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LSU’s athletic department posts $3.9M loss despite increased football revenue

by BIZ Magazine

By Victor Skinner | The Center Square

(The Center Square) — Louisiana State University athletics lost about $3.9 million in 2023, despite a significant increase in revenues from football.

A report released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor covering the athletics department at Louisiana State University and A&M College examined finances to ensure compliance with NCAA rules for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2023.

The report shows all sports but men’s basketball and football lost millions, with total revenues of $199,110,999 and expenses of $204,351,240. The resulting overall shortfall of $3,874,261, is nearly $2 million more than the 2022 fiscal year deficiency of $1,943,722.

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The biggest change came from football, which increased revenues after expenses from about $35.7 million in fiscal year 2022 to $54 million in fiscal year 2023, an $18.3 million swing. The boost stemmed from increases in ticket sales, contributions, media rights, conference distributions, bowl revenues, and a decline in expenses tied mostly to coaching salaries.

“In fiscal year 2022, the total needed from the Tiger Athletic Foundation was $15 million more, mostly due to football coaching staff changes,” auditors wrote. “The spike occurred in fiscal year 2022 due to the coaching change in football and multiple staffs being paid during that fiscal year. Fiscal year 2023 is more representative of a normal year.”

With men’s basketball, revenues increased from $11.5 million in fiscal year 2022 to a little over $12 million in fiscal year 2023, while expenses increased from roughly $9.8 million to about $10.7 million, resulting in $1.3 million in excess. The basketball revenue excess was almost $1.7 million in fiscal year 2022.

Other major categories of athletics reported spent more than they brought in during both of the last two fiscal years. Women’s basketball lost about $7.8 million, “other sports” bled about $26 million, and “non program specific” athletics lost $25.6 million.

Those losses are about $1.2 million higher for women’s basketball, $3 million higher for “other sports,” and $19.5 million higher for “non program specific” than in fiscal year 2022.

Overall, ticket sales for fiscal year 2023 were up 10% from what was budgeted, coming in at $51 million, or about $4.8 million more than the $46.2 million officials predicted.

Contributions were also up 53% from a budgeted $38.4 million at $58.9 million.

Other expenses increased about $36 million or 439% from the budget, with a negative $8.2 million budgeted and $27.8 million actual.

Total operating revenues declined by $15 million from fiscal year 2022 to come in at $58.9 million, while operating expenses declined by 11% to $38.8 million in fiscal year 2023.

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