College Sports

Here's one significant area in which Louisville trails Kentucky

Kentucky ranks in the top 20 in the latest USA Today study of college sports revenue. UK head coach John Calipari is shown answering questions during the Southeastern Conference college basketball media day in Nashville last year.
Kentucky ranks in the top 20 in the latest USA Today study of college sports revenue. UK head coach John Calipari is shown answering questions during the Southeastern Conference college basketball media day in Nashville last year. AP Photo

The rivalry between Kentucky's and Louisville's college sports teams has its ebbs and flows, but when it comes to the revenue generated by those sports, the Wildcats come out on top in the latest analysis released Thursday by USA Today.

Kentucky brought in $130,706,744, ranking it the 17th highest grossing program among 230 schools studied for the report. That ranks UK five spots ahead of Louisville with its $120,445,300 in revenue.

Kentucky ranks ninth in revenue among 13 Southeastern Conference schools, while Louisville ranks second in the Atlantic Coast Conference behind only Florida State. Vanderbilt is not included in the report because it is a private school that does not have to make revenue disclosures.

The statistics reported cover 2016-17, the latest years in which data is available.

Texas A&M's astounding $211,960,034 ranks second behind in-state rival Texas' $214,830,647.

Part of the gap between Kentucky and Louisville can be attributed to the SEC's lucrative television contracts that include the SEC Network. A report Tuesday by the DailyPress.com's David Teel outlined the financial discrepancy between ACC and SEC schools that the ACC looks to bridge with the launch of its own television network in August 2019.

The Big Ten, which in recent years landed massive TV deals with ESPN and Fox in addition to creating its own network, recently announced an average television revenue distribution to its members of $51 million each. Compare that to the SEC's average distribution of $40.9 million and it becomes clear why SEC and Big Ten schools occupy 15 of the top 20 spots in the USA Today analysis.

The ACC's average TV revenue distribution in 2016-17 was $26.6 million, as reported by DailyPress.com.

Oklahoma was the only other Big 12 school in the top 25 with a reported $155,238,481 in revenue, ranking it No. 7. Oregon was the highest grossing Pac-12 school with $145,417,315 at No. 12.

Kentucky is shown with expenses of $125,333,866, while Louisville spent $118,383,769, according to the report.

UK players and coaches met with fans during stops in a train ride that took them from Frankfort, through Midway and on to Lexington.

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