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Wall Street Journal study: ASU and Arizona football programs among most valuable in country

If you talk to a coach or player on a college football team, you probably won’t hear the word “outperformed” too often. But according to a study by the Wall Street Journal, the Arizona State and Arizona football teams outperformed their value. By a lot.

The study estimates the value of all the teams in the FBS and shows how much the programs would likely be sold for if they were on an open market, similar to professional franchises. ASU’s value is estimated to be about $277 million, making them 27th out of the 116 programs. Compared to how they did on the field and in the final AP poll this season, “outperformed” is appropriate. ASU was ranked 12th in the final AP poll.

Arizona’s estimated value is at just over $163 million, putting them 43rd on the list. The Wildcats definitely played better than their value, as they finished 19th in the final AP poll.

The values were estimated by factors using long-term on-field performance, stadium size and even NFL programs’ financial information. According to the Wall Street Journal, most college program values are on the rise, in part due to some professional franchises being sold recently for more than their estimated worth.

The better a team performs will of course make it more valuable. So with no surprise, the champion of the first College Football Playoff this year is worth more than any other team in the nation. The Ohio State program is worth over $1.1 billion. It is the only program worth a billion dollars, with Michigan trailing just behind at about $999 million.

There is a strong correlation of each program’s estimated revenue to their total estimated value. ASU brings in an estimated revenue of just over $58 million, which is 25th. Arizona is at 43rd, getting an estimated revenue of just over $45 million. Texas leads the nation in program revenue with just over $128 million, followed by Alabama at about $8 million less.

Washington would be the most expensive Pac-12 program, coming in 15th and worth about $418 million. ASU is 4th on the Pac-12 list and Arizona is near last, ranking 11th.

The SEC has the most teams in the top 15 on the value list, getting six before the Pac-12 even has one. The loser of the championship game, Oregon, is ranked 18th on the list at just over $358 million.