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Football and Basketball Financially Support Every Other Sport

Football and Basketball Support Every Other SportIn case you haven’t heard me say it before, football and men’s basketball are essentially the only opportunity an athletic department has to make money.

Every once in awhile I run across a baseball program that breaks even (or even makes a few bucks), but it’s rare. Even more rare: Nebraska volleyball turns a profit. So, while there are exceptions, trust me when I say they’re few and far between.

Today, I wrote a piece for Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com, and I made the case that Ohio State should raise football ticket prices when the market can bear it, because football is the best opportunity to make money for the 15 men’s sports, 17 women’s sports and two mixed teams which all operate at a loss (men’s basketball being the only other exception).

I wanted to give you a closer look at the numbers though. Particularly for those of you who don’t work in intercollegiate athletics, you might not fully understand how the economics work. Generally speaking, football and men’s basketball support every other sport within an athletic department.

Here’s a look at each sport’s revenue and expense numbers at Ohio State for 2014-15:

Revenue Expense Net Revenue
Men’s Sports
Baseball $500,745 $2,129,235 -$1,628,490
Basketball $22,647,562 $8,400,976 $14,246,586
Fencing $28,785 $584,138 -$555,353
Football $72,338,036 $31,950,998 $40,387,038
Golf $445,313 $568,366 -$123,053
Gymnastics $114,202 $963,158 -$848,956
Ice Hockey $696,082 $2,354,838 -$1,658,756
Lacrosse $927,863 $1,960,437 -$1,032,574
Rifle $0 $38,836 -$38,836
Soccer $175,574 $1,017,069 -$841,495
Swimming and Diving $273,022 $1,121,355 -$848,333
Tennis $44,282 $1,041,700 -$997,418
Track and Field, X-Country $98,315 $1,278,248 -$1,179,933
Volleyball $57,473 $900,973 -$843,500
Wrestling $925,472 $1,697,959 -$772,487
Other $0 $42,315 -$42,315
TOTAL $99,272,726 $56,050,601 $43,222,125
Women’s Sports
Basketball $713,617 $3,541,305 -$2,827,688
Fencing $28,787 $578,923 -$550,136
Field Hockey $100,150 $1,014,646 -$914,496
Golf $444,660 $690,385 -$245,725
Gymnastics $109,717 $1,456,215 -$1,346,498
Ice Hockey $83,023 $1,736,959 -$1,653,936
Lacrosse $69,213 $1,170,987 -$1,101,774
Rifle $0 $38,837 -$38,837
Rowing $48,205 $1,734,986 -$1,686,781
Soccer $218,549 $1,358,293 -$1,139,744
Softball $152,017 $1,330,635 -$1,178,618
Swimming and Diving $96,008 $1,136,163 -$1,040,155
Tennis $34,743 $980,240 -$945,497
Track and Field, X-Country $89,976 $1,435,552 -$1,345,576
Volleyball $246,128 $1,769,877 -$1,523,749
Other $24,388 $620,714 -$596,326
TOTAL $2,459,181 $20,594,717 -$18,135,536
       
Mixed Teams
Rifle $29,935 $243,805 -$213,870
Other $176,611 $190,359 -$13,748
TOTAL $206,546 $434,164 -$227,618

If you want a bigger picture look at the overall revenue and expense numbers for the athletic department, including how much is donated back to the university. check out my piece on Outkick the Coverage on FoxSports.com.

About Kristi Dosh

Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more
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