Contributions to major college athletics programs have continued to grow during the economic downturn, largely because fans must give to hang on to prime season tickets, according to Bloomberg.
The 54 public colleges in the six major conferences—Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern—raised $998-million for their sports programs in fiscal 2010, up 24 percent from 2007's $805-million. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 19.5 percent in the same period.
University of Florida fans, who must donate $2,450 above the $259 seat cost to secure a football-season ticket on the 50-yard line, “are making cuts in other areas of their lives to hold onto their Gator tickets,” said Doug Brown of Gator Boosters.
Florida, with $39.4-million in donations, was one of the top five institutions in sports fund raising last year, along with the University of Oregon ($73.8-million), Oklahoma State University ($51.9-million), Louisiana State University ($38.3-million) and the University of Texas ($37.1-million).