The Business of Pitt Athletics

The largest revenue opportunity in college sports comes from deals with successful TV sport channels such as ESPN, CBS Sports, etc. With broadcasting deals paying out hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of dollars, it’s important for colleges and conferences to calculate the best long-term offer and redistribution of the money they gain. Investing time and money into recruiting athletes, facilities, scholarships, and more for the sports that earn a large amount of revenue is a good business opportunity for colleges as well since universities tend to gain more money from high-revenue sports than they put in. It also creates a tremendous branding opportunity for the school which will help attract the best and brightest students and researchers in the country.

The greatest business threat for college sports appears to be the amount of access a college has to the best leagues for certain sports. Colleges with football teams in leagues such as the ones in the Power Five have a business advantage over other colleges. Being a part of one of the Power Five conferences helps increase a college’s athletic revenue, recruitment, and successful marketing. However, if a college’s revenue-earning sports do not have the legacy and opportunity of being a part of a good college sports league, they are at a huge competitive disadvantage. Not having access to the best college sports leagues decreases the possibility of ticket profit, marketing success, recruitment, and more.

As a Global Management major, I would be able to help Pitt Athletics with its business strategy involving recruitment abroad. If Pitt has certain sports that do not currently recruit international students, I would be able to help develop a business plan and help manage certain regulations and policies. Another area I could help develop is the broadcasting of high-revenue sports internationally to help marketing for recruitment.  Though it would require further investigation and analysis, I could also help leave no stone unturned in the search for additional incremental revenue opportunities for Pitt athletics content, especially in the digital content arena. New incremental revenue opportunities exist in streaming, social media, gaming, crypto/NFTs, and licensing and I would be excited to identify some of these opportunities.