Let’s start this post off by saying that, even with the numbers in front of us, it’s impossible to say with any sort of confidence what they mean. Schools count their beans in different ways. Do student fees account for general athletics department funds from which each sport then siphons, or is each sport given a proportional amount? How about donations?
So, yes, without a detailed explanation from each school, it’s hard to draw sweeping conclusions on just how much Mountain West football programs make and spend.
That said, we can still draw one overarching conclusion: Boise State is the absolute (revenue) king of the Mountain West. The Broncos reported just north of $23 million in football revenues during fiscal year 2015 and nearly $7 million in profit, numbers that dwarf the reported numbers from the rest of the conference.
Repeating the caveat that these reporting philosophies vary from school to school, here’s the full list of MW football revenues, as compiled by Matt Stephens of the Coloradoan.
1. Boise State – $23.2 million
2. Fresno State – $12.6 million
3. San Diego State – $12 million
4. Wyoming – $10.5 million
5. Air Force – $9.2 million
6. Nevada – $7.84 million
7. Hawaii – $7.8 million
8. Utah State – $6.1 million
9. San Jose State – $5.7 million
10. UNLV – $5.5 million
11. Colorado State – $5.46 million
12. New Mexico – $3.1 million
With twice as much revenue as their next closest competitor and seven times as much as the most revenue-challenged program, it’s fair to say that a season that ends with anyone other than Boise State winning the Mountain West means something went wrong in Boise.