Tennessee is 9th ‘most valuable’ team in college football, according to Forbes

dave-hart-kns.JPGKNOXVILLE, Tennessee Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart and new coach Butch Jones talk frequently of the importance of the Vols’ football “brand.”

Even former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer, when I spoke to him earlier this month at his Hall of Fame induction, spoke of the importance of rebuilding Tennessee’s iconic national brand in college football.

“We have built a brand at Tennessee that we lost, but we can get back,” Fulmer said.

Despite five years of mediocre football, the road may not be as long as some think.

Forbes.com today identified Tennessee’s as the ninth-most “valuable” team in college football. The methodology is explained here, but the essential idea is valuing programs as you might do a professional team, by estimating revenue from TV, ticket sales, advertising, merchandising and such.

UPDATE: A closer reading of the methodology indicates pro franchise value might not be the best comparison. Forbes said its methodology weighs four categories — value to the university (football profit contributed to academic programming), value to the athletic department (football profit that supports other sports), value to its conference (bowl game revenue) and value to the community (visitors attending home games).

Value isn’t synonymous with “brand,” of course, but it’s a solid indicator.

Here are the top 10 teams in the survey. The SEC, of course, is well represented. Click the link for the full report.

1. Texas Longhorns
2. Michigan Wolverines
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
4. LSU Tigers
5. Georgia Bulldogs
6. Alabama Crimson Tide
7. Florida Gators
8. Auburn Tigers
9. Tennessee Volunteers
10. Arkansas Razorbacks

Tennessee did not make the other Forbes.com lists released today, including Best Teams for the Money, Worst Teams for the Money and Most Powerful Coaches.

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