Move over UK. The new #1 in basketball is right here in Louisville.
Though only ranked 17th in the current AP poll, the Louisville Cardinals have been named the #1 “Most Valuable Team” in basketball by Forbes Magazine.
UofL overtook North Carolina for top billing with a total value of $36.1 million in basketball revenue. The major factor behind the ranking – more than $20 million in contributions (much of which is related to luxury seating) to the Cards’ team tacked onto ticket sales of $1.4 million and an additional $1 million from concessions, parking and programs sales at the KFC Yum! Center.
Since the Yum! Center opened in October of 2010, the NBA-esque arena has contributed to a 39 percent growth in Louisville basketball’s value over the last two years. It even landed UofL in the same boat as Kentucky and Syracuse as one of the top three teams to average more than 20,000 fans per home game last season.
Louisville won the most valuable honor based on three factors: the university (it’s basketball scholarships and academic contributions); the athletic department (its net profit used to support the athletic programs); and conference (payouts from success in the NCAA tournament).
Add that feat onto their recent Big East Championship, and I’d say that’s evidence the Cards are heading in the right direction.
Here’s hoping the new #1 in value is the next #1 named on April 2 in New Orleans, too.