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Ohio State Athletics notches record revenue, spends less than last year

Ohio State reports nearly $234 million in athletic revenue despite facing early impact of COVID-19 pandemic


The Ohio State University Department of Athletics increased revenue by 11% last fiscal year and spent less even as it and the university began fighting the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The department brought in $233,871,740 in fiscal year 2020, which measures July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, up 11% from $210,548,239 in the previous year, according to an annual financial report filed each year with the NCAA.

It remains one of the largest athletic departments in the country and brought in more than it spent. The department spent $215,209,566, which is down 2.4% from $220,572,956, according to the annual report.

The pandemic’s impact on the athletic department began in March 2020, and altered competition scheduled for winter and spring sports, along with practice schedules, camps, recruiting and business operations department-wide. Financial figures for the 2020-2021 academic year, including the 2020 football season, will be in the fiscal year 2021 report. That report is expected to show a significant reduction in revenue when it is released next year.

“I feel for our student-athletes whose experiences have been hampered since the spring,” said Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation endowed athletics director. “While the full financial effect of the pandemic will be felt in the next fiscal year, I’m pleased with how the athletic department and athletes showed resiliency in adjusting to a sudden, once-in-a-lifetime situation that saw all spring sports except tennis canceled.”

Other interesting notes from the report include:

  • Giving from individuals, foundations and companies was up almost $20 million, to $48,197,862 from $29,681,048.
  • Sports camp revenues fell to $1,524,510 from $2,113,923. This is because the pandemic canceled summer camps that are normally held in May and June.
  • Ticket sales, which remain the largest source of athletics revenue, brought in $65,978,534, up 10.2% from $59,847,907 in 2019.
  • At $115,510,031, football brought in 49.4% of total athletic department revenue, while spending $52,616,230 – 24.4% of the department’s total expenses. Football spent 12.4% less than last year’s $60,076,743.
  • Money from sponsorships and licensing agreements continues an upward march. In 2020 the athletic department brought in $30,825,698, up 34.5% from $22,921,170 in 2019.

Ohio State’s athletic department is self-funded, receives no tuition or tax dollars and generates revenue for the university’s academic mission.

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