Univ. Of Michigan Football Brand Thriving Under Jim Harbaugh
There are "plenty of signs" that the Univ. of Michigan football brand is "returning to marquee program status with rising revenue, ticket sales and recruiting classes," according to McMann & Kahn of MLIVE.com. While UM coach Jim Harbaugh has "not been an over-the-top success on the field" since taking over the job in '15, he has been a "big winner off the field when it comes to Michigan's financial situation." Since Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor, the football program's "operating revenue has grown" from about $97.1M during his first year to nearly $125M in '17-18. At the same time, the football program is "spending more than ever before under Harbaugh," more than $40M each of the past two years. Part of the reason for the "explosion in revenue" has to do with the Big Ten and its six-year, $2.64B media rights contract agreed to in '16 with ESPN and Fox. Meanwhile, UM football "remains a box office smash," as season ticket sales have remained "strong during Harbaugh's four-year tenure." After sales "dipped below 78,000" in '14, they have "climbed above 87,000 each of the last four seasons." In August, the school announced it had "sold 91,934 this year -- the most during the Harbaugh era." UM football under Harbaugh also "inked its lucrative 11-year apparel deal with Nike" in '15 (MLIVE.com, 9/17).