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Maestas: Expanded playoff would generate millions annually for the schools, increase audience and solve controversies

Navigate Research - Friday, December 06, 2019
Expanded playoff would generate millions annually for the schools, increase audience and solve controversies
Push the championship game back into January to avoid conflicts with the NFL

*** AJ Maestas, founder and CEO of Navigate Research, a leading data and analytics firm, has agreed to write a regular column for the Hotline on the business and economics of college sports. His November article on declining attendance in college football can be found here.
Having worked in the sports industry for over 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to see and experience some of the greatest sporting events across the globe. From witnessing the World Cup games in Russia and Brazil to watching the final stages of the Iditarod and Yukon Quest in Alaska, I’ve become a fan of almost every sport.

However, nothing compares to watching my Washington Huskies play football every Saturday in the fall. There’s something about being an alumnus — being part of a community, creating new memories and remembering old memories — that will always solidify college football as my favorite sport.

As excited as I am about college football moving away from the two-team Bowl Championship Series system to the new four-team College Football Playoff, I can’t help but think about the benefits of expanding the CFP even more.

There are 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which is the largest collection of teams or set of competitors in any league in the world by a multiple of four. With only four of those teams getting into the playoff (three percent), that’s an extremely large league with an extremely small playoff. 

As a result, some conferences know they don’t have the strength-of-schedule or level of competition to ever make the playoff. Group of Five administrations, players and fans can only dream about the possibility of winning a national championship.

While the benefits of inclusion would be tremendous, expansion still isn’t an easy decision. There are many factors to weigh and many stakeholders to consider before moving forward.

To dive into this topic with true expert knowledge, data and projections, I turned to Navigate’s Senior Vice President of Analytics, Matt Balvanz.

Balvanz has been leading our secondary research division for over 10 years, developing cutting-edge analysis methodologies and focusing on sponsorship valuation of naming rights deals, sponsorship category research, media-rights and apparel rights analysis, conference realignment and more.


Before jumping into the current CFP format, it’s important to compare the postseason structure against other popular U.S. and global sports leagues.

For example, in domestic professional leagues, 30-to-50 percent of teams make the playoffs, which keeps all stakeholders excited about the potential of winning a championship for a much greater part of the season than is the case in major college football.

International soccer leagues like the UEFA Champions League and Premier League offer 20-32 teams the opportunity to win championships using various point systems, group stage round-robin competitions and single-elimination tournaments.

The National Rugby League’s playoffs (Australia) include eight of its 16 teams.

Without question, the CFP is more exclusive than any other league in the world.

Whether under the BCS model or in the era of the CFP, several worthy teams have been excluded due to the limited berths available in the tournament.
Below is a quick sample of the most controversial selections:
  • 2004 – Auburn finished the year 12-0 but was not selected to be in the BCS national championship game, which instead featured USC (13-0) and Oklahoma (12-1).
  • 2011 – Alabama didn’t win the SEC but was selected to play LSU in the championship instead of an 11-1 Oklahoma State team that won the Big 12. In the end, the rematch between LSU and Alabama was not a competitive game (Alabama won 21-0), but many critics believe the result was the nail in the coffin for the BCS.
  • 2014 – Ohio State was selected for the CFP ahead of TCU and Baylor. All three were one-loss teams at the time; there was no clear-cut reason for selecting Ohio State given schedules and results.
  • 2016 – The Buckeyes were again selected for the CFP. They were not a conference champion and ended up losing in the semifinal to Clemson (31-0). This was the year Group of Five member Western Michigan finished the regular season 13-0 and was still excluded from the CFP.
  • 2017 – Alabama made the semifinals without winning the SEC, and the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions were not selected.

There are several routes college football could take to improve the current system.

One method wouldn’t require expansion: Create an algorithm-based selection process where the formula is transparent, and the path is clear to all vested parties — thereby eliminating the need for objective selection decisions.

Another potential fix is expanding the playoff to eight, 16 or 32 teams to have more automatic qualifiers and a few at-large teams.

More drastic options could include consolidating all major conferences and have four champions qualify. That would require cutting the FBS pool to 64 teams with true division champions making the CFP. A promotion and relegation system could be installed — the type seen so often in international sports leagues.

While there are many potential fixes, the best course of action, in our opinion, is creating an eight-team format.

