USC Gamecocks Football

Study: Clemson the national champion on the field but still trails USC in value

Clemson fans climb trees, flood streets after national championship win

Clemson fans react to the football team's 44-16 victory over Alabama at the national championship at Santa Clara on January 7, 2019.
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Clemson fans react to the football team's 44-16 victory over Alabama at the national championship at Santa Clara on January 7, 2019.

Clemson may be college football’s newly crowned national champion, but when it comes to the financial side of things, the Tigers have a ways to go.

The Wall Street Journal released an annual academic survey estimating the value of the top college football programs in the NCAA, based not solely on their revenue, but “on what a college team would be worth on the open market if it could be bought and sold like a professional sports franchise”

In addition to revenue, “each program’s revenues and expenses along with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections,” were considered, according to the Journal. Ryan Brewer, an associate professor of finance at IUPUC, led the study.

Clemson checked in at No. 26 on the list, valued at $298 million, though this evaluation was completed before Dabo Swinney and his team claimed its second national title in three years on Monday night. The Tigers’ opponent, Alabama, was valued at more than $1 billion and ranked third.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Gamecocks were rated as the 17th-most valuable program in the nation, at more than $460 million. That ranking is generally in line with where USC has finished in revenue as of late — Forbes reported in Sept. 2018 that the Gamecocks had the 15th-highest cash flow in college football.

Clemson was not included in Forbes’ rankings, which only extended to the top 25 programs.

Both South Carolina schools saw their evaluation drop from Brewer’s 2017 survey — Clemson lost roughly $30 million, while USC fell about $24 million. However, both are now worth more than what Brewer estimated in 2015.

Wall Street Journal evaluations

1. Texas: $1,105,493,378

2. Ohio State: $1,048,166,317

3. Alabama: $1,009,903,620

4. Michigan: $924,625,003

5. Notre Dame: $913,401,562

6. Georgia: $891,099,506

7. Oklahoma: $885,558,053

8. Auburn: $871,907,615

9. LSU: $852,445,897

10. Tennessee: $727,849,384

17. South Carolina: $460,753,199

26. Clemson: $298,051,865

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