Utah athletics sees smaller than expected $31M budget deficit in FY '21

Utah football brought in no ticket revenue for the '20 season due to the Pac-12's mandate not allowing fansGetty Images

Utah’s athletic department finished FY '21, which included the '20 football season and '20-21 basketball season, with a "budget deficit just north" of $31M against an "operating budget over that span of approximately" $82M, according to Josh Newman of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. The deficit was "smaller than officials originally predicted," as AD Mark Harlan in August '20 "originally projected a deficit of between" $50-60M. But some of the specific revenue losses are "glaring when compared to prior fiscal years." Given the Pac-12 mandate not allowing fans, football and both basketball programs combined to "pull in no ticket revenue," while gymnastics, which traditionally fills the 15,000-seat Huntsman Center, is "listed as having $582 in ticket sales." Those four programs accounted for approximately $17.7M in "ticket sales the year before." Of that, football "accounted for 86% of it" during the '19 season. Donations also were "down across the board," from roughly $11.7M in FY '20 to about $7.9M in FY '21. However, an operating budget of $82M, which is "low compared to the last five years," means Utah "saved money in some spots" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 1/21).

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