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75% of America’s Olympic athletes attended an NCAA college. Stanford was as successful as Denmark in the Tokyo games. This is all made possible by long Saturdays drinking beer on the couch. Let’s explain how.

While the Olympics have come and gone, the events that enable the USA to field such a dominant team every year are just getting started. I’m talking about college football. Let me walk you through this seemingly weird connection. After all, American football isn’t played at the Olympics.

The US dominated the summer games, totalling a leading 113 medals between 626 athletes. What did these athletes have in common? 75% attended an NCAA college. Stanford, USC, UCLA, LSU, Notre Dame; these institutions were more successful individually than most small countries. Stanford won as many medals as Denmark with 12 each. 

Let’s take this a step further, why can the US-run such sophisticated programs for sports that aren’t televised outside the Olympics? High tuition fees are only part of it, in reality, it all comes back to grown adults drinking beer and watching football all Saturday long come winter. College football is the major funding driver for college sports.

The University of Texas’s athletic program generated US$180m in 2017. 70% of that came from football. Football brings in an average of US$31m per school. Swimming, rowing and athletics bring in a combined US$2.5m on average. Football heavily subsidies the existence of such sports and in turn, helps produce the spectacles we are privileged to witness every four years.

On that note, only in the last few months have athletes been given a slice of the pie. Historically college athletes were disallowed from making any money from their name. Generational talents like Trevor Lawrence were an injury away from never making a dollar despite generating millions for the school. That changed in June in a monumental decision to overturn the status quo. 

One to finish: mind-blowingly, 40/51 of the highest-paid public servants in each US state were either football or basketball coaches (based on slightly dated data from 2013).


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Stakeshop Pty Ltd, trading as Stake, ACN 610105505, is an authorised representative (Authorised Representative No. 1241398) of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Ltd (Australian Financial Services Licence No. 337927) ('Sanlam') and an authorised representative (Authorised Representative No. 1241398) of Airwallex Pty Ltd (Australian Financial Services Licence No. 487221) ('Airwallex'). Stake is not authorised by Airwallex under Airwallex’s AFSL to arrange for clients to be issued with securities as Airwallex is not authorised under its AFSL for this purpose. Stake is not authorised by Sanlam under Sanlam’s AFSL to arrange for clients to be issued with a non-cash payment facility as Sanlam is not authorised under its AFSL for this purpose. Stake SMSF Pty Ltd (‘Stake Super’) is not licensed to provide financial product advice under the Corporations Act. This specifically applies to any financial products which are established if you instruct Stake Super to set up a self managed super fund (‘SMSF’). When you sign up to Stake Super, you are contracting with Stake SMSF Pty Ltd who will assist in the establishment of a SMSF under a ‘no advice model’. You will also be referred to Stakeshop Pty Ltd to enable your trading account and bank account to be set up in order to use the Stake Website and/or App. Stakeshop Pty Ltd will also run marketing and promotions to you under. For more information about SMSFs, see our SMSF Risks page.The information on our website or our mobile application is not intended to be an inducement, offer or solicitation to anyone in any jurisdiction in which Stake is not regulated or able to market its services. At Stake and Stake Super, we’re focused on giving you a better investing experience but we don’t take into account your personal objectives, circumstances or financial needs. Any advice given by Stake is of a general nature only. As investments carry risk, before making any investment decision, please consider if it’s right for you and seek appropriate taxation and legal advice. Please view our Financial Services GuideTerms & ConditionsPrivacy Policy and Disclaimers  before deciding to invest on or use Stake or Stake Super. By using our website or service in any way, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions. All financial products involve risk and you should ensure you understand the risks involved as certain financial products may not be suitable to everyone. Past performance of any product described on this website is not a reliable indication of future performance. Stake and Stake Super are registered trademarks in Australia.

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