Nick Saban isn’t just the most highly regarded coach in college football right now; many would argue he’s the greatest of all time. While no one can coach forever, Saban seems settled in comfortably at Alabama for the foreseeable future. The acclaimed coach will prowl the Crimson Tide’s sideline for a long time due to a recent — and massive — new contract extension.
Let’s look closely at Saban and his outrageously high (but well-deserved contract).
The terms of Nick Saban’s contract are out of this world
According to Huddle Up, Saban signed an eight-year extension this offseason. Over the contract’s lifetime, Saban will make close to $94 million. In 2022 alone, he’ll make $10.7 million. By 2029, he’ll make $12.7 million annually.
By the time Saban’s deal is up in 2030 (and every indication based on his record is that he’ll make it to the end of that deal unless he retires), he’ll have made over $200 million from the University of Alabama over the course of his career there.
To put Saban’s gargantuan contract into proper perspective, think about this: The head coach is paid $32,000 every day. That’s an astounding amount. But the question isn’t about how much Saban makes; it’s whether he’s worth that amount to the university.
Yes, Nick Saban’s contract is big … but he’s worth it
$94 million is a lot of money, as is $32,000 daily. But being overwhelmed by the amount of Saban’s deal fails to put the terms in their proper context.
Saban isn’t paid much more annually than other top college coaches, including Kirby Smart from Georgia or Lincoln Riley at USC. The fact is that Saban’s track record is unmatched by any other coach throughout college football history. No current one can hold a candle to Saban’s achievements at the University of Alabama.
Winning at college football’s highest level doesn’t come cheap. Teams must invest in stadiums, training equipment, facilities, and staff members. Paying top dollar for a coach is expected of all national title contenders. Yes, Saban’s contract is costly, but it may also be the most cost effective. No other team gets as big a return on their investment as Alabama does with Saban. The football team’s success has boosted the university’s profits through the athletic department and grown enrollment numbers.
He’s made the Crimson Tide a perennial national title contender, virtually a lock to appear in the college football playoff. Based on what other top coaches earn and the results he garners, Saban is a steal.
Saban makes a big impact on Alabama’s financial success
Saban’s ability to draw money to the university is more important than ever, particularly after a rough couple of years from a financial perspective, as Huddle Up explains. Sure, Alabama football has never been stronger. But the pandemic took a toll. The 2020 season saw fans shut out of stadiums, and increased medical expenses hurt the Tide’s bottom line.
According to the Tuscaloosa News, the university received a supplemental revenue distribution of $23 million in 2020 due to the pandemic. Without that, the school would have operated at a loss that fiscal year. Ticket revenue alone dropped by $32.3 million.
That showcases just how vital Saban and the football team are to the school when operating under normal circumstances. Certainly, a worldwide pandemic affected every college football team. But Alabama’s financial decline was so precipitous due to the heights they previously reached under Saban. There’s no doubt that with Saban at the helm for the next decade or so, Bama’s financial fortune will continue to improve.