TCU’s football success rakes in more than victories

Posted Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Here are some numbers you haven’t heard about TCU Horned Frogs football:

• $114 million in new production of goods and services.

• $211 million in total annual Tarrant County spending.

• 1,677 local jobs.

• $20 million annually in state tax revenue and $7 million in regional city and transit taxes.

According to a 2010 study by the Waco-based Perryman Group, that is the value of a Big 12 Conference college football team.

Only four markets in Texas host Big 12 teams. And of the “Texas Four,” only one — TCU — is also in a top-five national media market.

Coming up on Saturday’s kickoff of the Horned Frogs’ second season in the league, both TCU and the Dallas-Fort Worth region are still learning how valuable college football can be.

When coach Gary Patterson’s Horned Frogs play Lousiana State University on Saturday night in the fifth annual ESPN Cowboys Classic, AT&T Stadium and much of Arlington will be filled with purple-clad fans from both teams.

Only standing-room tickets remain, with the price starting at $50 for tickets from resale brokers.

If there were any question whether TCU could fill its share of a larger stadium, that question has been answered.

With an enrollment of about 9,700 students and a total of only about 82,000 alumni worldwide, TCU ranks alongside Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest as one of the very smallest schools automatically eligible for the Bowl Championship Series on Jan. 1-3 and possibly the BCS National Championship Game Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

Yet when Georgia-based Collegiate Licensing Co. added up merchandise sales from last season, TCU ranked 46th in all of college football and fourth in Texas, trailing only state giants Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

TCU’s sales neared those for Mississippi (“Ole Miss”) and Maryland, and the Horned Frogs outsold much larger schools such as Virginia and Colorado.

Once mostly a regional private school — only five years ago, nearly three-fourths of freshmen were Texans — TCU is now a nationally known university. About 55 percent of incoming freshmen come from another state, according to TCU360.com.

That means more airline passengers, more out-of-town guests and more tourist dollars when those students celebrate with relatives and return as alumni. And that means a broader TV audience for TCU games.

Almost unnoticed is that Yahoo Sports named remodeled Amon G. Carter Stadium the best in the Big 12, and USA Today has declared the new “spit blood” helmets — mimicking a horned lizard — as the nation’s “coolest.”

Behind all that TCU purple is a lot of green. The Horned Frogs have come a long way in a short time.

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