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June 17, 2011

USC Projects Almost $80 Million In Revenues

Increasing revenue streams, particularly from the SEC, should keep South Carolina on solid financial footing for the next 12 months.

USC projects total athletic department revenues of $79.04 million - including Colonial Life Arena operations - for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year starting Sept. 1st, USC Athletics Chief Financial Officer Jeff Tallant told the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees on Friday.

USC has generated $76.92 million in total athletic department revenues during the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year.

One of the biggest eye-openers was the sum being paid by USC to bring Navy to Williams-Brice Stadium for the non-conference home opener on Sept. 17.

The Midshipmen will receive a guarantee of $950,000 for their weekend visit to Columbia.

The IAC unanimously approved the 2011-2012 budget by voice vote without a hint of dissension.

As usual, one of the primary reasons for USC's rise in revenues is another expected record payout from the SEC office. USC's payout from the SEC for the 2010-2011 FY was $18.4 million, slightly above the average of $18.3 million, Tallant told Gamecock Central.

USC has typically received a slightly higher distribution compared to their SEC rivals based on their willingness to play a Thursday night home game on ESPN. Last year, USC squared off with Southern Miss on Thursday night in the national season opener.

The largest revenue source for USC remains ticket sales, which account for $19.25 million, approximately 24.4 percent of the department's total projected revenues. The estimation represents slight increase over the 2010-2011 FY.

Football admissions continue to represent an overwhelming majority (87 percent) of ticket sales. The three major men's sports (football, basketball and baseball) account for about 99 percent of all athletic ticket revenues at USC.

USC expects to sell an average of 55,000 seats for each 2011 home football game to the general public, Tallant said

The highest grossing home football game in 2010 is projected to be Clemson ($3.92 million) followed closely by Florida ($3.56 million). Those are the only home contests expected to surpass the $3 million threshold, though Auburn ($2.95 million) is forecasted to come close.

However, because USC contributes about 10 percent of gross ticket sales from the Clemson game to university scholarships and pays the Tigers a guarantee of $250,000 (the Tigers pay USC the same amount in even numbered years), the contest expected to produce the highest net yield for the school is Florida ($3.21 million) followed by Clemson ($2.99 million).

The lowest yield? Navy, of course. Because USC is paying almost $1 million to the Midshipmen, the net profit from the Sept. 17 home opener is expected to be about $650,000.

The second largest revenue source is the SEC. The USC athletic dept. has conservatively estimated the school's payout next year at $17.7 million, while the Gamecock Club is projected to bring in $12.24 million into the athletic department's coffers, while premium seat licenses (YES Program) should amount for about $3.94 million.

The school should see an increase in payouts from Under Armour in accordance with a new six-year $19 million apparel contract expected to be finalized soon with the company.

USC received $1.5 million from the SEC because Auburn played in the BCS national championship game, Tallant said.

All of the funds generated from the YES program are utilized for improvements to athletic facilities, USC officials said.

USC plans to transfer about $13.37 million to the university, including $9.07 million for athletic scholarships and $1.75 million from TV monies received from the SEC and ESPN. Just as it does every two years, the home football game against Clemson on Nov. 26 will benefit the university's scholarship fund, and the athletic department expects to transfer $619,800 to the school for that purpose.

The largest expenses for the athletic department include salaries and benefits for athletic department employees ($24.52 million), scholarships ($9.07 million), general and administrative ($7.61 million), team travel ($4.31 million), game services ($3.54 million), supplies and equipment ($3.78 million) and guarantees ($2.24 million).

Payments on the school's debt service are projected to total $4.46 million in FY 2011-2012. Total athletic department debt should rise to about $128 million when the bonds are issued for the football practice facility improvements and the significant upgrades to the softball stadium. Those two projects - both of which have received Phase I approval - are expected to cost a combined $9.5 million.

USC projects total expenditures and transfers at $78.38 million for a gross profit of $658,507. Those monies will be transferred to the department's reserve fund, which is expected to total $12.04 million by this time next year, an increase of 5.7 percent.

Since Hyman took over as athletic director at USC on July 1, 2005, the USC athletic department has adopted zero-based budgeting.

PROJECTED SOURCES OF ATH. DEPT. REVENUE IN 2011-2012
Ticket Sales - $19.25 million
SEC Payout - $17.7 million
Gamecock Club - $12.24 million
Other Revenue - $11.63 million*
Gifts and Donations - $6.41 million
Seat Licenses (YES) - $3.94 million
Student Fees - $2.21 million
Guarantees - $305,000.

* Includes licensing and royalty payments, Under Armour, ISP, marketing, merchandising, etc.

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