Auburn athletics operated at a record $22.9 million profit in 2022: A look at the numbers
AUBURN — Auburn athletics made a record $22.9 million profit during the 2022 fiscal year, according to the annual NCAA financial report obtained by The Montgomery Advertiser/USA TODAY Network on Tuesday. The department's total operating revenue was $174,568,442, and the total expenses were $151,590,763.
The fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2021, and ended Sept. 30, 2022.
The $22,977,679 surplus is the highest mark in Auburn history, topping the previous high of $19.4 million in the 2008 fiscal year.
AU's top five most profitable years came in 2022 ($22.9 million), 2008 ($19.4 million), 2020 ($17.8 million), 2016 ($15.2 million) and 2017 ($14.6 million), according to data dating back to 2005.
The record-breaking numbers come one year after Auburn operated in the red for the first time since 2014. AU's revenue in 2021 was $123,546,999, while its expenses were $133,289,885, a $9.7 million deficit. This was despite the SEC giving a $23 million league-wide supplemental bailout to its members to help offset the financial impacts of the COVID pandemic.
It was only the third time since 2005 the athletics department had a negative profit: 2021 (minus-9.7 million), 2014 (minus-12.7 million) and 2005 (minus-3.9 million).
Here's a closer look at Auburn's numbers from the 2022 financial report:
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Football leads the way
It cost $52,254,829 to operate Auburn football in 2022, but the program had a revenue of $106,726,055, resulting in a $54.4 million net profit. The biggest avenues of revenue generation for football were ticket sales ($30,555,705), contributions ($30,202,470) and media rights ($27,037,455).
The largest expenses for the football program were coaching salaries, benefits and bonuses paid by the university and related entities ($12,395,895), severance payments ($7,830,703) and athletic student aid ($5,473,884).
Former coach Bryan Harsin was fired Oct. 31, 2022, so his buyout is not included in 2022's severance payments. Harsin was owed $15.575 million the moment Auburn fired him. Half of that was due within 30 days of him being relieved of his duties, with the rest split up into four annual installments paid every July 15.
How much did Bruce Pearl's basketball team make?
The Auburn men's basketball team reported a $3,194,269 net profit in 2022. Its total operating expenses were $13,813,576 and its total revenue landed at just over $17 million.
The $6,536,931 received in media rights was by far the program's most profitable revenue stream. Second was contributions at $3,794,957 and third was ticket sales at $2,299,783.
Ticket sales rebound, as expected
Due to the pandemic, Auburn's ticket sales during the 2021 fiscal year fell to $3,718,186. A year later, however, those sales recovered; the athletic department generated $34,140,396 in that category across all sports for 2022.
In the 2020 fiscal year, before the pandemic, Auburn had a ticket sales mark of $33,820,864.
The athletics department totaled $35,791,591 in contributions in 2022, up from $15,963,128.
Contributions, which can include cash and marketable securities, are amounts received from individuals, corporations, associations, foundations, clubs or other organizations designated for the operations of the athletics program. This number can also include funds contributed by outside contributors for the payment of debt service, lease payments or rental fee expenses for athletic facilities in the reporting year.
In 2020, contributions were reported at $33,282,017.
Contributions accounted for 28.3% of football's revenue in 2022 and 22.3% for men's basketball.
This data is collected by USA TODAY in partnership with the Knight-Newhouse Data project at Syracuse University.
USA TODAY'S Steve Berkowitz contributed to this report.
Richard Silva is the Auburn athletics beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @rich_silva18.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn athletics has record $22.9M profit in 2022: A closer look