14:08 PM

Ohio State Athletics reports financial impact of COVID-19 disruptions

Department reports nearly $107 million in revenue in pandemic-shortened year

A new financial report from The Ohio State University Department of Athletics highlights the challenges the department faced in a year when games and seasons were canceled or played in near-empty stadiums and arenas.

The department brought in $106,896,918 in fiscal year 2021, which runs from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. That’s down from a record $233,871,740 in FY 2020, according to an annual financial report filed each year with the NCAA.

The pandemic’s impact began in March 2020 and altered the competition for programs across the department. For example, the football team played only five regular season games, and all athletic events were closed to fans. As a result, ticket sales were down to $7,386 from $65,978,534 the previous year.

While the report shows a department deficit of about $63.6 million, the actual number is about $41 million. Part of the department’s expenses include $20 million in one-time payments to reduce capital loan balances on two recently completed athletic buildings. The payments will reduce interest expenses in future years.

The department may take out an interest-bearing loan from the university to cover the deficit, a decision that will be made at the end of 2022.

“This was a most challenging year for our department and for everyone, and I am so proud of our student-athletes, our coaches and our support staff who continued to deliver at a championship level,” said Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation endowed athletic director. “Despite the difficulties we all faced working through the pandemic, we preserved our commitment to our student-athletes and the sports they love.”

Ohio State is home to one of the largest athletic departments in the nation, supporting 16 men’s teams, 17 women’s teams, three mixed teams and approximately 1,000 student-athletes. 

Other notes from the report include the following year-over-year changes from FY 2020:

·       Media rights revenues were down to $40,568,770 from $46,849,461.

·       Total athletic department expenses decreased to $170,551,920 from $215,209,566.

·       Football revenue declined to $41.9 million from $115.5 million.

·       Athletics-related endowments increased to $129 million from $98.6 million.

Ohio State’s athletic department is self-funded and receives no tuition or tax dollars.


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