With the NCAA Tournament winding down this is the time of year when we start to learn the financial picture of big time college sports. By virtue of being in the Big Ten Purdue is always going to be in an inviable position. The river of Barbasol and Rotel money has made sure of that for more than a decade now. Still, Purdue has been at the bottom of the Big Ten for a while now. A moribund football program and the fewest sports sponsored have led to that.
Today Cleveland.com released the financials for the 2016-17 school year and there was both good news and bad news for Purdue as part of the $1.7 billion enterprise that is Big Ten sports:
No. 13 Purdue - $84.8 million
Total revenue: $84,841,133
Ticket revenue: $9,222,191
Subsidy from school or student fees: $0
Sports teams: 20
Scholarship: $11,223,518 spent on 249.95 scholarships split among 365 athletes.
Coaching pay and benefits: $16,105,191
Head football coach: $2,939,352
Head men’s basketball coach: $2,789,022
Head women’s basketball coach: $792,625
Next highest paid women’s head coach: Volleyball, $271,875
Staff pay and benefits: $17,240,179
Severance to coaches or staff: $2,052,290
As far as we know, Purdue is either last or next to last in the Big Ten. It is important to remember, however, that this is the 2016-17 year. That means it reflects Darrell Hazell’s final season on the sidelines and the lack of ticket revenue. As we saw earlier in the year, Purdue attendance had the largest increase per game in the country at more than 13,000 fans per game. With one fewer home game Purdue still had more than 46,000 total fans than in 2016.
That is going to be a huge boost next year when the 2017-18 numbers come out. Even at an average of $25 per ticket that’s over $1 million in additional revenues. Purdue also gained over half a million dollars thanks to beer and wine sales.
Now, there is some good news. Purdue’s overall operating revenue increased from $78,699,976 in 2015-16 to $84,841,133 in 2016-17. The final year of the previous TV deal likely had a large role in that, and the TV revenue will provide even more in 2017-18.
In terms of expenses Purdue had 2015-16 expenses of $78,778,953, meaning that in the final year of Morgan Burke he operated the athletic department at a deficit of $78,977. It was a small deficit for sure, but Purdue was one of only three schools in the red in 2015-16.
The expenses from 2016-17 have not been released yet, but Purdue will likely be close to the line again. Notably, we paid more than $6 million to make Darrell Hazell go away. There will also be a few other expenses when the 2017-18 numbers come out, such as the new lights at Ross-Ade Stadium.
On the plus side, Purdue was one of three schools, along with Nebraska and Michigan, that did not take a subsidy from the school itself. Considering Rutgers was needing $33 million from the school to keep the lights on we’ll take it, but they are not yet receiving a full TV share. Neither is Maryland. I believe 2017-18 is the first year Nebraska is getting a full share.
The good news is that it appears as if 2015-16 will be a nadir for Purdue sports. Between increased football attendance and the new TV deal it is entirely possible the 2017-18 numbers will reach nine figures. That additional revenue will allow for a lot of things such as the anticipated Ross-Ade renovation and South End Zone project to get underway. That will be a huge undertaking when it comes, and Purdue likely wants to pay off the new performance facility first.
So how much can we expect? Well, in 2016-17 Big Ten teams receiving a full share (everyone except Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers) got $34.8 million. The new deal in effect for this year is expected to be more than $51 million apiece. Schools got $32.4 million in 2015-16.