LSU ranks as fifth-most valuable football program

Michael Bonnette
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LSU has been ranked as the fifth-most valuable college football franchise by Forbes.

Forbes conducts an annual survey of all Football Bowl Subdivision institutions to determine which programs are the most valuable. Forbes uses four areas that are impacted by the football program to determine how to rank them: their athletic department, their universities, their conferences and their local economies.

Texas led the nation with a worth of $131 million, down six percent from a $139 million valuation last year. They were followed by LSU’s opponent in the Music City Bowl – Notre Dame – who has a value of $122 million. Michigan at $117 million, Alabama at $107 million and LSU at $103 million round out the top five.

The Southeastern Conference has five of the top-10 teams in the Forbes ranking, which includes Auburn at No. 6 ($97 million), Tennessee at No.7 ($94 million) and Georgia at No. 10 ($83 million).

Of LSU, Forbes said, “we apply the heaviest weight to money that goes towards academic programming, which includes both football scholarships and direct contributions to university initiatives like a library fund or non-athletic scholarship programs. A shining example of this is LSU, which last year contributed over $7 million to academic programming.”

Forbes said in its report that “athletic value, which is next in the weighting order, is the remaining football profit that goes toward supporting non-revenue sports like softball and soccer. The final two areas, conference and community, are comprised of money earned from playing in bowl games and the economic impact generated by home football games, respectively.”

LSU set a school-record for attendance in 2014 as the Tigers averaged 101,723 fans for the seven home games. Overall, LSU drew a total of 712,063 fans to Tiger Stadium in 2014, the most combined fans for home games in school history.

LSU, now in its 10th season under head coach Les Miles, has averaged 10 wins a year since 2005. The Tigers have won at least eight games in a season for 15 years, and they are playing in a bowl game for a school-record 15th consecutive season.

Under Miles, LSU has played all but five games ranked in the Top 25 in the nation, a stretch the dates back to the 2005 season. LSU spent all of 2011 and 2012 ranked in the Top 10.