UConn's athletic deficit grows by $2M, totals $42M

PAT EATON-ROBB (AP Sports Writer)

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- The University of Connecticut reported the gap between revenue generated by its athletic division and the cost of running its sports programs increased by another $2 million last year to $42.3 million.

The school released its annual fiscal report to the NCAA on Wednesday. It indicated expenses at $80.9 million in 2019, about the same as 2018.

Athletic programs generated $38.6 million in revenue. The school made up the difference using a direct subsidy to athletics of $33.5 million and $8.8 million in student fees, according to the report.

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The school's football program lost almost $13.3 million, generating just $3.3 million in revenue. Men's basketball lost $3.9 million. Women's basketball, a perennial power, had a deficit of almost $3.5 million.

UConn blamed the widening deficit on several factors, including declining conference and media licensing revenue, a decrease in ticket sales, along with rising costs. The school, which is in the process of moving most of its sports programs from the American Athletic Conference to the Big East, said it received about $4.2 million in conference revenue last year and just over $1 million in media rights revenue.

“The subsidized support increased largely due to a $1.4 million decrease in ticket sales and the renegotiated contract with Learfield IMG College (which owns the school's media and sponsorship rights), which remains a beneficial partnership for both parties,” the statement said.

The school said it cut payroll costs by about $1 million and saw an increase in athletics-related donations to the school from $10.4 million to $14.4 million in the last fiscal year.

The school projects the deficit will remain about the same in 2020, but projects revenue will increase and costs such as travel expenses will decline with the change in conferences.

UConn President Thomas Katsouleas, said this week the move should put the athletic program in a more fiscally competitive situation moving forward.

“We're currently not at a point where we're level with respect to our peers," he said. ”We'd like to come back to the center of the distribution in that regard and we're optimistic we will do that through new revenue generation in particular as we get into the Big East and we begin to have TV revenue from that, that it will help shrink that amount of subsidy that we have."

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