This is college basketball's most valuable team
The sport's best recipe for success is a huge arena, large crowds, happy alumni and parking and concession sales.
It would be a fitting outcome, because this year also marks the third straight year that Louisville reigns supreme off the court: Now worth $39.5 million, the Cardinals are once again college basketball's most valuable team.
The new waterfront arena, which opened in 2010, has the third-highest capacity among college basketball arenas. We didn't rank the most valuable college teams in 2011, the first year that the KFC Yum Center's impact would have been recorded, but by 2012 the Cardinals were worth $36.1 million, up nearly 40 percent from two years earlier.
Alumni have also been pleased, as the school counts a massive $29 million in contributions, nearly 75 percent of which it attributes to the basketball team. Add on some $6 million in NCAA and conference distributions and another million in parking and concession sales, and you've got the sport's best recipe for success.
But Kansas is now worth $33 million, thanks largely to $13 million in ticket sales and, like Louisville, massive contribution revenue: The Kansas athletic department collected $33 million in such donations. And Bill Self's Jayhawks have been stellar on the court, too, generating more money for their conference from NCAA tournament play than any other team in the nation.
Athletic value is team profit directed toward other sports programs, university value is team income that goes back toward academic programming and conference value measures the money generated for fellow conference members from NCAA tournament play.
The two new teams to the list are Michigan (No. 14, $14.2 million) and Arkansas (No. 20, $11 million). The Wolverines saw team revenue increase by some $5 million last year, the result of increased ticket sales, contributions and conference distributions; the Razorbacks make a return to our list for the first time since 2008.
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