It would include five automatic qualifiers — the champions of the Power Five conferences — plus one automatic qualifier from the Group of Five and two at-large teams.
This structure would solve many issues, such as:

*** Conferences could determine their own champions, eliminating the issues of unbalanced conference and non-conference schedules. One conference’s championship game would not impact another conference’s chances of securing a CFP berth.

*** The Group of Five would be given a participant each year, offering the potential for a Cinderella story that would appeal to both existing and potential mass audiences. Imagine what may have been possible had this structure been in place for Boise State and UCF over the past decade.

*** Almost all human bias and inequities would be removed with only two at-large teams selected.

*** And regarding the dates:

The conference championship games could serve as the first round/quarterfinals, negating the need to change the infrastructure. Or the major New Year’s bowls could become the quarterfinal round, with the semifinal moving back a week.

And we would recommend one more adjustment:
Play the championship game the week before the Super Bowl, when there are no NFL games — it’s a perfect opportunity and would likely break historical viewership records for the game.

Expanding the playoff can have enormous potential financial benefits for competing schools and conferences.

To illustrate, consider that there have been about 25 million television viewers for the CFP championship and 20 million for the semifinals, which totals roughly 65 million TV viewers per year.

If the playoffs expanded to eight teams, four games would be added to the inventory with a likely audience of 15 million viewers each — another 60 million in total.
Based on the average payout by ESPN on a per-TV-viewer basis, we estimate that an expansion to eight teams would bring in at least another $420 million per year, and expansion to 16 teams would add another $560 million annually.

That’s tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the conferences — and millions for the individual schools.

Combine that with the current payout for the four-team event, $467 million per year from ESPN, and the total for eight teams would be $887 million per year.
A 16-team event would generate up to $1.45 billion per year.

These estimates don’t include the potential lift in TV viewership from a greater overall interest in each round from fans and non-fans.

There is also precedent for playoff expansion creating more interest and meaningful games, such as:
  • MLB – Since the Wild Card rounds where added, 13 Wild Card teams have reached the World Series and seven have won the World Series, showing that teams not expected to win championships under old formats can still excel in a championship tournament format.
  • FCS – Expanded playoffs from 16 to 20 teams, and then to 24 teams. But the increases have not resulted in too much parity: North Dakota State has won seven of the last eight championships despite having to win more games
  • Rose Bowl – Before the Rose Bowl was part of the playoffs, TV viewership was around 18 million. Since the change to a semifinal game, viewership has risen to well over 20 million, and sometimes over 25 million.
  • Sugar Bowl – Similar to the Rose Bowl, viewership has increased from 16 million to 20+ million as part of a playoff.
Expansion or restructuring of the postseason is not as simple as it appears from the outside. With major changes come major challenges for administrations, coaches, and most importantly, student-athletes.

Below are some common objections raised by those who want to maintain the current system, along with some initial counterpoints for each.

*** Since conferences are all independent and control their own rights and TV deals, expanding a playoff would require consolidation and giving up some rights. But with a few dominant TV players and conferences that operate fairly closely to each other, these hurdles can likely be overcome
*** An extra round would mean extra games for the players, which is important to consider when student-athletes are already spread too thin. But the recommended eight-team playoff really only adds a single, incremental game for a few teams.

*** Some administrators worry that final exams in December would be more complicated if football players have a potential extra game, but even now these same players are completing final exams while juggling bowl games and other events, so this likely wouldn’t create any new problems.

*** Many school presidents and chancellors balk at the thought of the football season crossing into the winter semester, making a championship game the week before the Super Bowl counter to their desires. But many sports, including college basketball, cut across multiple semesters. Again, this is an issue that has been solved before with other sports.

*** The Rose Bowl has a lot of brand equity, and potentially moving the date and significance of the game with an expanded playoff could jeopardize its standing. However, not making an important change in order to protect the history of a single game is not in the best interest in of college football. And the game has remained significant after changes to the BCS and the CFP, so it would likely maintain a very strong reputation under any structure.

Even though college football is one of the most popular leagues in the U.S., the sport has a championship problem.

The good news is that it can be solved with limited challenges; fans are ready and willing to adapt.

For now, the most logical next step is expanding to an eight-team playoff that starts with the conference championship games or the existing New Year’s bowls as the quarterfinals.

