Big Ten Athletic Revenue: Ohio State Leads, UCLA Lags in 2023

The Big Ten Conference released its 2023 athletic department revenue rankings, with Ohio State University topping the list at $280 million and UCLA ranking last at $105.4 million. The rankings highlight a significant financial disparity among member institutions, raising questions about competitive balance within the conference.

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Nitish Verma
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Big Ten Athletic Revenue: Ohio State Leads, UCLA Lags in 2023

Big Ten Athletic Revenue: Ohio State Leads, UCLA Lags in 2023

The Big Ten Conference has released its athletic department revenue rankings for the 2023 fiscal year, revealing a wide disparity among its member institutions. Ohio State University sits atop the list with a staggering $280 million in revenue, while the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) surprisingly finds itself at the bottom, generating only $105.4 million.

The rankings highlight the financial power of the Big Ten, with several schools bringing in impressive revenues. However, the gap between the top and bottom earners is significant, raising questions about the competitive balance within the conference.

Ohio State's position at the top of the list comes as no surprise, given the school's consistent success across multiple sports and its massive fan base. The Buckeyes' football program, in particular, has been a perennial contender, regularly filling the 102,780-seat Ohio Stadium and generating substantial revenue through ticket sales, merchandise, and television contracts.

In contrast, UCLA's position at the bottom of the rankings is unexpected, considering the school's location in the nation's second-largest media market and its rich athletic history. The Bruins have won a total of 119 NCAA team championships, the most of any university. However, recent struggles in revenue-generating sports like football and men's basketball have likely contributed to the school's financial woes.

The University of Illinois finds itself in the middle of the pack, ranking 12th with $148.34 million in revenue. While this figure is respectable, it pales in comparison to the top earners in the conference, such as Ohio State, Michigan ($204.5 million), and Penn State ($193.8 million).

As the Big Ten continues to expand, with the recent additions of USC and UCLA set to join in 2024, the conference's financial landscape is likely to shift. The increased competition and revenue sharing from media rights deals could help bridge the gap between the top and bottom earners, but it remains to be seen how these changes will impact the overall competitive balance within the conference.

The 2023 Big Ten athletic department revenue rankings serve as a snapshot of the current financial state of the conference. While Ohio State continues to dominate, UCLA's surprising position at the bottom highlights the challenges some schools face in generating revenue. As the conference evolves, it will be crucial for member institutions to find ways to remain competitive both on and off the field.

Key Takeaways

  • Ohio State tops Big Ten revenue rankings with $280 million.
  • UCLA ranks last with $105.4 million, despite being in a large media market.
  • Big Ten schools show a significant revenue disparity, raising competitive balance concerns.
  • Conference expansion and media rights deals may impact revenue sharing and balance.
  • Member institutions must find ways to remain competitive financially and on the field.