Major disparity in Big Ten football ticket revenue

Michigan earned $46.447 million in football ticket revenues in 2012, thanks to the largest stadium in the nation. Meanwhile, Indiana earned $4.351 million.

Published: April 13 2013 | 7:13 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 1:56 pm in

The financial gap between the Big Ten's top revenue generator in football ticket sales and its polar opposite is wider than what the league's No. 2 football revenue generator earned during the 2012 fiscal year.

According to figures supplied to The Gazette by Big Ten schools through the Freedom of Information Act, Michigan earned $46.447 million in football ticket revenue in the 2012 fiscal year. Indiana generated the smallest revenue at $4.351 million. The nearly $42.1 million difference between the programs is more than what Ohio State ($41.046) earned in football ticket revenue during the same fiscal year.

Eleven of the Big Ten's 12 schools (private school Northwestern did not submit information) released figures to The Gazette, as did incoming Big Ten members Maryland and Rutgers. Among the 13 schools, Maryland ($6.615 million) and Rutgers ($7.868 million) barely earned more than Indiana.

Penn State ($33.403 million) -- the league's other stadium seating more than 100,000 for home games -- was third. Nebraska ($28.184 million), Iowa ($21.034 million) and Wisconsin ($18.332 million) rounded out the top six. Michigan boasts the nation's largest college football stadium, seating more than 114,000 people.

For Iowa athletics, football ticket sales was the third highest-grossing revenue generator in 2012 behind NCAA/Big Ten revenues ($26.266 million) and contributions ($26 million).

"There’s a very, very strong demand for football tickets this year again," said Mark Jennings, Iowa's associate athletics director for patron and donor services. "Last year we set a record for the number of people wanting season tickets and the demand is still very, very strong this year."

The overall revenue gap between the league schools was considerably wider than in just ticket sales. Michigan earned more than $85 million in direct football revenue in fiscal year 2012, nearly $19 million more than No. 2 Penn State ($66.21 million). Michigan's total includes ticket sales, sport-specific contributions ($22.522 million) and direct NCAA/Big Ten distributions ($12.646 million).

Seven schools earned at least $48.4 million; Iowa ranked fifth at $51.11 million, slightly behind Nebraska ($55.06 million) and just ahead of Michigan State ($50.16 million) and Wisconsin ($48.41 million).

Purdue generated the least among current Big Ten members at $19.21 million. Incoming member Maryland earned only $16.775 million, while Rutgers took in just $21.21 million.

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