Move the championship game to the week before the Super Bowl, and leave open the potential for future expansion to 16 and 32 teams.

The path is clear — and it definitely passes the eye test.

Pac-12 Stock Report

Navigate Research - Monday, February 05, 2018
Originally published February 1, 2018 at 11:09 am Updated February 1, 2018 at 10:48 pm
Seattle Times
By Jon Wilner
Bay Area News Group

Pac-12 Stock Report

↑ Rising: Washington recruiting.

Silly us. We thought the Huskies had everything wrapped up in December. Turns out, Chris “No Drama” Petersen isn’t quite finished.
Consider two recent developments:
The first came late last week, when Concord De La Salle’s Tuli Letuligasenoa, one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the west and a USC commit, announced he would visit UW.
The second came Wednesday, when Julius Irvin, a 4-star cornerback from Anaheim, picked the Huskies over USC and Arkansas … err, make that Alabama.
Washington over USC and Alabama.
The Huskies’ 20-player class currently stands No. 2 in the conference and No. 12 in the nation. And it will get even better if Letuligasenoa signs next week.

↑ Rising: Bobby Hurley
The third-year Arizona State coach was awarded a modest contract extension but a hefty salary increase this week. Hurley and the Sun Devils visit the Huskies Thursday at 8 p.m.
Per a detailed report by, Hurley will receive a $700,000 raise in July, pushing his base pay to $2.1 million.
Allow me to provide some context on Hurley’s $2.1 million:
Roy Williams makes $2.09 million.
Yep, the ASU coach who has never won an NCAA tournament game stands to earn more than the North Carolina coach who has won three national titles.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Williams has received a raise since his $2.09 million was reported in the USA Today salary database, and that his base for 2018-19 will exceed Hurley’s.
So let’s heap more context onto the pile. (Figures courtesy of USA Today)
ASU’s Bobby Hurley: $2.1 million - Sweet 16 or better: zero times
Gonzaga’s Mark Few: $1.6 million - Sweet 16 or better: seven times
Xavier’s Chris Mack: $1.4 million - Sweet 16 or better: four times
Miami’s Jim Larranaga: $1.3 million - Sweet 16 or better: three times
Notre Dame’s Mike Brey: $970,00 - Sweet 16 or better: three times

The Hotline doesn’t begrudge Hurley a dime: Make whatever you can make. (Did we mention that he has annual six-figure bumps? No? Well, he has annual six-figure bumps.)
But is it fiscally responsible to pay a coach with no NCAA wins — and no current suitors — like he’s been to the Final Four?
Ultimately, fiscal responsibility is whatever ASU athletic director Ray Anderson and president Michael Crow say it is.
Even if their definition is, well, unique.

↑ Rising: Pac-12 football alumni.
No conference … not the Big Ten, not the ACC, not even the SEC … has more players on the Super Bowl active rosters than the Pac-12.
We won’t list them all, because there are 21, but one note on the topic:
Of all teams, Arizona produced the starting quarterback: Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
I say that because the Wildcats, over the decades, have produced exactly one modern-era NFL quarterback: That would be Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
(He was drafted by the former Eagles coach who is also a former Oregon coach and is the current UCLA coach.)
Arizona also claims a non-quarterback of some renown: Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
And people call it a basketball school.

↓ Falling: United Airlines Memorial Coliseum
Perhaps it feels and sounds so damn wrong because we’re not used to iconic stadiums being renamed.
The Rose Bowl remains the Rose Bowl.
Yankee Stadium isn’t Bank of America Stadium.
Lambeau Field isn’t Got Milk Field.
If it’s a new facility, that’s one thing.
If it’s a basketball arena, that’s one thing.
But to rename an iconic outdoor venue like the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum?
From a business standpoint, the idea of selling naming rights makes sense.
The deal is worth $69 million over 16 years, which averages out to $4.3 million annually.
The cost of the Coliseum renovation is pegged at $270 million. I don’t know how the debt is structured, but let’s keep it simple and assume $9 million per year for 30 years.
The naming rights will pay almost half the annual debt service.

