Michigan anticipates $51.1M from Big Ten in 2018

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan’s athletic department projects an operating surplus of $2 million in 2018.

Ann Arbor – Michigan’s athletic department projects an operating surplus of $2 million and will get a huge financial bump from the Big Ten’s conference distribution, according to the 2018 operating budget presented Thursday at the University of Michigan Regents meeting.

Noticeable in the released budget is the projected increase in Big Ten conference distribution. Michigan is expected to receive $51.1 million in 2018, a substantial increase from $36.3 million during the 2017 fiscal year, in large part because of the Big Ten’s new television contract.

“(We have) higher than anticipated conference distribution, higher than anticipated licensing revenue with the addition of Nike and Jordan Brand, who have been great partners of ours,” Manuel said Thursday while addressing the Regents. “Much of this ($2 million surplus) is the result of the new conference television agreement, and you’ll see that we do have an increase in debt service with the buildings we’re building on South campus.”

Manuel praised Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and the conference athletic directors and presidents for the television contract.

“The amount of support that you see on the budget report really contributes to the success of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the field of play, so it is very, very helpful to us in terms of the impact on the budget,” Manuel said after the meeting, referring to the $51.1 million from the conference.

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The budget projects operating revenues of $182.4 million and operating expenses of $180.4 million. Total operating expenses are projected to increase approximately 5 percent from the 2017 fiscal year, and included is a $4 million transfer to a deferred maintenance fund used to provide athletic facilities upkeep and rehab.

Because of Michigan’s neutral-site season-opener vs. Florida at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, this fall, other revenues are projected to increase to $12.8 million in 2018 from $7 million last year.

Football spectator admissions will drop slightly to $43.1 million in 2018 from $48.9 million last year reflecting Michigan’s six-game home football schedule this fall compared to an eight-game schedule last year.

“We had a slight increase in non-student tickets,” Manuel said. “We have had tremendous support from our season-ticket holders and our donors, which also contribute greatly to what we do with our student-athletes and our programs. All in all, I’m very pleased at where we are. We continue to watch over costs and be good stewards of the funds.”