Matt Jones has been the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2010. He is also a feature writer for Hawgs Illustrated magazine and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in journalism.
Forbes: Arkansas football valued at $74 million
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema watches the Razorbacks warm up during practice April 6, 2013 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas ranks No. 12 nationally in the latest Forbes list of most valuable college football programs.
The Razorbacks' estimated team value was $74 million in the 2012-13 academic year, according to Forbes. The team's football revenue of $61 million was down $3 million and its profit of $32 million was down $8 million from the year before when the program ranked two spots higher on the list.
The Razorbacks ranked as high as No. 8 on the Forbes list in 2011 with a value of $89 million. Arkansas' value on the list last year was reported at $83 million.
"To determine college football’s most valuable teams, we consider each team’s value to its athletic department, its university’s academic endeavors, its conference and its school’s local economy," Forbes wrote.
Forbes cites Arkansas' failure to make a bowl game last season coupled with buyouts for old and new coaching staffs as the primary reason for the drop off. Another factor includes the two-year suspension of the Razorbacks' game against Texas A&M at AT&T (formerly Cowboys) Stadium, which reportedly paid the schools around $5 million annually.
This year's study does not include financial data from the team's recently-completed 3-9 season under first-year head coach Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks are likely drop down the list again next year but could remain in the top 20 because of fewer coach buyouts and greater SEC bowl revenue. Forbes states the SEC will make $52 million in bowl revenue this year, which is distributed to each of the league's 14 member schools.
Texas ($139 million value) and Notre Dame ($117 million) are the nation's two most valuable football programs, according to Forbes. Alabama, ranked third, is the most valuable team in the Southeastern Conference with a reported value of $110 million.
LSU, Florida, Georgia and Auburn are SEC programs ranked ahead of Arkansas on the list. Other SEC programs in the top 20 include Texas A&M, South Carolina and Tennessee.