America Realigned

On July 29th 2020, Pat Forde wrote an article in Sports Illustrated laying out a future realignment of NCAA Football. This article lays the groundwork for a new alignment of the NCAA based on proximity with the goal to maintain as many rivalries as possible.

COVID-19 and declining revenues have severely impacted college sports revenue and Athletic Directors ability to effectively manage budgets. This article is linked here.

Mr. Ford proposes to break the NCAA into 10 12 school conferences. Each school will play a full round robin plus one non conference game. Each conference is designed to maximize proximity to reduce travel costs.

Reduced travel will greatly increase the number of fans traveling to away games and this has an associated revenue potential. We have looked at the revenue potential on a team by team basis based on potential sell out of stadiums.

The methodology is as follows:

  • Look at 2019 attendance figures
  • Realizing attendance figures are inflated, factor that in
  • Determine stadium capacity
  • Calculate ticket prices based on prior year
  • Annualize available seating capacity
  • Calculate Available Revenue

The potential revenue that could be generated is mind boggling. Use UVA for example:

2019 reported average attendance – 47,863*
Actual average based on 25% inflation 35,897**
Stadium capacity 61,500
Average Ticket Cost $55.00
Multiply Stadium capacity – Actual Average x Ticket Cost x 6 home games
61,500 – 35,897 = 25,603 available seats per game x $55.00 per ticket x 6 games.
$9,590,218 is the available revenue for UVA.

What athletic director would not like to see that increase in revenue?

*Average Attendance

**Per WSJ article stating number of tickets scanned at the stadium falls far short of teams announced attendance.

We have looked at the proposed conferences on a team by team basis and evaluated the potential revenue from ticket sales.

Benefits of a Realignment:

  • Band and Cheerleaders will be able to travel to all away games
  • Cost of travel greatly reduced
    • Airfare
    • Hotel
    • Meals
  • Athletes will miss fewer classes

There can be no doubt that a proximity based conference realignment will have a significant impact on revenues for universities.