Hardcore Husky and TSIO Podcast Exclusive: UW Athletics FInancial Forecast for 2017

By CokeGreaterThanPepsi

With fiscal year 2017 coming to a close in the next few months, Hardcore Husky and The Season is Over Podcast are happy to provide the first look at the finances of the University of Washington Athletic Department for recent and future years. 

Before leaving for Texas A&M over one year ago, former Athletic Director Scott Woodward developed a Financial Stability Plan (FSP) to help bring UW through, what was projected at the time, to be difficult financial years ahead. This included "Unidentified Revenue Sources" and budget cuts amounting to $14 million dollars over the three year FSP. That $14 million dollars of "filler" has since been removed from the FSP by current Athletic Director Jen Cohen. 

UW Athletics has made significant progress in the last 10 months, thanks to the football team's hugely successful 2016 season. 

In fact, at this time last year, UW Athletics projected a $15 million dollar deficit for fiscal year 2016. But in October 2016, this was adjusted to an $8 million dollar deficit, after an additional $7 million of revenue arrived into the Athletic Department's coffers. 

And in another positive step, financial information obtained by Hardcore Husky (see link at end of article) now shows UW will work with a positive cash flow for FY2017. This includes the recent $3.6 million buyout of men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar. UW Athletics had been projecting a $5.6 million deficit for FY2017. Before Romar's buyout, UW Athletics was projecting a positive cash flow of $3.8 million, a difference of $9.4 million dollars.

Here are a few key details in the report (these numbers and notes will highlight the difference in projections from the initial June 9, 2016 report to this week's report):

  • UW initially projected $114 million in revenue for FY2017, this week that projection is now at $125 million. Factors in this rise are $2.8 million in additional Gaye revenue from football, and $150,000 from Women's Basketball. UW Athletics also raised $3 million more than expected in contributions, and with FY2017 still ongoing, they are projecting an additional $1.1 million in season ticket contributions for the 2017 season in the next few months. The Peach Bowl and Don James Center renewals also factor in. 
  • Expenses rose by $5 million from $101 million to $106 million. 
  • UW Athletics initially projected an ending of FY2017 balance of $11.6 million, as of this week that balance is now projected at $26.3 million, resulting in $14.7 million difference in ending balance. 
  • UW Basketball came up $600,000 short on their gate revenue projection, likely a major factor in the termination of Lorenzo Romar (aside from dysfunctional basketball and missing the tournament for 6 consecutive years)

For future years UW Athletics is now projecting a positive cash flow of $2.1 million for FY2018, up from the initial expectation of break-even. For FY2019-2021 UW Athletics is projecting deficits, but if these numbers continue to exceed expectations, expect those deficits to be wiped away.

FY2020 will see the first influx of revenue from the upcoming apparel deal (which we believe they are underselling significantly) UW's current apparel deal is for 10 years $38 million dollars, anything less than 10 years $100 million for the next apparel deal would be a major surprise in our eyes. 

Alcohol sales are in this report as a "potential opportunity" for additional revenue at around $1.5 million. Hardcore Husky and The Season is Over Podcast have learned that UW is looking closely at peer institutions (Texas and Ohio State specifically) to see how their alcohol sales at football games are progressing. 

Football season ticket sales are also in this report. As of Feb. 1st of 2016 UW Football renewed 32,740 season tickets, exactly one year later UW Football had secured renewals for 38,280 season tickets; a little math tells us that's 5,540 more season tickets, with months of selling still to come. A release last month from UW Football announced they had already surpassed 2016 season ticket sales, so expect UW to be around 45-47,000 season ticket holders for 2017 (not including students and staff tickets, usually around 9-10,000). This total would also not include mini-plans, and single game ticket sales, which are expected to do very well for 2017. 

In less than one year, Husky Football has led a financial resurgence for UW Athletics. Expect that to continue as the 2017 season draws near, and in the years beyond.  

(See link below)