College basketball is big business. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Even in a season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, major Division I college basketball programs raked in huge revenues. Each of the 20 programs on this list amassed more than $18 million in revenue.
Men’s basketball: $16,890,955
Women’s basketball: $1,282,435
The Wildcats won the men’s national championship in 1997 under Lute Olson and look like a contender again this season. The women’s team reached the title game last season.
Men’s basketball: $12,557,097
Women’s basketball: $5,718,195
The Horned Frogs have a money-making program despite never advancing beyond the Elite Eight in men’s basketball and not reaching the women’s tournament since 2010.
Men’s basketball: $14,153,038
Women’s basketball: $4,689,199
The true definition of a mid-major power, the Zags have been NCAA Tournament stalwarts since 1999. The men’s program has advanced to two national title games, and the women’s program is on the rise.
17. Florida State
Men’s basketball: $13,061,862
Women’s basketball: $6,035,984
The FSU men have not reached the Final Four since 1972, when they lost in the national championship game. They had advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of the past three years before missing the tournament this season. The women have been perennial participants in the NCAA Tournament over the last two decades.
Men’s basketball: $18,727,503
Women’s basketball: $625,151
The Razorbacks won the men’s national championship in 1994 and nearly repeated in 1995, falling short in the title game. Arkansas has six Final Four appearances.
Men’s basketball: $17,156,399
Women’s basketball: $2,865,169
The Wildcats have three national titles in men’s basketball, including one of the great upsets in NCAA Tournament history when No. 8 Villanova beat Georgetown in 1985.
From Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams: The Richest Women in Sports
Men’s basketball: $16,899,391
Women’s basketball: $3,184,798
The Volunteers men’s program reached the Elite Eight in 2010, but Tennessee is known for the women’s program, which won eight national championships under legendary coach Pat Summitt.
Men’s basketball: $14,072,415
Women’s basketball: $6,034,138
The Commodores men’s program reached the Elite Eight in 1965 and have six other Sweet 16 appearances. The Vandy women have been even better, reaching the Sweet 16 a total of 15 times, the Elite Eight five times and the Final Four once.
12. Michigan State
Men’s basketball: $20,211,332
Women’s basketball: $77,137
The Spartans’ men’s basketball program has been a consistent title contender since the 2000s and won national championships in 1979 and 2000. Michigan State has 10 Final Four appearances. The women’s program, which reached the NCAA championship game in 2005, has the lowest revenue number on this list.
Baseball Season: What Is Miguel Cabrera’s Net Worth?
Men’s basketball: $19,453,045
Women’s basketball: $984,485
The Badgers won the men’s national title in 1941 and finished as runners-up in 2015. They have been to two other Final Fours and 10 Sweet 16s in all. The Wisconsin women have not had near the success — their last tournament win coming in 1996.
Men’s basketball: $15,155,248
Women’s basketball: $6,513,061
Despite not winning a national championship, the Purdue men have been a consistent NCAA Tournament team. They have reached two Final Fours and amassed 24 Big Ten championships. The women own the school’s lone tournament title, in 1999, and make the most money among the 20 women’s programs listed here.
Men’s basketball: $21,483,602
Women’s basketball: $715,762
Another Big Ten power, the Illini men have five Final Fours, including a runner-up finish in 2005. The women have just two Sweet 16s, the last in 1998.
Nothing But Net: How Much Is Coach Shaka Smart Worth?
8. Ohio State
Men’s basketball: $22,020,260
Women’s basketball: $790,523
The Buckeyes’ athletic department is a money-making machine, consistently ranking in the top three in overall revenue. The basketball program is a big part of that, with 11 Final Four appearances and a 1960 national championship for the men. The women were runners-up in 1993.
Men’s basketball: $19,732,396
Women’s basketball: $3,746,680
Marquette is the one of the few programs on this list where the basketball program doesn’t compete with football for athletic funding. Marquette won the national championship in 1977. The women’s program also contributes a surprisingly large amount to the overall revenue.
Men’s basketball: $22,665,104
Women’s basketball: $1,767,660
Under longtime coach Jim Boeheim, the Orange have reached six Final Fours, and they won a national championship in 2003. The women were runners-up in 2016.
Men’s basketball: $25,140,266
Women’s basketball: $362,496
The university in the state most synonymous with basketball (perhaps you’ve seen a movie called “Hoosiers”?), Indiana has five men’s national championships. The women made their first Elite Eight in 2021.
4. North Carolina
Men’s basketball: $26,230,915
Women’s basketball: $925,571
With six men’s national championships from 1957 to 2017, the Tar Heels have been a longtime college basketball powerhouse — and it shows in the revenue the program rakes in. The women have been to three Final Fours, winning it all in 1994.
Men’s basketball: $29,307,070
Women’s basketball: $426,694
The Wildcats have eight men’s national championships, and the men’s program seems to be a constant contender under coach John Calipari. The women have been to four Elite Eights.
Total revenue: $37,244,192
Men’s basketball: $33,382,496
Women’s basketball: $3,861,246
With nearly $8 million more in revenue than Kentucky, the Blue Devils’ program is a revenue powerhouse. Duke has five men’s national titles, all under coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is retiring after the season. The Duke women have been to four Final Fours.
Total revenue: $42,177,260
Men’s basketball: $40,684,042
Women’s basketball: $1,493,218
The runaway revenue winner is Louisville. The Cardinals men’s program has three national championships and 10 Final Four appearances. The women have two runner-up finishes.
More From GOBankingRates
- 9 Costco Brand Items That Aren't Worth the Money
- 9 Safest Places To Retire Abroad for Less Than $2,000 a Month
- 5 Things You Must Do When Your Savings Reach $50,000
- 10 Credit Score Myths You Should Stop Believing
For this piece GOBankingRates used the United States Department of Education’s “Equity in Athletics Data Analysis” (EADA) dataset to find (1) total basketball revenues; (2) men’s basketball revenues; and (3) women’s basketball revenues for all NCAA Division I schools all in FY19-20 data (the most recent available). All data was collected on and up to date as of February 24, 2022.