Louisville Crushing In-State Competition In Revenue


According to Kristi Dosh, an attorney who is a noted expert on business and legal issues in professional sports, the Louisville basketball program makes 17.2 million more dollars than the University of Kentucky in basketball ticket-related contributions.

Kristi writes for SportsMoney on Forbes.com about numerous business and legal issues facing professional and collegiate athletics. In addition to founding BusinessofCollegeSports.com, she is also the founder of It’s A Swing and a Miss, a blog dedicated to analysis of issues in Major League Baseball.  She has been a guest writer for numerous other websites and blogs dedicated to sports.

Excerpt From BusinessofCollegeSports.com

Someone recently contacted me and said they read University of Kentucky’s football program makes more than its basketball program. They found this hard to believe given the success of the two programs comparatively.

It’s true. Kentucky football brings in almost twice as much in revenue as the basketball program. Not only that, Kentucky basketball comes in behind quite a few other basketball programs in terms of profit: Marquette, Northwestern, Pitt, and Louisville, just to name a few. In-state rival Louisville boasts the highest profits of any basketball program in the nation and the 21st most profitable sports program overall. You can see all football and basketball program profits ranked here.

Where is Kentucky falling short? The number one source of revenue for most programs is donor contributions. Many think it’s conference distributions, but even with Kentucky’s $18.3 million SEC distribution and Louisville’s $1.2 million Big East distribution, Louisville still comes out on top. In a previous post, I showed you how the majority of last year’s BCS top 25 relied more heavily on donor contributions than conference distributions. What’s the best way to get those contributions? Require them for access to season tickets and premium seating areas.

Now you might be thinking that Louisville’s success is owed to its new arena. However, Louisville was the largest profit-producer in college basketball the season before the new arena. In Freedom Hall, Louisville basketball’s previous home, it made $1.6 million on suite rentals and $10.8 million in ticket-related contributions required to be eligible to rent those suites. In the new arena those numbers have sky-rocketed to $5.7 million in suite rentals and $17.2 million in ticket-related contributions.

What about Kentucky? How much are they making for suite rentals and ticket-related contributions required to be eligible to rent suites? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Rupp Arena doesn’t have a single suite for University of Kentucky to sell.

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