March Madness is here, the commercial term for the 68-team playoff of Division-1 basketball. The top four seeds, according to the NCAA selection committee, are Kentucky, Michigan State, Syracuse and the University of North Carolina (UNC).
Forbes.com has ranked the 20 most financially valuable teams in college basketball. The biggest names are all there, such as Duke, UNC and Arizona. What may shock you is the order in which they came, or who is No. 1.
They used the amount of money generated through clothing, ticket and concession stand sales; basketball scholarships and academic contributions from basketball related money; and payouts from TV revenue.
The top five are the Louisville Cardinals, the UNC Tar Heels, the Kansas Jayhawks, the Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats.
The Cardinals are worth a whopping $36.1 million, and their coach, Rick Pitino, gets a better paycheck than some NBA coaches. Since 2010, the team has made an almost 40% increase in value, and a profit of over $23 million in 2011 alone.
UNC basketball was the top dog in 2010, and still generates a lot of money for their school and the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2011 their profit was almost $18 million, and they generated $5 million for the ACC. They lost ACC Championship to the Florida State Seminoles on Sunday, March 11th.
The Kansas Jayhawks have made the Big Dance 23 times in a row and won the 2008 National Title game. They pulled in almost $18 million in basketball profit and are worth an estimated $28.2 million.
The Duke Blue Devils won the Madness in 2010, and have seen their value rise by over 50% since 2010.
The Kentucky Wildcats round out Forbes’ top five. The overall No. 1 seed in this year’s tournament, they actually lost 7% of their value since 2010. They still had a basketball profit of $15.4 million in 2011 and a home attendance of 24,000 per home game. They also paid their coach the best, as John Calipari makes $6 million per year before bonuses.