USC's athletics department is projecting an increase in its surplus for the upcoming fiscal year — despite an anticipated drop in football season-ticket sales and Gamecock Club memberships.
The YES program and the SEC's television deal with ESPN are to thank for that.
The athletics department presented its fiscal summary to the USC board of trustees on Thursday. According to its 2009-10 budget, the department will have a surplus of a little more than $1 million next year.
The board's Intercollegiate Athletic Commission approved the budget unanimously.
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The department was $570,045 in the black this fiscal year, which ends June 30, after projecting a positive balance of $816,400.
This year’s budget assumes a 4 percent decline in season ticket sales and an 11 percent drop in Gamecock Club memberships — based on figures through May 29.
The drops stem both from the recession and the YES program. YES, or Yearly Equitable Seating, is a plan that requires Gamecock Club members to pay a seat-donation fee for the right to purchase season football tickets.
YES has been a profitable venture for the department. The plan has generated, $6.3 million — $2.3 million more than projected — according to athletics director Eric Hyman.
"This is a phenomenal opportunity," Hyman told the board. "It's going to take a while to recapture those people (who dropped club memberships and their season tickets.) But for the first time, (younger fans) can come in."
Hyman said the Gamecocks have sold about 49,000 season tickets for football, down from their cap of 56,000.
Then there is the 15-year TV deal the SEC signed last year with ESPN. The Gamecocks will receive $16.15 million from the conference — $5.5 million more than last year.
The $1,043,250 surplus will be put in the athletics department’s general fund, increasing it to $10.6 million.
USC expects revenue of close to $70 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year. The official budget plans for $67.8 million, but Jeff Tallant, the athletics department's chief financial officer, said the YES revenue was coming in a few million higher than projected.
The total expenses are planned to be about $53.2 million. About $13 million will be paid back to the school, and the rest will go in the athletics department's general fund.
Big payout. South Carolina will pay Florida Atlantic $800,000 for its visit to Williams-Brice Stadium this season.
Florida Atlantic received $900,000 to play at Texas last season.
In other home non-conference games this season, S.C. State will receive $230,000 and Clemson $250,000.
Alabama-Birmingham received $750,000 last season to come to Columbia, and Louisiana-Lafayette got $475,000 in 2007.