Could USC have gotten more? On the surface, it might seem that way:
Washington, with an assist from the shrewd negotiators at Navigate Research, sold Husky Stadium naming rights to Alaska Airlines for $41 million over 10 years.
So Washington is collecting $4.1 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium that’s in the 14th largest market and has never hosted a Summer Olympics, while USC is collecting $4.3 million annually for the naming rights to a stadium in the second-largest market that has hosted two Summer Olympics.
That said, the deals are not identical — the Huskies’ agreement with Alaska, for example, includes sponsorship of an Athletic Village on campus — so definitive conclusions are probably unwise.

Unless your conclusion is that United Airlines Memorial Coliseum won’t ever, ever sound right.

Can college athletics continue to spend like this?

Navigate Research - Monday, April 18, 2016

Erik BradySteve Berkowitz and Jodi Upton

Source: USA TODAY 3:24 p.m. EDT April 17, 2016

Bubble, in a sports context, typically refers to college basketball teams with middling résumés, or perhaps the sort of gum that comes with trading cards. Economist Andrew Zimbalist suggests college sports may be facing a bubble of a different sort, the kind that goes — pop!

Total revenue for the 50 public schools in the Power Five conferences rose by $304 million in 2015, but spending rose by $332 million from the year before, according to a USA TODAY Sports analysis of financial information that schools annually report to the NCAA. At the 178 public schools in Division I conferences outside the Power Five, revenue increased by $199 million, but spending rose by $218 million.Revenues in college sports are rising, and have been for decades, thanks largely to TV rights fees for football and men’s basketball. But expenses are rising even more: Athletics departments typically spend more money than they generate. By the NCAA’s reckoning, fewer than two dozen public schools can cover their annual operating expenses without money from university coffers, government sources or student fees.

(Louisville and Rutgers are removed from the computations because they moved to Power Five conferences during the time frame. The analysis is based on documents acquired in conjunction with the Sports Capital Journalism Program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Grady Sports Media Program at theUniversity of Georgia.)

DATABASE: Schools' expense, revenue details

Zimbalist says this kind of spending is not sustainable, and he thinks litigation of some stripe — courts deciding players can be paid beyond their scholarships, for instance — could cause the bubble to burst. Among the other potential wildcards are an ongoing lawsuit pertaining to athlete compensation limits that seeks hundreds of millions in damages, concussion lawsuits, or a change in the National Labor Relations Board’s position on college athletes unionizing.

“There are big-time things leading it to pop,” says Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and author of Unpaid Professionals: Commercialization and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports. “It’s an unstable situation.”

Jeffrey Orleans, an attorney who specializes in higher education law with a focus on athletics governance and administration, says it’s a bit like the killer asteroid theory: Something could fall from the sky and blow up college sports’ economic model.

“There’s so much out there that it’s hard to feel comfortable,” he says. “On the other hand, it could be like the Cold War. For 50 years we had all kinds of ways the world could have blown to hell, and somehow we survived it.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert says the very fact that so few athletics programs are self-sufficient demonstrates their worth in terms of building community and providing opportunity.

“A very small number of the 1,100 (NCAA members) have a positive cash flow on college sports, so those schools are making a decision that having a successful athletic program is valuable to them despite the fact they have to subsidize it with institutional money,” Emmert says. “The same thing is true for a lot of academic programs. So every school has to sit down and say, 'What is this worth to us?’ ”

Kansas State president Kirk Schulz, chair of the NCAA board of governors, believes the bubble metaphor is overwrought.

“I’ve heard that now for the last 20 years and I don’t want to be skeptical and say nothing like that could happen that would ever change the direction of intercollegiate sports,” Schulz says. But he compares it to predictions of a bubble in higher education where prospective students would one day decide that degrees for ever-higher tuition just aren’t worth it anymore.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Coaches' salaries

“And guess what? We all have record numbers of people who want to come and pay these tuition rates and get these degrees from our institutions,” Schulz says. “So I’m a little skeptical about the gloom and doom of a bubble that’s going to burst and everything is going to go south.”

Even so, Schulz agrees that athletics departments cannot continue to outspend revenue indefinitely. He blames the building of more and more buildings.

“I worry that we put ourselves in this mode where whatever we have right now is not good enough,” he says. “We’ve always got to build something bigger and better with more school colors and more logos. And I don’t think it is sustainable.”

Will TV revenue continue to rise?

