College Football by the Numbers
BY: RACHEL ARNDTJanuary 7, 2011
Typography by Julie Teninbaum
America loves its college football, even if we'd like to throw a gazillion penalty flags at the Bowl Championship Series. Here's a look at the business of the BCS, bowl season, and college football, by the numbers.
The Rose Bowl game, which debuted in 1902, is the oldest bowl game in the country. In 2010, 93,963 people attended. The game has sold out for 63 years in a row.
As recently as the early 1930s, the only major bowl game was the Rose. This season there will be 35. Last season's 34 games were attended by a total of 1.77 million people and watched on TV by 225 million.
The BCS distributed $155.2 million in revenue from the big five 2009-2010 bowl games to NCAA conferences and independent teams Notre Dame, Army, and Navy, with Big Six conferences getting 82% of the pot.
In a recent survey, 63% of those polled said they want to replace the system with playoffs. In the same poll, 26% of Republicans surveyed said they are "very interested" in college football, compared with just 18% of Democrats.
Just 3 of the 32 members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection attended a July hearing on the BCS -- the third one held in the past two years.
30.8 million viewers watched the 2010 national championship on TV, up 4 million from 2009.
The Waterford Crystal trophy given to last year's national champion, Alabama, is worth $30,000 and went on a tour that included stops at 2 Walmarts.
ESPN will pay $125 million to air the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls, and the BCS Championship game this year.
Number of teams from outside the Big Six (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10, SEC) that have played in the BCS National Championship: 0.
67% of Division I football players who started college between 1999 and 2002 graduated within six years, compared with just 57% of the overall student population. Top performers: Notre Dame and Duke, which tied at 96%.
Players in the top tier of college spend an average of 44.8 hours a week in practice, games, and training and 39.5 hours on academics, according to a 2006 survey. Under NCAA rules, the maximum practice and playing time per week is 20 hours.
68 of the 120 universities in the top tier of college football made money from the sport in fiscal 2009. Big moneymakers included Alabama, Florida, and Ohio State.
The average ticket price to an Ohio State home game is $523.67 on the secondary market, the highest of any university.
A version of this article appears in the December / January issue of Fast Company.
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