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Sports by the Numbers: Big Business in Florida

April 11, 2017 - 6:30pm

Sports is big business in Florida, bringing in over $2 billion in revenue each year. Not surprisingly, our professional sports teams generate the most revenue in sports each year because they benefit not just from ticket sales, but revenue sharing from television.

According to National Football League statistics, the Miami Dolphins generated $322 million in revenue in 2015-16. The Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t far behind with $315 million, followed by the Tampa Bay Bucs with $313 million.

Florida’s professional basketball teams also generate significant revenue with the Miami Heat generating $210 million in 2015-16 followed by the Orlando Magic with $166 million. 
According to Major League Baseball, the Miami Marlins brought in $199 million in revenue in 2015-16 and the Tampa Bay Rays had $193 million for the same year.

College football is also considered big business in Florida. The U.S. Department of Education reports that the University of Florida football program has the top revenue in the state at around $73 million a year followed by Florida State University with $36 million and the University of Miami with around $26 million.  The top six college football programs in Florida generate around $170 million in revenue a year.

See below, professional sports and college football by the numbers in Florida.

There is another all-but-forgotten sport that generates significant revenue in Florida -- greyhound racing.  The amount bet at Florida’s greyhound race tracks -- just on races in 2015-16 -- was $240 million. That doesn’t include bets made at race track cardrooms, which topped $4 billion in the same year, nor does it include the money brought in by slot machines at tracks in South Florida.

According to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, over $1.26 billion has been bet at Florida’s tracks just on greyhound racing in the last five years. If you include revenue from card rooms, slot machines and advanced deposit wagering (which isn’t even legal), the revenue generated by greyhound race tracks in the Sunshine State in the last five years easily exceeds $2 billion.

While it is true that bets on live greyhound races have declined, bets placed just on live races at Florida’s race tracks still totaled $88 million in 2015-16 -- which is more revenue than any college football program in Florida generated in the same year.  When you include all revenue from bets made on greyhound racing, the tracks are bringing in more money each year than any of Florida’s professional baseball, hockey, or basketball teams. Only NFL football teams bring in more.

To be sure, greyhound racing in Florida is still big business. Not only does live racing generate significant revenue, the greyhound racing industry also provides more than 3,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs in our state. Greyhound racing continues to be a popular form of entertainment -- as an example, Trip Advisor ranks the the Daytona Beach track as No. 3 of 122 things to do in Daytona.
In recent years there have been calls to end live greyhound racing in this state. Some have even called it a “dying industry.” However, when you look at the revenue generated by the sport each year, it is clear that greyhound racing continues to be a significant industry in Florida.

Jeff Kottkamp is president of Jeff Kottkamp, PA.  He is the former Chairman of the Florida Sports Foundation and represents the Florida Greyhound Association.     

Professional Sports Revenue in Florida 2015-16 (as reported by the NFL, MLF, NBA and NHL)
1.    Miami Dolphins                 $ 322 million
2.    Jacksonville Jaguars          $ 315 million
3.    Tampa Bay Bucs               $ 313 million
4.    Miami Heat                       $ 210 million
5.    Miami Marlins                  $ 199 million
6.    Tampa Bay Rays              $ 193 million
7.    Orlando Magic                 $ 166 million
8.    Tampa Bay Lightning      $ 127 million
9.    Florida Panthers              $ 100 million    

College Football Revenue in Florida (as reported by U.S. Department of Education)
1.    University of Florida            $ 73 million
2.    Florida State Univesity        $ 36 million
3.    University of Miami             $ 26 million
4.    University of South Fla.       $ 17 million
5.    University of Central Fla.    $ 13 million
6.    Florida Atlantic University  $  7 million 


Worked in the business 21yrs love the sport best athletes greyhounds awesome watch them run keep live racing alive its the best

What about NASCAR?

They said sports, not hobbies.

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