Photo: Lauren Simmons / The Daily Gamecock

Personnel fees up, ticket sales down in athletic department projections for 2017-18

Jumps in guarantees, sponsorships and conference distributions are expected to boost USC's athletic revenues in the next fiscal year, according to the athletic department's latest projections.

USC’s athletic department spent a total of $97,484,621 in 2016-17, generating a budget surplus of just under $16 million before financial transfers to the university. Hoping to build upon last year’s success, the budget Ray Tanner presented and had approved Friday by the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee projects an increase in revenue of $9 million in 2017-18. 

The department’s goal will certainly be aided by a projected increase of $3.7 million in distributions from the SEC and the NCAA in 2017-18. A 38 percent spike in sponsorships, media rights and royalties is also expected for the coming fiscal year, to total approximately $4.9 million. The bulk of the increase, $4 million, is expected from advertising rights to Colonial Life Arena’s new 12-by-20-foot Daktronics videoboard. Being installed this summer, the new scoreboard will replace one that had been in place since the arena’s opening in 2002, and, according to The State, will be installed along with ribbon displays below the arena’s upper bowl.

Though it represents the second-largest generator of department revenue, net ticket sales are projected to fall in 2017-18 just under $1 million to a total of $21.7 million. Of that number, $18 million is expected to come from USC’s seven home football games in 2017, including $4.9 million from the Nov. 25 game against Clemson.

Notable increases to department expenses include $1.2 million for event services, $318,900 for recruiting services and $3.6 million for personnel, the latter up just under 9 percent to $44.6 million in 2017-18. The increase to personnel expenses is likely to come in handy as USC seeks a new baseball coach for the 2018 season following last week’s resignation of five-year head coach Chad Holbrook. LSU head coach Paul Manieri was the SEC’s highest-paid at $750,000 when Holbrook was hired in 2013, but received a 50 percent raise to $1.1 million in September. LSU ended Carolina’s season with an 11-0 drubbing at the SEC Tournament on May 27.

USC is expected to cut almost $1.5 million in 2017-18 in game guarantees paid, or payments made to smaller schools for games played. Described by Jason Belzer of Forbes as the “life blood” of small college athletic departments, USC’s 2017 guarantees include payment of $1.35 million over two non-conference football games – Sept. 23 vs. Louisiana Tech ($1 million) and Nov. 18 vs. Wofford ($350,000). According to USA Today Louisiana Tech generated only $22.2 million of revenue in 2014-15. 

USC is also slated to generate just over $2 million in revenue from guarantees in the coming fiscal year after not receiving any in 2016-17, according to Tanner’s presentation. The sport or opponent leading to these guarantees have not been announced.



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