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Iowa vs. Iowa State football: Which team pulls in more profit for the school

You might think your team is successful on the field, but how well do they do financially? Jon Ketz tells us which team wins when it comes to making money.

IOWA CITY, Iowa-- People flock to Kinnick or Jack Trice Stadium on Saturdays in the fall.

"When we have 65,000 (to) 70,000 people, visit the Iowa City area for games in Kinnick Stadium or 15,000 in Carver Hawkeye Arena, (athletics) is very visible," Assistant Athletic Director of Communications at the University of Iowa, Steve Roe said in August of this year. "It brings out-of-town people from across the state and around the Midwest to Iowa City, so it shows off not only the athletics but the academics, our total campus, the community, the downtown area."

Iowa, a member of the Big Ten Conference, made $42.9 million off its football team in fiscal year 2018. That helped the department make nearly $7 million that year. To see the full report from a Freedom of Information Act request, click here. 

"I think it goes a long way back to the '50s and '60s when Iowa football wasn't as successful," explained Roe, "but because of the support of the fans, Iowa was always known for having great attendance and great numbers at Kinnick Stadium, and then when Coach Hayden Fry came in in '79 and then coach Kirk Ferentz came 20 years later, that only continued to grow."

The numbers compared to Iowa's in-state rival, out of the Big 12 Conference, are noticeably different. In fiscal year 2018, Iowa State's football program made $20.4 million, netting a total profit of $84,000. Leaders at Iowa State wouldn't comment on the difference, but Roe says the financial support the university gets from its fans, is huge. To see the full report from a Freedom of Information Act request, click here. 

"We have 24 overall men's and women's programs and only two of them turn a profit, football and men's basketball," Roe said. "There are a lot of bills to pay, and we're fortunate that with ticket revenue, donations, and the media contracts with the Big Ten Conference, we're able to have a successful budget."

On media rights alone, Iowa's football program made nearly $38 million in revenue in fiscal year 2018, Iowa State made just $18.2 million. It's important to note, both athletic departments are self sustaining, meaning they don't taken any money from the State of Iowa.

Roe says, "an estimated $24 million from the athletic budget is transferred to the University of Iowa annually for a variety of expenses, including but not limited to: student-athlete scholarships ($10.5 million), facility costs ($4.5 million), game day services ($2 million), university administrative services ($2 million), support of University strategic initiatives ($2 million), medical ($1.5 million), and other miscellaneous areas ($1.5 million)."

Iowa takes on Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 14. College Gameday will be there.


How do both of these schools compare to the University of Illinois?

Illinois made $28.5 million off its football program in fiscal year 2018. The athletic department as a whole netted a profit of $6.4 million. The football program made $29.6 million off of media rights that year as well. To see the full report from a Freedom of Information Act request, click here.