Louisville tops list of most valuable college basketball programs

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Every year, Forbes releases a list of the most valuable programs in college basketball. Louisville tops the list season, valued at $38.5 million during the 2012-13 season.

The Cardinals also topped Forbes’ list last season at $36.1 million.

It’s another in a steady list of accolades the Cardinals have acquired over the past few weeks. Earning the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big East Conference tournament championship and earning a share of the Big East regular season title.

The success, according to the article, can be attributed largely to the opening of the KFC Yum! Centrer in 2010-11. The ticket sales were up 28.4-percent at $14.2 million after the opening. The contributions to the team are on the rise as well, reaching $20.4 million last year.

Kansas — now worth $32.9 million — along with North Carolina ($32.8 million) and Kentucky ($32.1 million) come in in second, third and fourth, respectively. Duke was down a bit, ranking 11th at $17.1 million in net worth.

More than the rankings, this is a clear-cut example of how big of a business major college athletics have become. I won’t get into the “pay for play” argument — that’s an entirely different post in itself — but these schools generate millions in revenue for schools.

These numbers definitely give us all something to think about.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten