Dec. 22, 2012
Liz Mannis, Texas Media Relations
For as long as anybody can remember, the state of Texas has been synonymous with football. The marriage between the two entities has been shared with the world through the award-winning TV series, movie, and book "Friday Night Lights," as well as the countless honors and traditions Texas football programs showcase on the field.
While most would agree that the state of Texas is the capital of the football world, until recently there was no way to prove the common notion that Longhorn football was indeed the epitome of college football. That changed last winter, when a study conducted by Indiana University’s Ryan Brewer placed monetary values on Division I-A public college football programs as if they were businesses for sale. Brewer approached the study from the eyes of a Wall Street analyst, basing the value of each program on its assets, liabilities, cash flow, and other relevant factors.
The result? Texas football at the top of the list valued at a tremendous $848.3 million. The study listed the Longhorn football program as 75.4 percent more valuable than the No. 2 University of Georgia football program, worth $483.6 million.
Only one other Big 12 university - Oklahoma - whose football program was valued at $343 million and ranked ninth on the list, joined Texas in the top-ten.
RECORD OF CONTINUED SUCCESS
The evidence that Texas sits at the center of the football world is mounting. In October 2009, weeks before the football team reached its second BCS National Championship game in just four years, Austin landed a spot on the Sporting News “Best Sports Cities” list, making it the highest-rated sports city without a major professional team.
During the most recent economic recession, universities across the country faced tough decisions regarding budget cuts, with many turning to athletics to save money. Here in Austin, the university athletics department conquered the financial crisis with reported operating revenues up 32 percent. The stability of the athletics department through economic hardships is testament to the tradition and triumphs of Longhorn athletics.
Texas Athletics continues to see financial success with the football program at the core of the department’s financial stability. During the 2010-11 fiscal year, the athletics department produced $150.3 million in total revenue, while Longhorn football, alone, generated $95.7 million in revenue and had a net profit of $70.8 million.
Forbes’ 2012 rankings of “College Football’s Most Valuable Teams” gave Texas top honors, placing a value of $133 million on the Longhorn football program, $13 million ahead of No. 2 Michigan. The Longhorns made history in 2011, becoming the first college football team to surpass the $100 million mark in revenue generated. The Forbes rankings place a heavy emphasis on two criteria; “academic value” which is money directed towards university spending and programs, and “athletic value” which measures football revenue used to support other athletic programs at the university.
In 2011, Longhorn athletics strengthened its financial stature even more with a lucrative 20-year $300 million deal that created the Longhorn Network. The Longhorn Network provides fans with insider access and 24-hour coverage of all things Texas. The deal not only bolstered the durability of athletics, but is also channeling $5 million of expected revenue into university academics every single year.
"It was the brand and the fans that drew us to Texas," ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming Burke Magnus said. "Plus, strategically, we thought it was very important to deepen our relationship with the university, and Texas has some major pull in the landscape of college sports.”
THE MACK FACTOR
One of the biggest assets of the Longhorn football program, head football coach Mack Brown, has proven himself invaluable to the athletics department over his 15 years at Texas. During his tenure, ticket sales, licensed product revenue, and the value of the Texas brand have all seen significant increases.
Since Brown’s hiring in 1998, Longhorn trade and licensing revenues have increased more than sevenfold and Texas continually ranks as a top-selling institution of The Collegiate Licensing Company’s client list. Additionally, since Brown came to Texas, he has driven football revenues to new heights – having more than quadrupled reported revenue from $21.3 million in 1997, to $95.7 million in 2011.
Coach Brown spearheaded more than $250 million in construction and renovations for football facilities, including projects that increased capacity in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium by nearly 25,000 seats. During the Mack Brown era, the number of season ticket holders increased by 44,000-plus from 1997 to 2010, when they reached a school-best 84,071 season tickets sold.
During Brown’s tenure as head coach, he and his players have shattered 281 school records, and have witnessed 49 of the top 50 crowds in Texas history, having set 98 percent of school attendance records.
"Mack has helped bring back the pride in Texas Football," former Longhorn All-American and NFL great Tommy Nobis said. "Tradition is what makes the college game so exciting, and Mack is doing a great job getting everyone excited about wearing the burnt orange and white and being a Longhorn again."
Brown has deservedly received a number of accolades during his tenure as head coach. He was named the 2005 Paul W. “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year after leading the Longhorns to the National Championship, the 2008 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year, and the 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year. This past year, Brown was selected for induction into the 2011 Class of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, one of the most prestigious honors in Texas state athletics.
“Coach Brown restored Texas’ winning tradition. He embodies the Texas character, is a superb ambassador for The University of Texas, and runs a program that is both winning and clean, a program that all alumni and fans can and should be proud of,” said UT President Bill Powers.
To list all of the records and accomplishments Brown and his Longhorn teams have earned would fill pages. Brown’s 235 career victories rank 11th on the NCAA all-time list, and he is just one of four active coaches to have reached the 200-victory plateau. He is the first head coach in UT history to reach 200 career wins (149 at Texas), and boasts the best win percentage (.757) in the nation (NCAA Division I-A coaching records) since 1990.
Brown has taken his team to bowl games in 15 of the last 16 seasons, and has won 7 of the last 9. One of those two losses occurred in the 2009 National Championship game after star quarterback Colt McCoy suffered a shoulder injury and had to sit the rest of the game. Brown is one of just two coaches nationally to direct his teams to 20 bowls in the last 21 seasons.
Young men with the lifelong dream of playing in the NFL find success thanks to Brown and the Longhorn football program. In the 28 drafts as a head coach (here and at the University of North Carolina), Brown has had 105 student-athletes drafted to the NFL, with a player picked in 27 straight drafts. In the last 15 drafts, Brown has seen 15 Longhorns drafted in the first round, and 52 Longhorns selected in the first four rounds of the draft. Brown’s squad leads the nation with six top-five picks in the last nine years, and ranks third in the nation with 45 active Longhorns in the NFL.
FUTURE BRIGHT FOR LONGHORNS
The success experienced by Longhorn football during the Mack Brown era thus far has done wonders for Texas Athletics, the university, the Austin community, and fans of the burnt orange everywhere. While there is much to be proud of regarding the past successes, the future remains bright for Texas football.
Ryan Brewer’s study may have placed a price tag of $848.3 million on Longhorn football, but in the eyes of Texas, Longhorn football is priceless. As the saying goes, everything, especially football, is bigger in Texas.