On the field, in the boardroom — lessons to learn from the business of football

December 29, 2010

College football is big business. And this year, that business was even bigger.

Profits are up 11 percent, says CNNMoney.com, from last year, in the six major football conferences. Each team earned an average of $15.8 million last year, well over $1 million per game.

The kicker is broadcast deals, the story explains, as well as strong ticket sales. The story adds:

And, of course, not having to pay your athletes gives big-time college football the ultimate business model.

University of Texas was the leader in both revenue and profit, coming in at $94 million and $68 million — even with a losing record this year.

What makes college football so successful? As CNNMoney.com points out, one major money saver comes from not paying the players. Of course, no other business could take advantage of that as a cost-saving measure.

But college football has a lot of other things going for it. Loyal fans, for one, who are often spread out over the country. Of course colleges want big TV networks to pick up their games, so everyone can watch them. And part of that loyal fan base is a strong alumni network — through which many athletic booster donations come.

Is there anything that a business leader can take away from this? Yes. Have a desirable product — whether it’s a good team or a valuable service. Through that desirable product, create a fan base. Recruit the best “players.” Put into place strong and charismatic leaders. Learn from your mistakes and improve for the next time. Be willing to take suggestions and criticisms.

What do you think? Is there anything else we as business leaders can learn from college football?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Birmingham, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @dalecarnegieala.

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