse Orange 49 8 $105.7 48 9 $137.57
North Carolina Tar Heels 44 6 $131.8 50 10 $133.98
Boston College Eagles n/a n/a n/a 62 11 $90.92
Pittsburgh Panthers n/a n/a n/a 64 12 $86.86
Louisville Cardinals n/a n/a n/a 65 13 $84.23
Duke Blue Devils n/a n/a n/a 71 14 $47.21
Wake Forest Demon Deacons n/a n/a n/a 72 15 $46.92