It is widely known that Americans love football, just as people from all over the world love sports popular in their countries. What sets American football fans apart, however, is their love of the collegiate level of the sport. College football has been popular for a long time, but has been gaining more steam in recent years. To people around the world this is a strange phenomenon, that Americans are just as passionate about college football as they are about pro football. The country’s passion for college football has turned it into a huge money maker for colleges.
How college football turned into such a spectacle has a simple and often over looked answer. In places that were neglected by and lacked professional sports teams, college football caught on like wildfire. There are only 32 professional football teams in the NFL, so not every state has one and for most in a state that does getting to games regularly can be an issue. College football offers a lower ticket cost, quality football, and a team to root for, even if one hasn’t attended the school the team represents. In addition to accessibility many people love to watch athletes playing for the love of the game, instead of players who play for a salary and inevitably become divas and prima donnas. So much in the same way that professional teams attract fans, college football does the same— only less intentionally. College teams that have become the most popular are those that are present where there is a dearth of professional sports facilities. Merchandise, tickets, concessions, media deals and advertising make college’s big money when it comes to their football programs. Also many colleges receive generous donations from well to do fans, often alumni of the school, but not always. A good season can compel some pretty hefty donations.
Right now the colleges making the most profit off of their football programs are: Alabama with $123,769,841 in total revenue followed by, Texas with $120,288,370 and Ohio State at $115,737,022. Rounding out the top 10 is: Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, and Penn State. To break down the factors that go into a college teams total income let’s look at the different resources that bring in the money. Alabama makes $28,410,419 on tickets, $5,500 from away games, $29,860,400 in donations, $4,101,515 comes from the University, Media rights bring in close to $9,000,000, and branding provides an additional $4,506,056.
More than merchandise and marketing, though, college football makes money because people care. Watching college football allows fans the opportunity to follow the careers of future NFL stars in its fledgling form. Fans get to see boys go from fresh out of high school to seasoned athletes, a transformation which is a drastic one. People have emotion and interest vested in the players and that is perhaps the most powerful draw of all when it comes to college football. Before the boys become fawned over supermen we get to watch them strive for their dream and sometimes overcome adversity. It adds another level of depth to watching the sport for avid fans.