Texas Longhorns revenue up 32 percent while other big schools drop
By LAKEN LITMAN / Special Contributor to SportsDayDFW.com
Despite the recession, the Texas athletic department is profiting better than ever. Bloomberg News reported that Texas is up 32 percent to $138.5 million in revenue in the last two years.
Big schools like LSU and Texas A&M are up in revenue as well.
“These schools are anomalies,” Jim Isch, interim president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, told Bloomberg News. “They are playing for national football championships, they have tradition, people know if they don’t keep their tickets, someone else is standing in line to get them.”
Some big schools, however, did have drops in operating revenue between 2007 and 2009. Florida was down 11 percent to $96.8 million; Arizona State is down 5 percent to $51.9 million; and Washington is down 9 percent to $54 million.
Texas played for the BCS championship twice in the past five years and has sold out 59 straight home games since September 2000.
Everything stems from winning championships. No matter how much the Texas athletic department charges on seats people will be at the games. Regular student seats for football games run from $65-$95. Club seats start at a minimum of $2,000, plus the cost of the ticket. Chairback seats are priced at a minimum of $750, plus the ticket. Suites range from $62,000-$75,000 plus tickets and catering.
A separate survey done by Bloomberg News in November showed that 45 of the largest U.S. college athletic programs lost a combined $209 million in their investment portfolios between June 2007 and June 2009. The University of North Carolina experienced the biggest loss at $52 million, dropping the value of its endowment fund to $148 million, according to the school.
But at Texas, the athletic department’s finances promise even greater success in the future.
“I’ve just spend 20 minutes with the [Longhorns] Foundation to check on donor levels, and they tell me we are going to be up this year on donations,” Texas athletic director Deloss Dodds said. “It’s our football success. It’s the passion people have for football in Texas.”