Schools’ figures for the 2014-15 fiscal year were affected by changes in the methodology they are supposed to follow in compiling certain revenues and expenses for the NCAA. Among the Power Five conferences, the revenue increase was driven in part by an influx of bowl money from the inaugural College Football Playoff and theSEC Network’s debut. The amounts generated by those enterprises are likely to keep rising, but not nearly as sharply as they did in 2015.

Meanwhile, the expanding expense side of the ledger will be under additional pressure from scholarships based on the cost of attendance, which didn’t begin hitting athletics department budgets until the beginning of fiscal 2016.

Still, A.J. Maestas thinks an elite portion of the Power Five schools will continue to do quite well because their revenues have room to rise even more. He is president and founder of Navigate, a firm that measures marketing investments in sports and entertainment.

“If you take a look at affinity, passion, ratings and licensing — all the metrics that would be highly correlated with revenue — and you picture a bar chart that compares the NBA to college basketball and the NFL to college football, the college versions would be below the pro versions, but not by nearly as much as people might think,” Maestas says. “But if you look at revenue, it is radically below."

Matt Balvanz, Navigate’s vice president of analytics, says the firm is projecting the NCAA’s top 25 athletics programs can expect revenue to grow by 116% in the next 10 years. By contrast, the firm predicts revenue growth of 63% in the NFL and NBA, 55% in the NHL and 48% in Major League Baseball.

But how will TV revenue keep going up in a world where cord-cutters are leaving cable TV and cord-shavers are opting out of high-priced sports channels where they can?

“No matter how tough things are at ESPN right now, nobody ever cuts their way to greatness,” Maestas says. “We see signs that consumers are willing to pay … for premium content, and college football is premium content.”

Neal Pilson is a former president of CBS Sports and founder and president of a consulting company specializing in sports television, media and marketing. He says skeptics “have been predicting a bubble in TV rights” since the mid-1980s — and he should know. He was one of them.

“The (then) president of CBS Sports, to whom you are speaking, predicted rights fees would go down because there just wasn’t enough business to support the rights fees we were paying,” Pilson says. “He was wrong, obviously. Shortly after, he and his network paid $1 billion for the NCAA tournament. And everything has progressed in one direction since then."

The progression took another leap forward last week, when CBS Sports and Turner paid $8.8 billion for an additional eight years of the tournament, through 2032. “It tells us,” Pilson says, “that the appetite and interest in major sports properties is a fixed part of our TV sports culture.”

Pilson points out many of the conference TV rights packages are wrapped up for years, with a significant exception. The Big Ten Conference’s deals, expiring in 2017 and under negotiation now, are “going to be a bellwether, a gut check,” he says. “If there’s a bubble, we’re going to see it in the negotiations coming up.”

Bearable for Bearcats

Navigate’s projections of high revenue growth are only for the top 25 programs. What about everybody else, particularly those schools outside the Power Five?

“It’s going to be a challenge, obviously, with costs increasing if you are not in that top tier,” Balvanz says. “It’s going to be really tough to find those trigger points to maximize revenue. It’s going to force them to be more and more creative.”

On a dollar basis, Cincinnati’s athletics program is one of the most heavily subsidized at a Division I public school, receiving nearly $23.2 million from the university in 2015. But it also is being creative in cutting costs. Omar Banks, the department’s chief financial officer, says revenues are expected to decline in future years for complicated reasons having to do with the breakup of the old Big East, UC’s tenure in the American Athletic Conference and how units of revenue from the NCAA men's basketball tournament are being distributed.

Cincinnati has instituted rules banning plane travel for non-conference games, saving “a couple hundred thousand dollars,” and capped per diems at $45, saving upwards of $75,000, he says. The department’s operating expenses rose from $25.2 million in 2005 to $59.5 million in 2013, not adjusting for inflation. Its expenses have decreased since ($55.4 million in 2014 and $51.7 million in 2015).

In 2015, USA TODAY Sports found, there were 21 public-school athletics departments that spent at least $100 million – more than double the number at that level in 2012.

“Those schools, when they amass their surpluses, they’re creating this new demand for high-priced coaches,” says Banks, president of the College Athletics Business Management Association. “They can probably weather the storm much better than we can.”

Cincinnati’s football team has made a bowl game nine times in the past 10 years, its men’s basketball team has played in the past six NCAA tournaments and its women’s soccer team won the 2015 AAC tournament. But Banks says that even with the cost cutting, if it doesn’t increase revenue from ticket sales and annual fundraising, “we could be looking at the percentage of subsidy that we receive becoming much higher.”

