Football’s economic impact on college towns, players and NFL

You know my saying: The business of sports always wins. This week, however, my adage was proven wrong, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences pulled the plug on fall college football, setting fire to a collective billions of dollars worth of sorely needed revenue. For these two power players […]

You know my saying: The business of sports always wins. This week, however, my adage was proven wrong, as the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences pulled the plug on fall college football, setting fire to a collective billions of dollars worth of sorely needed revenue. For these two power players in the business of college football, health and safety, surprisingly, won out over the business of sports.

For now, the other Power 5 conferences—SEC, ACC and Big 12—are forging ahead with football. Perhaps their conference leaders received different medical and scientific opinions; perhaps they received different legal opinions (there are always lawyers). Either way, those conference leaders, for now, are more comfortable and confident managing the medical and legal risk of playing through a pandemic. And while reports indicated Big Ten presidents were clearly affected by evidence of myocarditis in athletes, those concerns and risks have not impacted the other conferences in the same way. For now. As evidenced by recent announcements of conference-only schedules by the Big Ten and Pac-12, everything is fluid.

Vast Economic Impact

The economic impact of those decisions is sobering, and Big Ten coaches were not shy about hammering home that point. Scott Frost of Nebraska (who played for us in Green Bay) and James Franklin at Penn State (who coached for us in Green Bay) spoke of losses in the neighborhood of $100 million. And those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the economic havoc wreaked by the absence of college football.

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