Football bowl games are the cap to the college football season. Schools winning the games have bragging rights going into the next season. But are there broader impacts, beyond the field, from having a successful college football team? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.
“Well …, this has been a long-term question that’s been analyzed often before by economists and others. We have some fresh analysis from the very prestigious private think tank the National Bureau of Economic Research. This research focuses on the impacts from college football teams of teams that do better than expected during their season.
“And to give you some numbers from the research, what they’ve found is that every what they call unexpected win — it is a college football team win that is unexpected — was associated with an increase in alumni athletic donations of $134,000. So bottom line there is, the team does better than people thought, alumni are going to give more money.
“Also, also each of these unexpected wins was shown to increase applications to the college or university by 1 percent. And … this is very important those applicants had better … SAT scores. So the impact of this goes beyond athletics.
“Also, the researchers speculate that a successful college sports program does increase the alumni attachment to the school and increases the interest of prospective students.
“So more is going on off the football field sometimes than on, with respect to these college ball games.”