Orleans, a consultant to the reform-minded Knight Commission, says that’s precisely the problem: “I think the schools that are relying on all this external revenue are potentially in a fragile place. What I think is getting less attention is all the schools in Divisions II and III and some in Division I that don’t have access to all these huge revenue streams but whose costs are being driven up by the spending habits that trickle down from the top.”

Combined GDP of Serbia and Estonia

Tom McMillen, executive director of the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, quibbles with the term bubble but says Zimbalist is right that court cases pose a potential threat, including two in which the plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would lift the NCAA’s new, cost-of-attendance-based limits on athlete compensation.

“There are a lot of challenges,” McMillen says. “The millions of dollars that the conferences and the NCAA are spending defending the model are eating away at dollars that could be put to more productive use. (The athlete-compensation litigation) in particular is existential. It blows up the model of college sports. If that would ever happen, there’d be a race to Congress to get some relief.”

Some members of Congress do not look kindly on the NCAA. Rep. Charles Dent (R-Pa.) is among five members who introduced a bill that would establish a Presidential Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which would be required to review and analyze a variety of issues in college athletics, including its financing. The bill would also require schools to provide four-year scholarships, and offer baseline concussion testing for athletes in contact sports.

“The NCAA is simply incapable of reforming itself,” Dent says. “It’s important for us to have a serious conversation about how all these conferences are going to be able to survive in this new system” where the Power Five have more autonomy.

Over the past 11 years for which USA TODAY Sports has compiled their NCAA financial reports, public schools in Division I have spent $71.3 billion on athletics — roughly the combined GDP of Serbia and Estonia. Add in athletics spending at private schools, which don’t have to release their figures publicly, and that’s probably around $100 billion.

Zimbalist says athletics departments simply can’t keep spending so much. “Politically, it’s not sustainable,” he says. “Legally, it’s not sustainable. Economically, it’s not sustainable.”

Zimbalist says he is working to try to get the American Council on Education, a consortium of presidents, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities andColleges, a consortium of boards of trustees, to support Dent’s bill. He thinks presidents and boards will need to work collectively if they are to forge real change.

“I think that everybody realizes now” that change is coming, he says. “College presidents know they can’t continue financially” the way things are. “Individual presidents can’t do anything. They’ve tried in the past, and all they’ve ended up doing is getting themselves fired.”

Schulz is leaving Kansas State this year for Washington State, where athletics directorBill Moos sent a letter to donors last month acknowledging a departmental budget deficit of more than $13 million for fiscal 2015. That was its second consecutive shortfall of more than $13 million, and came even with the department receiving $6.1 million in subsidies. Moos' letter said, “we continue to work extremely hard to maximize our existing revenue stream as well as identifying and securing innovative new ones.”

Schulz says he can’t say much about all that until he gets there and begins working on it. But he believes that college presidents are going to show more restraint on coaches’ salaries in coming years.

“I think many of us have reached the limit on what we can do on football salaries, for example,” he says. “Can a Kansas State pay a football coach $5 million a year? Probably could, but I’m not sure we’re willing to go that far. … Those are the types of constraint that are going to be there. But I see those as more of a gradual set of changes than this overnight, everybody is deciding to do something. I just don’t think that’s realistic.”

Contributing: Christopher Schnaars, Brent Schrotenboer

Navigate Research assists UC Berkeley in establishing most comprehensive banking partnership of its kind

Navigate Research - Friday, October 30, 2015

CHICAGO, IL – October 29, 2015 – The University of California, Berkeley UC Berkeley today announced it has selected Bank of the West as the Official Bank of UC Berkeley. The 10-year agreement is one of the most comprehensive agreements in the country, both in terms of the services provided and financial support. Navigate Research worked with UC Berkeley to align stakeholders across campus and provided research and analytics to value and build a partnership of this caliber. 

“Navigate has been a valuable partner throughout this entire process”, said Solly Fulp, Executive Director of University Business Partnerships & Services for UC Berkeley. “They assisted in creating a comprehensive university-banking partnership that addressed UC Berkeley’s priorities in student programming, brand alignment, campus services, and revenue support.”

For more specifics on the agreement, review the official press release here.