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Cincinnati's Athletic Department Revenues Up, Department Still In The Red

USA Today has released its annual report on Athletic Department finances across the country. The nation wide trends are interesting, in that almost all FBS schools are subsidizing their athletic departments, but its the Bearcats that interest me.

Tyler Barrick


Ticket Sales Contributions Rights Licensing Student Fees School Funds Other Total Revenue
2012 8,098,155 6,218,816 13,194,141 0 16,509,915 4,871,264 48,892,291
% Change -4.6% +6.3% +20.4 0 +12.2% +49% +14.4


Coaching Salaries Scholarships Buildings/Grounds Other Total Expenses
2012 16,079,049 7,421,806 9,773,843 16,593,506 49,868,204
% Change +10.4% +3.7% +8.8% +27.8% +14.1%

A couple of notes on these numbers. 1) as a public institution the university is required to submit revenue and expense reports if requested. I believe that USA Today gets these numbers primarily via the freedom of information act. They must honor the request, but they can arrange the information however they wish. That is why you see the student fees at zero, even though UC does give some percentage of the student fees to the department. UC chooses to report that as school funds.

2) The "other expenses" column is a bit of a black box. For the most part that total is put to servicing the dept on the Lindner Center. The payments for the Lindner Center wound up being in the neighborhood of 13 million dollars. There is also the matter of the Shakley Center which was financed, but with pledges in hand. So they had to pay that debt as well, but there were incoming contributions earmarked for that.

Tomorrow or Friday I will take a much deeper dive into these numbers, but I simply don't have the time today. I will leave this with two points that I want to make. Since 2004-2005 school year the athletic department revenue has more than doubled. UC went from 21 million dollars in revenues that year to just shy of 49 million dollars for the past reporting year. That is a phenomenal growth rate, even if there is a ceiling too it.

Second is something that was previously known, that renting Paul Brown Stadium is expensive, and not worth the trouble. The buildings/grounds category increased by 8 percent from 2009-10 to 2010-11 (Oklahoma) and by 14 percent for 2011-12 (Louisville and West Virginia). Meanwhile ticket revenue fell for 2011-12, despite playing two games in the bigger venue. Just not worth it.