Louisville Is Once Again College Basketball's Most Valuable Program

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

And once again, it's not all that close.

The most remarkable thing about Louisville's sustained reign atop the financial world of college hoops is that it actually increased in value by $2.4 million from last year to this one. This also happening at a time when it appears even more money is just around the bend.

And the financial impact is a lasting one. Contributions to the team are still up, reaching $20.4 million last year, as is revenue from concessions and parking. Ticket revenue was down slightly, but Louisville played one fewer home game and has little reason to worry about the future - the Cardinals have ranked third in average home game attendance every year since the arena opened.

Louisville is also on a path to even greater riches. The Cardinals are moving to the ACC in 2014 and will cash in on the conference's new TV deal with ESPN that pays about $17 million per school annually, a massive increase from the $3 million or so that Louisville is used to getting in the Big East.

There was very little turnover in the top ranks of college basketball's most valuable teams. Just like last year, Kansas (now worth $32.9 million), North Carolina ($32.8 million) and Kentucky ($32.1 million) sit just behind Louisville. Kansas jumped North Carolina for the No. 2 spot and Kentucky is up from No. 5 last year, but the three teams are in an incredibly tight race and blowing away the rest of the field. In fact, the three basketball teams each had a profit of $19.9 million last season; only five other schools generated as much in basketball revenue.

These are the good times.

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