Since joining the Pac-12 Conference in 2011, followed by several years of waiting to get a full share of conference revenue, Utah is finally reaping the rewards as the program brought in record revenues this past fiscal year.
While revenues soared to an all-time high of $91.3 million, so too did expenses which jumped up to $87.5 million. On a year-over-year basis, revenues jumped by $7.7 million while expenses rose by $5.9 million.
The table below outlines how the University has fared over the past four years.
Since joining the Pac-12 Conference and having to wait several years before getting a full share of conference revenue, the Utes have heavily invested in their teams as well as facilities.
“What we’ve tried to do is take that money and reinvest it into our program and to the student-athletes,” said Steve Smith, Utah’s associate athletic director for business in an interview with KSL last year. “That’s been our goal from day one.”
That it why it should come to no surprise to see the new amenities and facilities that have been built and that are being built. Installed in 2016, the massive $13.5 million scoreboard measuring 122 feet wide and 64 feet tall made it one of the biggest boards in the entire country. It’s just one of a number of projects that department has finished (Huntsman Basketball Facility, etc.) with many more still to come — including the $80 million stadium renovation which is expected to be completed in 2021.
“We’ve been able to build a beautiful football facility and basketball facility for our student-athletes — not just for football and basketball, but for all of them. We have fueling stations where we spend upwards of $1 million to $2 million just feeding our athletes and making sure they have the nutrition they need,” Smith added.
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A rise in costs
On top of new facilities and upgrades, the move to the Pac-12 brought salary increases for the coaching staff thanks to the arms race that is collegiate athletics. This brought a spike in payroll costs for the program as the Utes moved up to be at a similar rates as other coaches around the Pac-12.
Athletic Student Aid jumped to $10.8 million compared to $10.6 million in the prior year. Guarantees – amounts paid to visiting institutions – rose from $1.3 million in 2017 to $1.5 million this past year.
Among the biggest jumps in expenses came from coaching salaries, benefits and bonuses category. Those figures rose to $18.6 million last year compared to $17.2 million in 2017.
Recruiting costs went from $1.8 million to 1.9 $million, while $6.2 million went to travel costs compared to $5.9 million in 2017. Sports equipment and supplies jumped from $3.2 million to $3.6 million and game expenses rose from $2 million to $2.5 million. Nearly $6.8 million went to debt services compared to just $6.1 million in the prior year, and in the “other” operating category, expenses rose from $9 million in 2017, to $10.9 million in 2018.
Say what you want about spending, but the Utes are getting results as the women’s basketball team is currently ranked 14th in the nation with the football team just a couple plays away from playing in the Rose Bowl. Baseball took home the Pac-12 crown in 2016, volleyball got another NCAA tournament berth this year and the gymnastics team continues to be a Top 10 team every year.
For more coverage and to see where Utah’s 2018 revenues came from, please click here.