When Colorado athletic director Rick George was asked last year how he came up with enough money to pay new football coach Deion Sanders, he had a surprising answer.
This happened on Dec. 4, the day he introduced Sanders in Boulder.
“We don’t have the funds yet,” George told reporters at the time. “But we know we can get it.”
Ten months later, it turned out the university had found the money. And it wasn’t hidden under the couch cushions. Instead, the return on investment with Sanders is shocking in scope and never before seen less than a year after hiring a new college football coach. was.
The two numbers add it up. According to the contract with Sanders University, Colorado plans to pay Sanders the following over a five-year period through 2027:
∎ $29.5 million (including $5.5 million this year).
Just one month into his first season, here’s his estimated return on that investment.
∎ $280 million.
what the numbers mean
The $280 million figure is a conservative estimate compiled by USA TODAY Sports. This includes an increase in football ticket sales from last year ($20 million), an increase in donations ($8 million), increases in other categories (at least $3 million), and media related to Pro Football Hall’s hiring. Includes an estimate of exposure increase. The Famer ($249 million) that attracts so many cameras.
The actual number is likely higher, but could not be estimated because data was not available for some income categories, such as donations to the school after June 30 and sales of merchandise at on-campus stores.
“Given his personality, we had incredibly high expectations when Coach Prime arrived, but he has made CU Boulder a center for the sport on the field, in the classroom, and beyond. “We exceeded expectations on every front by creating excitement across the nation,” the university said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.
The breakdown is as follows:
Earned media impact: $249 million difference
Colorado’s massive media exposure through “Coach Prime” is like a regularly recurring national ad for CU. It’s called “earned media.” Although this is not a cash income, it can have tremendous value and can lead to cash in other ways over time, such as through sales or donations, as the university’s audience grows.
From Dec. 4 to this week, CU was mentioned 68,536 times in the media, according to data provided by the university from Cision, the university’s media monitoring service. According to Cision’s calculations, the corresponding advertising equivalent is estimated at $375 million. The university said this includes viewership for television, radio, online and print media, but does not include mentions on social media. In contrast, his CU’s media mentions in the same period last year were 17,674 and his estimated advertising equivalent was $126 million.
That difference is roughly $249 million just four games into the season.
“Make no mistake about it, universities are getting 100% return on investment in terms of earned media value,” said Annie Scranton, founder of Pace Public Relations in New York and author of a book on earned media. he says. “The traditional way to measure the value of earned media is to compare it to correlated ad space. It’s not even close. Given the frequency and number of media coverage of Dion, in five years it will be equivalent to earned media value. I definitely think it’s going to be worth more than $1 billion.”
What it means to Deion Sanders
Sanders’ colorful personality, fame, and success put Boulder in the spotlight throughout the month. Buffaloes games have attracted more than 35 million viewers on Fox, ESPN and ABC. “Coach Prime” also appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sept. 17, drawing nearly 12 million viewers.
After four games in September alone, CU generated a total of 31,227 media mentions with an estimated ad value of $128 million, according to data from Cision. It will rise even more after Saturday’s next game between the University of Colorado and No. 6 Southern California.
“I think ESPN has an obligation to mention us at least once an hour,” Sanders said on the Colorado Football Coaches Show on Sept. 21. “At least once an hour,[the broadcasters]will talk to CU about something, because we love it.” That expands our reach even more. ”
The previous year, Colorado’s first four games drew a combined television audience of about 3 million viewers as the Buffaloes started 0-4 and finished 1-11. After four games last year, CU had “only” 3,268 total media mentions and an estimated $22.92 million in advertising value.
Ticket sales: $20 million difference
Even without counting earned media, Colorado earned enough revenue from Prime Effect in other areas to effectively pay for a five-year contract. Ticket sales are huge.
Colorado sold out all its football tickets this year for the first time in its history. It also sold out off-season tickets for the first time since 1996. The university says it expects to generate $31.98 million in revenue from the sold-out season.
Last year, the Buffs had one of the worst teams in the nation, selling just $12.68 million in tickets, which doesn’t include the spring game in April, and the university said that under Sanders, tickets were sold for just $12.68 million. It sold out for $10 each and brought in about $340,000 after compilation. .
The difference is about 20 million yen.
Donation: $8 million difference
In August, the university’s athletic department announced that a record $28 million had been donated to the Buff Club, the university’s fundraising arm, for the 2023 fiscal year, which ends June 30. A year ago it was $20 million. In fiscal year 2023, he will only work with Sanders for seven months and does not include donations to the university outside of athletics.
University spokesman Steve Hurlburt said the increase in donations to the Buff Club can be attributed to the “prime effect.”
Other categories: At least $3 million
In fiscal year 2022, Colorado State’s revenue from product royalties through university licensing companies was $1.345 million. A year later, by June 2023, it had reached $1.58 million, including just seven months under the Sanders administration. He has a budgeted income of $2 million this year, according to data provided by the university, but he will likely earn nearly $300,000 more than that.
Amounts for other income categories were not available, but the university disclosed the percentage increase. For example, online team store sales have increased 2,544% since September of last year. Sales at physical team stores on campus have increased 564% since last September.
“Without a doubt, the University of Colorado hasn’t had a moment like this for quite some time, if ever,” said Scranton, the public relations expert.
It will get even bigger. They have eight games left in the regular season, starting Saturday at home against USC. The game will be televised at noon ET on Fox.
Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenbohr. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org