Imagine you have been offered the opportunity to buy a business that offers the following inducements:

• The business generates billions of dollars annually — an average of more than $30 million in revenues per franchise, according to Business Insider, with some reaching more than $200 million. There are 131 major franchises nationally. According to Forbes, 25 of them combined to earn an average of $1.5 billion in profit on annual revenues of $2.7 billion.

Are you interested? 

• The business is recession proof. There is no downturn in the economy that is so bad that people won’t pay for your product. And it never ever goes out of style. The only thing that can slow it down is a once-in-century pandemic.

Still listening?

• The business receives endless, nationwide advertising — and it’s all FREE!! Someone else does it for you. Some businesses actually pay you for the privilege! TV outlets pay zillions just to show your business on their screens almost every day of the week. It’s a seasonal business, and yet newspapers, radio programs, magazines and TV shows devote hours and hours to discussing your product day and night, year-round, which is just another free marketing/advertising tool, as far as you’re concerned. And it just keeps coming. There are entire businesses devoted to betting on the outcome of your business each week, and there are video games that mimic what your business does every Saturday in the fall.

Want to know more?

• The business has more than 100 young, physically fit employees at the various franchises to provide a highly valued form of entertainment for the public. Sounds expensive? Well, the average employee works for peanuts — expenses, tuition waivers, free shoes, food, etc. Most of them would do it for nothing. The stars of the business can demand money these days, but, guess what! A third party pays for them under a program called NIL — name, image and likeness! 

As USC, UCLA begin their farewell tour, which Pac-12 teams have the best shot at dethroning the Utes?
Pac-12 fans deserve better from leadership
What does it mean for BYU and Utah with Colorado leaving Pac-12 for Big 12?

How great is that?

• There is some overhead, but much of the equipment is provided free by companies eager to have your business market their uniforms, other apparel, shoes, equipment and other products. And — get this — most states kick in tax money and student fees to subsidize the business.

Do we still have your attention, Mister Businessman?

• There is an unlimited supply of customers who will patronize your business. The customer base grows every year. It’s like compounding interest, with customers as the currency. Every year, a new graduating class emerges from universities and they instantly become paying customers, and they marry and produce offspring/future customers. Last year a near-record 37.3 million customers bought tickets to patronize your business, making it the largest year-over-year increase since 1982.

Do you really need to know any more?

• This business has major, highly recognizable brands all over the country that bring in millions from people wanting to buy merchandise with your name and logos emblazoned on them — hats, apparel, mugs — which of course also means more free advertising.

(Psst, if you’re waiting to hear what the catch is, there isn’t any.)

• The “CEO” of each franchise is often the highest paid employee in the state. That’s how valuable your business is. And part of his salary is paid for by equipment companies and radio/TV stations and a group called boosters, who donate hundreds of millions of dollars to help pay the boss and support the company he oversees.

Don’t you wish you could buy a stake in a college football team?

Universities used to be in the business of education with a side interest in football; now they are football franchises with a side interest in education. If the top 32 college football teams decided to do it, they could form a professional league that could challenge the NFL for revenues and customers, all under the guise of — try not to laugh — institutions of higher learning.

How about it? Are you in?

University of Georgia students run through the streets after the College Football Playoff national championship game against TCU, Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, in Athens, Ga. | Alex Slitz, Associated Press