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Brandon's remarks at 'Sport and the Economy' symposium

By Tim Rohan, Daily Sports Editor
Published November 21, 2011

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon spoke in front of a few hundred students at the Ross School of Business last Monday, Nov. 14, as apart of Phi Chi Theta's "Sport and the Economy" symposium. Brandon discussed many topics, of which included specific finances involving Michigan's big three sports — football, men's basketball and hockey.

He also touched on the conference shakeup in college football, the financial viability of lacrosse as a sport and future plans he has to utilize the Big House outside of football games.

The Michigan Daily wrote a story covering the event: here

Here's a portion of Brandon's remarks:

ON REVENUES: “Our revenue’s this year will be about 125 million dollars, and we spend it all. We’re a not for profit. We don’t distribute out dividends or declare profits. We basically take whatever surpluses we can generate and we re-invest them in a variety of ways to the benefit of our student athletes, our coaches and our department.”

ON FACILITIES: “We manage what is likely billions of dollars in facilities. … Those are all buildings that we have built, have raised the money or borrow the money to build. Have maintained and we operationalize for the purposes of our program.

“We invest a tremendous amount of capital. These facilities are extremely important. … When we recruit student athletes at the University of Michigan, they’re very focused on the competitiveness of the facilities that we offer. So when you look at the project that we completed last year, which was a $226 million investment in Michigan Stadium. When you look at the current, we’re two-thirds through a $97 million investment in Crisler Arena. As soon as the hockey season ends, we’re going to put a $14 million into Yost Arena. You may have seen those rather small video boards we put up in the Big House, that video board project for Michigan Stadium and Yost and Crisler was about $18 million. There’s a tremendous amount of requirements for capital investment to keep your program competitive — both for your fans and for your student athletes and coaches.

ON ECONOMIC IMPACT: "If you think about Michigan athletics as an economic engine, it’s pretty big, it’s pretty widespread, and we’ve got a lot of people going a lot of places doing a lot of things and generating a lot of economic benefit. But what I’d like to do is focus on Michigan football, because Michigan football represents about two-thirds of the $125 million we will generate this year.

“Depending on the schedule, we have about seven or eight home football games a year, and studies have shown the estimated economic development impact of one Michigan football game is about $15 million. So when you multiply $15 million by either seven or eight, that’s the annual economic impact of that football (team).
“So you may walk over to the stadium and get your very attractively priced student ticket and sit there and maybe not buy any of those really expensive sandwiches. But what you need to know is, when we host one of those football games, the economic impact of that is really quite expensive.

If you just think about the air travel. … If you’ve ever tried to get a hotel room within a 30 mile radius of this place when we have 114,000 people coming to the football game, it’s really pretty amazing. Then you add up the parking, the sponsorships, the food, the tickets, … the bars.”

ON BENCHMARKING AGAINST OTHER SCHOOLS: “(The 120 FBS schools) would be the program’s that we would benchmark and compare ourselves against because they offer 85 full scholarships, as we do. They basically operate as the biggest and largest programs for football in the country.

“So like last year, when our defense was ranked 109th out of 120, that’s my frame of reference in terms of benchmarking.”

ON TELEVSION POPULARITY: The American public has an insatiable appetite for football on television. Saturday afternoon isn’t enough, you need Saturday night. Saturday night isn’t enough, you need Friday night. Friday night isn’t enough, you need Thursday night.