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College Football Is Big Money for Landlords, Too

Football builds brand recognition for universities. Real estate investors are cashing in.
Photographer: Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The smell of fresh-cut grass on an autumn afternoon. A marching band belting out its fight song. The stadium creaking under the weight of 100,000 beer-soaked fans. The stimuli of college football look, sound, and smell like big money to television networks, apparel makers, and vendors of all kinds. Now landlords have joined the game as well.

Over the last two decades, property managers have discovered that renting off-campus beds to college students can be a great business. It makes sense: College enrollments have boomed, but funding for on-campus housing hasn’t. Private landlords stepped into the void, developing new, luxurious units, complete with golf simulators and resort-style swimming pools.