Despite facing the early effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, FAU Athletics has continued increasing its revenue. Here are some findings from NCAA financial reports obtained by the University Press via a public records request:
The athletics department earned $40,113,869 in revenue during the most recent fiscal year, which ended in June 2020. Records indicate a 10.5% increase from the fiscal year of 2019 in which the department recorded $36,297,004 in revenue.
In terms of expenses, the department spent $37,393,763, which is up 4.3% from $35,846,033, according to the annual report.
According to FAU Athletics, they’re always looking for ways to grow their budget which involves increases in both revenues and expenses.
“For instance, there were four flights to football games in the 2018 season, while we had six flights in the 2019 season. The football team participated in a bowl game in 2019, but did not in 2018,” a spokesperson from FAU Athletics said. “We hosted the C-USA Championship Game following the 2019 season. Medical insurance costs went up. Also, during the 2020 fiscal year, FAU Athletics brought its ticket sales and operations in-house, which resulted in an increase in administrative salaries as well.”
Student fees make up a plurality, meaning it made up the largest part of the department’s revenue but not enough for a majority, of over 35% at $14,221,983. Records show it as a 9.4% increase from $12,999,163, which constituted 35.8% of total revenue the year prior.
At $7,710,886, football brought the department 19.2% of its revenue. Records mark it as an estimated 234% increase from $3,298,610, which made up only 9% of total revenue in 2019’s report. Both years, however, showed expenses being higher than revenues for football —$10,506,252 in 2019 and $11,026,847 in 2020.
Ticket sales for football suffered a drop between the two fiscal years. In 2019, the department reported $1,831,195 while recording $1,600,629 the year after, indicating an estimated 12.6% decrease in revenue.
“There are revenues that are indirectly tied to football which don’t show up as football revenue in the report you’re referencing,” the spokesperson said. “In Conference USA during the 2020 fiscal year, there were only three schools that reported revenue exceeding expenses for the sport of football.”
INFLUX OF SPONSORSHIP MONEY
Money from royalties, licensing, advertisement and sponsorships made a noticeable improvement. In 2020, the athletics department gained $800,489, up 23.8% from $646,406 in 2019.
“We’re always looking for ways to increase revenue and corporate sponsorship,” the spokesperson said. “The annual rights fee from our third-party multimedia rightsholder, Learfield IMG College, increased year over year.”
Despite the improvements in revenue, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department laid off 19 of its employees in October of last year.
At the time of the layoffs, Vice President and Athletics Director Brian White said in a statement that the department “held off” on those decisions as long as they could since their goal was to avoid cutting off funding for sports and scholarships.
“Our charge is to continue to be good stewards of our fiscal resources as we move forward,” White said. “We plan to come out on the other side of this health and financial crisis in a position where the strong upward trajectory of FAU Athletics can be maintained and built upon.”
Financial figures for the 2020-2021 academic year, including the 2020 football season, will be in the 2021 fiscal year report. According to public records, it will be available towards the end of January 2022.
Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.