Deion Sanders & Co. Face $5 Million Reality Check Despite Racking Up Millions of Dollars in Revenue

Published 02/24/2024, 11:40 AM EST

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The Deion Sanders Effect. It’s a phrase that describes how personal branding can go a long way in helping boost a team and its operations. As the phrase suggests, few – if any – do it better than Coach Prime. From being one of the most versatile athletes ever to being a game changer at Jackson State University and doing the same at Colorado, he’s benefitted from every collaboration. Now, after adding ‘Professor Prime’ to his resume, he’s inspiring an entire generation to follow. However, despite guiding the team to unprecedented financial heights, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

As reported by BuffZone.com“The University of Colorado athletic department operated at a loss of $9,896,846 for the 2023 fiscal year. Per numbers provided by CU, athletic department expenses in FY23 totaled roughly $127 million, and revenue was just over $117.1 million.” That’s a $9.9 million deficit CU recorded. As per CU’s Cory Hilliard, the university found out about the Pac-12 distribution decrease pretty late. That, coupled with the changes to the coaching staff, led to the deficit. But Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes have softened the blow a little.

After Sanders completed his first tenure as the Colorado Buffaloes’ head coach, the team’s multimedia rights revenue (MMR) skyrocketed by a staggering 51%, making history. The Buffs finished the season with a modest 4-8 record. Coach Prime spent little time implementing a comprehensive roster that included the addition of his son, Shedeur Sanders, as the starting quarterback. They also recorded sold-out and most-viewed games in the season, which drove television ratings to new heights.

Projections have indicated a remarkable $8.3 million in the 2023 fiscal year. This depicts a significant increase from last season’s $5.5 million, as reported by Sportico. Managed by sports marketing company Learfield, the surge in revenue is a cause for celebration for the firm. And it holds significant implications for Colorado under their existing agreement.

Per the contract, the university gains 60% of the initial $5 million adjusted gross revenue (AGR) and a higher 65% share for revenues exceeding this threshold. With total AGR reaching $7.2 million in fiscal 2024, Colorado is set to receive an estimated $4.5 million, a substantial increase compared to the previous year’s earnings. However, given the university’s $9.9 million deficit in 2023, Deion Sanders & Co.’s $4.5 million contribution will fall short of breaking even by $5.4 million.

Despite the $5 million deficit, this financial windfall underscores the transformative effect of Sanders’ presence, positioning Colorado as a formidable force in collegiate athletics. And the best part for the university is that there’s more to come.

The future of Deion Sanders and Colorado

Colorado will enjoy sustained financial prosperity as their contract with Learfield is set to last at least another decade. Deion Sanders’ influence also extends beyond the football field. The university is still to unveil its 2023-24 revenue and expense figures. But it is expected that there will be upticks in football ($13 million in fiscal 2023) and athletic donations ($29.3 million in fiscal 2023).

Sanders’ philosophy, characterized by his resilience, continues to resonate with the team’s fans. The Buffaloes’ corporate partners include Nextiva, FNBO, Elevations Credit Union, the Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Aflac—which also uses Sanders in multiple national ad campaigns. As fans brace themselves for another season of Sanders and Colorado, hopes are high for improved performance in the program.

Continue Reading: Deion Sanders & Colorado Slapped With Brutal Reality Check as Prime Program Fails to Fire Playoff Contention


Written by:

Rajveer Gupta


One take at a time

Rajveer Gupta is an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. As a college football beat writer and a soccer athlete himself, Rajveer covers every angle related to the Colorado Buffaloes with an in-depth analysis of their training and playing style. His unique blend of expertise and relatability sets him apart in sports journalism.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav