FSU led ACC in revenue in 2018-19, but ticket sales and contributions declined

Florida State’s revenues fell in the 2018-19 fiscal year due to a sharp decline in ticket revenue and contributions from boosters, but the athletics department still brought in more than $152.7 million, according to information released by Division I public schools to USA Today.

Ticket revenue fell from $24.4 million to $20.3 million in 2018-19. Contributions from boosters also fell significantly to $40.3 million from $55.8 million in 2017-18.

FSU led the ACC in revenue and was 12th nationally (it’s worth noting that Miami, as a private school, does not need to disclose its financials). Five SEC schools brought in more revenue: Texas A&M ($212.7 million), Georgia ($174 million), Alabama ($164 million), Florida ($159 million) and LSU ($157 million). USA Today’s database can be viewed here.

According to numbers from the Tallahassee Democrat and USA Today, football and men’s basketball at FSU generated money. Football had $71.5 million in revenue with just $47.5 million in expenses, while men’s basketball had $15 million in revenue with $12.3 million in expenses. Baseball brought in $5.1 million in revenue but had $6.6 million in expenses.

The Democrat also mentions an increase of $4 million from the league’s TV deal, which raised the ACC’s payout to FSU to just short of $30 million.

While the dollar figures reflect the 2018-19 fiscal year they are part of a multi-year trend for schools. They illustrate FSU’s need to win games on the football field, which in turn will spark a jump in season-ticket sales as well as booster donations. FSU launched the Unconquered Campaign in Sept. 2018 as well as the Renaissance Campaign in 2019. That second fund-raising push has helped in the transition in football staff as nearly 20 donors have pledged $1 million or more each toward the football program, future construction projects and scholarships.

The coronavirus pandemic has made budgeting for the 2020-21 fiscal year a challenge given the uncertainty of when football and men’s basketball can be played. FSU athletics eliminated 25 positions on July 10, while the Boosters eliminated 10. Salaries were reduced among administrators and coaches as part of a 20 percent reduction in the athletics operating budget (roughly $21 million). The Boosters made cuts in salaries and operating expenses as well.

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