Local News
12:33 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Louisville Cardinals Are College Basketball's 'Most Valuable' Team, Forbes Says

Rick Pitino
Credit Shutterstock.com

The Louisville Cardinals are the "most valuable" team in men's college basketball with a worth of $38.5 million, according to an analysis by Forbes.

The Cards held the honor last year, too, with a worth of $36.1 million.

It's been a good March already for U of L. Rick Pitino's team won its final Big East Conference Tournament and  are the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

On Monday, Tom Jurich was named one of five finalists for the Athletic Director of the Year Award given by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. (You can stretch the "good March" to a "good several months," considering the football team's Sugar Bowl victory and the impending move to the Atlantic Coast Conference, too.)

Forbes' Chris Smith (not the member of last year's Cards team) writes: 

The team’s financial success is largely tied to the KFC Yum! Center, the waterfront arena that opened in 2010. The new arena had an immediate impact, driving ticket sales up 28% to $14.2 million and generating over $20 million in contributions to the team, an 84% increase from the prior year. Income from program sales, concessions, parking and other sources also increased by more than $2 million.

 The KFC Yum! Center's financial stability is a local concern, of course. And professional basketball proponents cite U of L's lease as a significant obstacle to Louisville ever attracting an NBA franchise.

In the Forbes ranking, the Kansas Jayhawks were ranked No. 2 with a worth of $32.9 million and the North Carolina Tar Heels were ranked No. 3 with a worth of $32.8 million. 

The Kentucky Wildcats—the defending national champions—were ranked No. 4 with a worth of $32.1 million and the Indiana Hoosiers were ranked No. 6 with a worth of $21.8 million.

(Image via Shutterstock.)