U.S. Sports Academy
Authors: Spencer D. Wyld1 and David C. Wyld2
1 Walton College of Business, Department of Finance, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA
2 Department of Management & Business Administration, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA, USA
David C. Wyld, DBA
47042 Scott Drive
Hammond, LA 70401
Spencer D. Wyld, M.B.A., is a doctoral candidate in finance in the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas with a focus on the financial aspects of energy, infrastructure, and transportation.
David C. Wyld, D.B.A., serves as the Merritt Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University. His research interests involve the intersection of technology, society, sports and business.
College Football’s Bottom-Line Impact: Exploring the Relationship of Football Performance on Athletic Finances for Division I Institutions Today
Purpose: This study examines a heretofore unaddressed area in both sport and economics literature, looking at the relationship between on-the-field college football team performance and the financial performance of university athletic operations overall. Methods: The researchers, building upon prior research employing econometrics to sports analysis, utilized data spanning 2005-2018 for 106 Division I college athletic programs to examine how specific aspects of offensive, defensive, and overall team football performance related to four measures of overall athletic department financial performance (donor contributions, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, and profit). Results: Based on three separate regression analyses, the study found that while institutional and state control variables were important in explaining overall differences in universities’ athletic department performance in terms of donor contributions, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales, some football-specific factors were found to have significance as well. Overall, college athletic departments that had teams which produced exciting football on the field (with scoring and with a lack of turnovers) were found to be better performing off the field financially in contributing to the overall success of their university’s athletic programs. Conclusions: The present research demonstrates for the first time how – and how much – on-field football team performance can play a role in athletic operations overall from a financial standpoint. The researchers go on to analyze directions – and challenges – for future research in this area, especially considering the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for college sports operations. Applications in Sport: For athletic departments and athletic administrators, the findings in the present research provide new insights on what donors, sponsors, and fans of their football programs value in terms of on-field performance of their respective university’s football team.