The NCAA's football business got even more lucrative in 2013

Jamie Squire

College football appears to be generating more money than ever before.

According to a National Football Foundation press release, college football is doing quite well for itself, thank you.

The NCAA broke attendance records in the 2013 season, with more than 50 million fans at college football games during the season and a whopping 1.7 million for bowl games alone.

★★★

(NCAA President Mark Emmert decried a potential union for college athletes Sunday, calling the idea "grossly inappropriate" and saying it would "blow up the model of collegiate athletics.")

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More than 216 million viewers watched regular-season college football games this season (that would be nearly 70 percent of the US population), with 127 million watching bowl games alone!

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(Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald at least partially blames the push toward a union for his team's poor performance in spring practice.)

(Quarterback Trevor Siemian takes it one step further, saying the Wildcats' conference title hopes are so fragile that the union effort could prevent its occurrence.)

★★★

For the 2013 season, ESPN saw a 3 percent increase in viewership, the SEC on CBS had its best season since 2001, and Fox saw a 10 percent increase in its college football numbers, as well.

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(The day of the Labor Board ruling, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney simultaneously disparages and admits not knowing anything about the idea of a players' union, asking if that means players don't have to practice when they don't want to.)

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The National Championship game between Auburn and Florida State averaged 25.6 million viewers, third-most all-time among all cable television programs; the only cable programs ever to draw more were the 2010 and 2013 championship games. BCS games as a whole saw a 9 percent increase in viewership.

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(Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in March of 2013 that if Ed O'Bannon won his case against the NCAA, entitling student-athletes to payment for use of their likeness, he would consider moving the conference to Division III in order to avoid having to pay athletes. He later said the claim was a bluff.)

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Nick Saban signed a new contract in late December. The Alabama head coach will be paid a reported $7 million per year.

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(After winning the men's basketball national championship, UConn's Shabazz Napier took his national stage to tell the world that, for players, there were some "hungry nights that we don't have enough money to get food in.")

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