In this section, the market of each team will be evaluated. This is important for NIL/advertising deals, potential viewership of games and overall prestige of a program (to an extent)
The Cougars are located in Provo, Utah. While Provo itself is in many ways a college town, the surrounding area of Utah Valley has well over 600,000 residents. The Cougars are also in a unique situation because of the affiliation with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While many believe that BYU fans travel well, in reality most of the fans that attend away games are part of the annual +/- 6500 alumni that graduate and move out of Utah annually, not to mention tens of thousands of others who are fans because of the church. Provo also has claim to the No. 1 growing business economy in the U.S.
Baylor is located in Waco, Texas about 40 miles south of Dallas. Waco has a population of about 110,000, again many of which are college students. Baylor is in a tough spot because TCU is in the Dallas area, Texas is south about 60 miles, and Houston is southeast about 150 miles. In other words, it will be tough for Baylor to score big NIL deals with any of the large markets around due to other teams being there as well.
Iowa State is in Ames, Iowa, however is only about 30 miles north of Des Moines. The population of the region hovers around 300,000. It also helps that Iowa has no professional leagues of any kind meaning most businesses and sports fans who want to support a team will likely turn Iowa State.
The University of Kansas resides in Lawrence, KS, only ten miles west of Kansas City and 15 miles east of Topeka. While Lawrence has less than 100,000 residents, Kansas City and Topeka bring up the regional population too close to 700,000. Kansas City is unique however because it is technically mostly in Missouri and they do have the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas definitely has the potential to be a great market, as they have proven in basketball, but it will take work, and wins.
Manhattan, population 55,000. Yeah, not good. Topeka is about 55 miles east of Kansas State University meaning Manhattan is kind of alone. Not much to get into here, this place isn’t good for the market.
Stillwater, Oklahoma also only has about 50,000 residents, however is only about 30 miles north of Oklahoma City which has a population of 650,000. The problem is that Norman is part of Oklahoma City, albeit on the southern tip, so you’ve got to take away probably 70% of the potential fan base. Stillwater is much closer to Tulsa that OU, however is still 50 miles away. There is opportunity and a market for Oklahoma State, they just aren’t quite in the right location for it to be optimal.
Texas is really big, but Lubbock Texas is not. While the 250,000 population sounds great, it is essentially Lubbock and then nothing else for 200+ miles. While that many people is still better than many of the other markets in the Big 12, the market potential is very limited. Texas Tech could win a national championship but that won’t draw in many NIL deals from other parts of the state, unlike a team like OSU who potentially could tap more into the Oklahoma City market.
It’s Dallas right? Well, technically it’s Fort Worth but yes, it is Dallas. Dallas brings with it a huge population 7.5 million in the area. The one negative is that Dallas is all about the Dallas Cowboys and TCU is a private Christian School. Again with 7.5 million residents and one of the biggest booming economies in the U.S, TCU is doing just fine in this category.
Morgantown, West Virginia has a population of only 33,000 and is 50 miles south of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. While WVU is closer to Pittsburg than Penn State, considering it is out of state probably makes the market nearly nonexistent. West Virginia does have the entire state to itself in the major college football world, but with a declining population and no major businesses to promote, West Virginia’s market is not great.
Power Rankings of Markets
- Oklahoma State
- Iowa State
- Texas Tech
- West Virginia
- Kansas State
Prior to researching each individual school, I thought that most, if not all of the schools would have markets around 250,000. Instead, some of the markets would be at the bottom of the list in the Mountain West Conference. BYU Football’s brand would instantly become one of the biggest brands in the Big 12 and honestly, so would Boise State if they were to join (226,000).