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Post Football bringing in the cash – as for everyone else…

Tuesday June 16, 2009

It’s news today that Georgia football brought in more money last year than any other program except Texas.

I’m not exactly sure what constitutes “football revenue”. Bowl money surely counts. Hartman Fund donations were less than $30 million, and ticket sales can’t account for more than a couple million dollars per game. Is the SEC distribution figured in? It would be interesting to see the breakdown…I’ll have to check the Hartman Fund annual report.

Though football revenue is among the best in the nation, overall revenue is “only” 13th among all programs. Football revenue accounts for 80% of what the Athletic Association brings in. Football at a school like Georgia is always going to lead the way, but it also demonstrates the problems with and potential for the other men’s sports.

Basketball is a big moneymaker for a lot of schools, but Georgia hasn’t been in a position to do much with its hoops programs lately. Demand is barely palpable, the Coliseum doesn’t offer much in the way of generating revenue (suites, sponsorship, etc.), and no postseason money is coming in. Hopefully Mark Fox will begin to change all of that; it’s certainly an expectation that’s implied by any major college coaching job. Even baseball has potential. The product is quality, but the media deal is negligible (a single local AM station), and the facility is among the smallest in the conference and becoming more outdated by the year.

It’s great that football is doing so well, but any business person knows the dangers of relying too much on a single product, vendor, or customer. In addition to increasing revenue from the other sports that have been poor performers, the Athletic Association is looking at other ways to bring in more cash.

That brings us to another story in the news: Georgia is close to signing a deal that would move its broadcasting rights from Cox/WSB to ISP Sports.

Georgia is nearing a lucrative deal with North Carolina-based ISP Sports, which currently holds the school’s marketing and sponsorship rights. Contracts have been drawn up for the extended rights deal. The deal would include radio, TV, Internet and digital content.

Under the deal with ISP, the pregame show would increase to four hours in length, and, including the game and postgame show, “the broadcast programming window would grow to at least nine hours.” That might sound like great news to those who tune in to the pregame show, but that deal’s going to have to be paid for somehow. If you think the current broadcasts and Sanford Stadium experience have become commercialized, ISP has a reputation for making that seem like an interruption-free PBS broadcast by comparison.

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