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Highest-earning athletic programs based on alumni size

With college basketball coming to a close this week and college football kicking into gear for the spring, it’s beneficial to reflect on which schools have earned the most revenue in recent years—primarily off earnings from those two aforementioned sports.

In order to review this financial information more accurately, we will need analyze the data a little differently than what we might expect.  Instead of looking at overall total revenue as a raw number, we need to look at total revenue in relation to a school’s living alumni size.

For example, if The University of ABC earned $100 million last year but has 200,000 living alumni, then the revenue per alum comes out to $500.  With that in mind, we will analyze all 24 schools that earned at least $100 million of revenue in the latest available data and divide that revenue by each school’s published living alumni size.  The exclusive Touchdown Alabama Magazine rankings based on those calculations are listed below:

School  –  Living Alumni  –  Revenue Per Alum

Louisville  –  144,000  –  $724.48

Alabama  –  213,000  –  $699.12

Arkansas  –  175,000  –  $652.42

Auburn  –  200,000  –  $623.29

LSU  –  225,000  –  $616.19

Oklahoma  –  190,000  –  $537.08

Nebraska  –  192,585  –  $530.45

Oregon  –  231,000  –  $457.58

Texas A&M  –  440,000  –  $437.75

Kentucky  –  277,838  –  $419.29

South Carolina  –  280,000  –  $404.19

Iowa  –  270,000  –  $392.48

Georgia  –  300,000  –  $387.17

Texas  –  482,000  –  $380.75

Tennessee  –  335,000  –  $377.86

Florida  –  413,658  –  $355.62

Florida State  –  351,250  –  $343.98

Ohio State  –  500,000  –  $334.33

Washington  –  317,522  –  $326.09

Wisconsin  –  435,412  –  $284.55

Michigan  –  540,000  –  $282.36

Minnesota  –  400,000  –  $277.91

Michigan State  –  530,000  –  $205.07

Penn State  –  658,000  –  $191.06

What we’ll notice right off the bat is how Louisville is a solid surprise at number one.  In addition, several schools typically known for having huge athletic department revenues seem to only have those huge revenues because they have gargantuan alumni bases.  In terms of revenue per alum, those schools are near the bottom on the pack.

What we’ll also notice is that Alabama and state-rival Auburn are represented well in the top 5. Alabama moves up from a couple of slots from 5 in total revenue ($149 million) to 2 in revenue per alum. Auburn moves up several slots from 11 in total revenue ($125 million) to 4 in revenue per alum.

In either case, the revenue numbers show that Alabama and Auburn alums are very supportive of their respective alma maters.  With as intense as the rivalry between Alabama and Auburn continues to be, each alumni base definitely has something to “Roll Tide” and “War Eagle” about.

Ben Baxter is a contributor for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter via @Ben_Baxter.

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