The USC athletics department expects to make $121.9 million in fiscal year 2017-2018 and spend $102.9 million of that windfall, according to figures athletic director Ray Tanner recently presented to the school’s Board of Trustees. Both numbers are records for South Carolina.
“We don’t have the biggest budget in the league but we are pretty successful with what we’ve got,” said Jeff Tallant, the department’s chief financial officer.
The biggest increase in the school’s revenue is a $4.9 million uptick in media rights, which can be traced to a one-time signing bonus of $4 million the school received for re-upping its rights contract with IMG and the annual dollar increase in that contract.
The biggest expected increase in expenditures? Rising personnel salaries. The Gamecocks will pay $3.6 million more in salaries in fiscal year 2017-2018, including raises for men’s basketball coach Frank Martin and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley.
“We realize that costs are also escalating from all aspects, from technology to coaching salaries to athletics director’s salaries to everything,” Tanner said. “We have to be cognizant as the costs increase. We obviously have our finger on the pulse of revenue growth but the costs continue to escalate too.”
Overall, personnel costs are expected to be $44.6 million. The biggest chunk of that is head football coach Will Muschamp’s $3 million annual salary, although Martin could surpass Muschamp by the end of his new deal, which would pay $3.3 million 2023, its final year.
The largest deposit into the athletics department coffers comes from its SEC and NCAA distributions, which are expected to be $40.1 million in the upcoming year. Ticket sales ($21.7 million), sponsorship, media rights and royalties ($17.9 million) and the Gamecock Club ($13.5 million) are the next biggest sources of income.
“The SEC Network and being part of the conference has really been helpful,” Tallant said.
Ticket sales revenue is projected to drop from a year ago (from $22.7 million), chiefly because South Carolina is giving up one home game because it is a playing a neutral site game in Charlotte. However, the school is receiving a $2 million payout to play that game against North Carolina State in Bank of America Stadium, which more than makes up for the drop in forecast ticket sales.
The athletic department has $186.3 million in outstanding debt and expects to pay $12.9 million toward that debt this year.
The athletic department will pass along $7.1 million to USC through various forms of support and scholarship payments.
Home football games
Projected football revenue for 2017 home games:
Clemson, Nov. 25: $5.95 million ($90 ticket)
Florida, Nov. 11: $4.12 million ($65 ticket)
Arkansas, Oct. 7: $3.01 million ($50 ticket)
Kentucky, Sept. 16: $2.70 million ($45 ticket)
Vanderbilt, Oct. 28: $2.41 million ($40 ticket)
Wofford, Nov. 18: $2.31 million ($40 ticket)
Louisiana Tech, Sept. 23: $2.18 million ($35 ticket)
Gamecocks’ revenues rising
South Carolina Athletics Department’s budgeted revenue for 2017-18 Fiscal Year:
Gamecock Club (net);$13,519,000;$14,064,225
Gifts and Donations;$10,695,000;$10,630,000
Sponsorship, Media Rights, Royalties;$17,895,000;$12,956,022
Source: USC Athletics Department