Around the ACC: How much is your school’s football program worth?

According to Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, Clemson is the most valuable football program in the Atlantic Coast Conference. However, the conference lags far behind most major conferences.

The report, which can be seen at the Wall Street Journal, ranks Clemson 27th out of the 69 programs evaluated.  The study examined each of the “BCS” conferences’ teams (minus Wake Forest), as well as independenta Notre Dame and Brigham Young.  The values were determined using revenues, expenses, and adjustments based on risk assessments and growth projections.  Essentially, it places a “price tag” on each program, in the way that professional teams can be bought and sold.

Ten SEC schools, seven Big Ten schools, five Big XII schools, and three Pac-12 schools were ranked ahead of Clemson, valued at $201.8 million.  This is a $21.9M jump for Clemson from their 2011 projection of $179.9M.

The value of each ACC football program, per Ryan Brewer. Red numbers indicate negative values

The eleven ACC schools included in the survey averaged $139.6M in value, a number that pales in comparison to the SEC’s $311M average per school.  The Big Ten and Big XII average $298.19M and $239.46M per school, respectively, also considerably larger than the ACC average, while the Pac-12 slots in fourth at $157.97M.  The Big East was the least valuable of the major conferences, at $73.6M.

However, it is not all bad news for the ACC in these studies. For example, four ACC programs ranked in the top sixteen of increased value between 2011 and 2012.  Georgia Tech jumped from $108.2M to $188.4M, an $80.2M increase bettered only by Michigan’s $113.3M growth. Virginia ranked eighth ($58.4M), while MIami ($36.0M) and Boston College ($34.8M) were fifteenth and sixteenth.

Eight of the eleven ACC teams in the study gained value, which allowed the conference’s per-team value to increase $11.1M.  It is alarming to note, though, that two of the conference’s primary draws in football, Florida State and Virginia Tech, were among the three teams that lost value in 2012. In fact, Florida State’s value decreased $107.3M, the largest drop in the evaluation.

The leaps by Clemson and Georgia Tech allowed them to move to the front of the conference. Virginia Tech falls from second to third, and Florida State falls to fourth.  Florida State, Miami, Virginia, and NC State are tightly bunched in value for fourth through seventh, between $159M and $143M.  Boston College is the last team valued above $100M, at $110.2, followed by North Carolina ($99.8M, a drop from $126.6M), Maryland ($96M) and Duke ($62M).

How would the conference newcomers affect the ACC’s value? This year, Pittsburgh actually ranked below Duke, which would make them the lowest value in the conference at $59.6M. Louisville and Syracuse, at $75.4M and $91.4M respectively, would be ahead of Duke but behind the other ten teams currently in the ACC. All told, including the three Big East invitees and removing Maryland drops the conference’s per-team value from $139.6M to $117.4M.

Notre Dame is the fourth most valuable team in the nation, worth $597.4M on its own.  As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all ships, and Notre Dame’s inclusion would lift the conference per-team average to $161.7M.   Even that number would still leave the ACC fourth amongst the power conferences, just ahead of the Pac-12 … and it uses Notre Dame’s full value, which the conference will never be able to utilize in negotiations unless Notre Dame joins as a full member.

It will be interesting to see how the values fluctuate next season, for several reasons.  For one, Notre Dame’s partial entrance will allow the conference to rework its television contracts, which could mean extra revenue for everyone in the conference. Sure, it would be nice if Notre Dame was a full-time member (and not tied to NBC), but every little bit will help to increase the conference’s value.

Secondly, how will Syracuse and Pittsburgh (and, eventually, Louisville’s) value change with the move?  Both Temple and West Virginia saw value increases from their realignments, as Temple moved to a BCS conference from the MAC and the Mountaineers transitioned to the Big XII.  However, Texas A&M and Missouri both lost value by jumping from the Big XII to the SEC.


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1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Thanks, Zach, good work.

    “The values were determined using revenues, expenses, and adjustments based on risk assessments and growth projections.” Those first two are easily quantified … the other two are not. They’re very subjective.

    I imagine that the Cuse and Pitt will increase in value just by entering the ACC (and partaking in the ACC’s larger media contracts, vs. the Big East). And simply by being associated with Notre Dame and playing Notre Dame, all ACC schools will increase in value. (Being associated with ND would increase “growth projections” and decrease “risk assessments”.)

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