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HBCU Conferences Lag Far Behind In Earnings

Norfolk State’s March Madness win earned the MEAC $239,664.

Historically black colleges and universities have some ground to make up when it comes to sports and its revenue streams. Are we reaching the corporate community? Are we charging reasonable ticket and parking prices to encourage better attendance? Are we leveraging social media to enhance the game day experience to attract younger fans, while keeping older ones entertained and anxious to give?

Some HBCUs can answer ‘yes’ to many of those questions. And some can’t. But to get everybody on the same page about how far we have to go for HBCU sports to be a stronger athletic product for an increasingly diverse sports audience, check out these numbers on HBCU conference revenues.

These aren’t by individual schools – these are total revenues without expenses factored as reported to the US Department of Education for the last reporting year of 2010.

MEAC – $105,524,230
SWAC – $67,642,243
CIAA – $38,157,559
SIAC – $27,284,256
GCAC – $22,660,011

Total 2010 HBCU Sports Revenue – $261,268,299

(Norfolk State’s men’s basketball team in March earned the MEAC an extra $239,664 to be divided among its schools with the Spartan’s bracket-busting upset of No. 2-seeded Missouri.)

Anyway the HBCU Sports revenue total is not a bad number considering most HBCUs don’t have enrollments over 10,000 students, stadiums that don’t seat more than 5-10,000 people, and revenue streams outside of apparel licensing.But when you put this total from all conferences up against one NCAA Division I-A school….

University of Alabama – $123,910,432

…you begin to see the real level of disparity. Alabama by its lonesome can gross nearly half of what all HBCU conferences (CONFERENCES?!) gross collectively.

So how do you fix this? How do you make the playing field more even to recruit better athletes, attract fans and lucrative sponsorships with corporations and TV deals?

Option A – Break the bank on a well-known football coach, sign him up for three years, and watch him work magic with recruits and corporate partners.

Option B – Hire a young, business savvy athletic director with a beautiful mind for marketing and social media and watch him or her build your fan base.

Option C – Pray for what you’re currently doing to miraculously reap better benefits.

Source: HBCU Digest

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