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Purdue Athletics Surpasses $100 Million in Revenue

Show me the money!

Boston College v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Earlier today, the Journal and Courier reported that for the first time in program history, Purdue Athletics’ revenue exceeded the $100 million mark for the 2017-18 season ($103 million to be exact), after reporting an $84 million revenue in 2016-17. They even posted a gain of $7.9 million, after posting a loss of over $800,000 last season.

So I guess you could say that Purdue is...

At least we didn’t have to get run over by a Lexus to get this cash.

The J&C go into more details in their article, and I suggest you read it over there. Here, I’ll highlight a few of the things they mentioned in their article.

More than 53 percent of the athletic department’s revenue came from the Big Ten Conference, including television rights, NCAA distributions and radio rights. Contributions of $19.3 million produced the second-most revenue.

The athletic department generated more than $11 million in ticket sales, including $7 million in football – the most since 2013. That same year, Purdue had more than $14 million in overall ticket sales.

It’s pretty astounding that a majority of Purdue’s revenue isn’t coming from a combination of ticket sales, merchandise, and concessions, but rather from the Big Ten. The 2017-18 season was the first one that featured the Big Ten’s lucrative TV contract with FOX and ESPN, which would explain the huge bump. Bobinski certainly deserves some of the credit when it comes to Purdue’s increase in revenue (like with the increased football ticket sales); however, I personally would like to see Purdue increase revenue elsewhere so the Big Ten cash flow is accounting for a majority of the revenue.

For the fourth straight year, women’s basketball generated less than $300,000 in ticket sales. The program saw a slight increase in ticket revenue after six consecutive years of decline.

I know we have talked about the decline of Purdue women’s basketball on here and on Twitter. While that uptick is nice, we would definitely like to see that surpass $300K again, especially given the history of the program. When I was at Purdue (2009-2013), it was pretty common to see the lower bowl full for conference games (except maybe behind the baskets), and a good crowd in the upper bowl too. Now, there seems to be a good number of empty seats in the lower bowl, and the crowd getting sparser (more sparse?) in the upper bowl. A team that’s consistently winning and making the NCAA tournament with ease could certainly help improve those numbers.

Football reported a $1.4 million deficit but $1.7 million in severance payments to former coach Darrell Hazell prevented the program from showing a profit. The school’s financial obligation to Hazell ended in December 2018. That will appear on next year’s financial report.

THE BAD MAN IS GONE, BUT HE KEEPS HURTING US, DAMN IT. This just continues to confirm my belief that Hazell was a secret agent for Jim Tressel and Ohio State to ruin our program.

Salaries, benefits and bonuses paid to the football program’s support staff jumped from $595,570 in 2016-17 to $2.1 million in 2017-18. a pretty big jump. And most of that was bringing in Brohm and his staff. At least it has been money well spent.

As it was mentioned in the J&C article, we do not have the numbers for the other Big Ten and Division 1 schools. However, USA Today did publish the finances from the 2016-17 season of all the public athletic programs. I’ve included those numbers from the Big Ten schools below, with a few additions (note that Northwestern is not included):

2016-17 Big Ten Finances

Team Revenue Expenses Allocated % Allocated Revenue minus Allocated Varsity Teams Revnue/Team
Team Revenue Expenses Allocated % Allocated Revenue minus Allocated Varsity Teams Revnue/Team
Ohio State $185,409,602 $173,507,435 $0 0.00% $185,409,602 37 $5,011,070
Michigan $185,173,187 $175,425,392 $280,647 0.15% $184,892,540 29 $6,385,282
Penn State $144,017,055 $138,724,055 $0 0.00% $144,017,055 31 $4,645,711
Wisconsin $143,420,668 $142,930,591 $2,843,000 1.98% $140,577,668 23 $6,235,681
Iowa $130,681,467 $128,869,211 $650,000 0.50% $130,031,467 24 $5,445,061
Michigan State $126,021,377 $117,506,272 $901,057 0.72% $125,120,320 25 $5,040,855
Nebraska $120,205,090 $112,571,632 $0 0.00% $120,205,090 22 $5,463,868
Minnesota $116,376,862 $114,201,678 $14,817,134 12.73% $101,559,728 23 $5,059,864
Indiana $106,139,192 $106,131,819 $2,569,044 2.42% $103,570,148 24 $4,422,466
Illinois $97,447,731 $100,739,817 $3,281,700 3.37% $94,166,031 21 $4,640,368
Rutgers $96,883,027 $99,193,280 $33,087,478 34.15% $63,795,549 27 $3,588,260
Maryland $94,881,357 $94,796,897 $14,473,659 15.25% $80,407,698 19 $4,993,756
Purdue $84,841,133 $85,709,495 $0 0.00% $84,841,133 18 $4,713,396

As you can see, Purdue came in last among Big Ten schools in regards to revenue. Given that a majority of Purdue’s increase in revenue came from the new Big Ten TV contracts, I would expect this to stay the same when numbers from the other schools come in. However, when you consider that some schools get a large portion of their revenue from allocations from the school or state (looking at you, Rutgers), Purdue’s revenue is greater than Maryland or Rutgers (granted, both of them have yet to receive their full share from the B1G, so that could change in the future).

Another way we can tediously and pointlessly break this down is looking at how the revenue divides up per varsity team. Purdue only has 18 varsity teams, the fewest in the Big Ten, but when you average out the revenue earned among each team, Purdue surpasses quite a few schools, including that school down south. Granted, a schools football team is going to bring in a larger revenue than the fútbol team, but having a few extra teams could bring in more revenue (yeah, they also increase expenses too, but I have to end this article eventually).

So after all of that, what have we learned? Well for starters, I probably made this article longer than it had to be (oops). Second, while the numbers are moving upwards for Purdue, we have to remember that the main reason for the uptick was the new Big Ten TV contracts, and that a majority of Purdue’s revenue is coming from the Big Ten.

However, there are some good signs going forward. After this season, we no longer have to pay Hazell any money, which prevented football from posting a profit in 2017-18. Along the lines of football, revenue from it continues to increase from alcohol and ticket sales. As mentioned in the article, ticket sales have also increased for other sports, such as volleyball, which will continue to help the bottom line. Though the increase in revenue may have been due to external reasons, Purdue has set themselves up to keep more money flowing in.