OSU athletics tops $200M in revenue, expenses

Bill Rabinowitz
Brutus the Buckeye greets the crowd during the Ohio State University Alumni Association Buckeye Bash at the Rose Bowl on Monday, December 31, 2018 at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California. [Joshua A. Bickel]

Ohio State’s athletic department exceeded the $200 million threshold for the first time in both operating revenues and expenses in the 2018 fiscal year, according to its financial report to the NCAA and provided to The Dispatch.

Ohio State’s revenue exceeded $205 million. According to USA Today, only OSU, Texas and Texas A&M had revenue exceeding $200 million.

Ohio State’s expenses were about $203.8 million, joining Texas in surpassing $200 million.

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Revenue for the Buckeyes’ athletic department, which is fully self-funded, was $20 million more than it was in the 2017 fiscal year. Expenses were $30 million more.

Football was the biggest driver of both revenue and expenses. Football revenue totaled $110.7 million. Men’s basketball was a distant second with just under $24 million.

Ticket sales for football games totaled $59.4 million, an increase of about $7.6 million. The Buckeyes played seven home games each season.

Media rights increased from $25.6 million in 2017 to $42.6 million last year, with $31.9 million from football. Outlays by football included about $46.1 million for operating expenses, $21.3 million for athletic student aid and $15.5 million for coach salaries.

Salaries for coaches in all sports increased by about $8 million to $38.9 million. Athletic facilities debt rose from $16.8 million to $20.9 million.