UPDATE: A Peek Inside BYU’s Athletic Budget

True confessions: I’m a frustrated BYU football fan.

Performance on the field is only one of the issues, but I’ll save you all from my personal complaints.

BYU does not release much financial information about their athletic programs.  However, what they do release is incredibly valuable – if you combine it with some other bits of publicly available data.  Take a few pieces of information, apply some basic math, and you end up with a pretty clear picture of BYU’s athletic budget (on a somewhat delayed basis).

For the 2015-2016 academic year (the year that ended in the spring of 2016), BYU’s athletic budget was approximately $46 Million.  This was basically unchanged from the prior year (again, according to my arithmetic) although the possible range narrowed to $42.5 Million to $50 Million.

The following table shows the revenue sources for BYU’s athletic budget (please note that numbers are approximations from rounded figures even though they give the appearance of specificity).

BYU Revenue Sources

What’s most interesting are the changes occurring over the last couple of years:

  • While the budget stayed the same from the previous year, it was up $10 Million over a two year span
  • The largest contributor, by far, to this two-year increase was in the Donations/Endowments category contributing $3.5 Million, or 35% of the overall increase
  • Reliance on donors is expected to continue in future years.  BYU has released the percentages that made up 2016-2017 athletic budget, and Donations/Endowments grew from 20% of revenue to 22% of revenue (this is all up from 15% of revenue in 2012)
  • Other areas of two-year revenue growth have been TV/Radio, Basketball Tickets, Conference/NCAA, Guarantees, and Other
  • Noticeably absent from this growth list is the revenue from football tickets.  If anything, revenue from the sale of football tickets is lower over the two year span

Where does the $46 Million (+/-) go?  The following table uses this estimate of BYU’s budget and applies their percentages of operating expenditures:

BYU Expenses

One interesting comment from comparing the two charts above: It appears that Sports Camps lost approximately $500,000 during the year.  While it’s possible this is accurate, it’s impossible to know without taking a more holistic view of BYU’s finances.  For example, perhaps a lot of that expense is flowing back to the University for housing of kids at sports camps.  It’s an expense, but it’s staying within the university.  A similar uncertainty is at the interaction between the TV/Radio revenue line and Donations/Endowments.

Finally, I can’t help but wonder if the poor performance on the field will create increased budget pressures at BYU especially given their increased reliance on donations.

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