Florida approves record budget
Times may be tough, but the University of Florida Athletic Association remains a thriving business.
The UAA’s Board of Directors on Wednesday approved a $96.4 million budget for the 2010-2011 year, an increase of $5.7 million.
As part of its continuing efforts to give back during lean times for state universities, the UAA will once again donate $6 million to the university to help with its general scholarship needs. The UAA has been donating to the school since 1990, but it’s the second consecutive year the figure has been $6 million.
“We’ve always done that (give back),’’ Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “The bottom line is we’re all in this thing together. This is a separate entity on paper, but we’re part of the institution. We have an enterprise that most years generates dollars because of a very generous fan base, because of a league that generates significant dollars and because of the success of our teams. So when you’re in a posture where you can assist the university, that’s part of our mission.’’
Florida’s unprecedented athletic success helped generate more than $105 million in revenue last year, about $15 million more than projected in last year’s budget. The Gators won seven SEC titles and two national championships (women's swimming, men's indoor track) and had a school-record 14 teams finish in the top 10 in the nation, nine in the top five.
"It's been a tremendous performance by our coaches and our athletes,'' Foley said.
An increase in football single-game ticket prices from $40 to $45 is expected to generate $685,000 more in revenue and the UAA anticipates about $2.2 million more in booster contributions.
“The way this organization operates, it is a well-run machine,’’ Florida president Bernie Machen said.
Florida will receive about $17.5 million from football ticket sales, $2 million from basketball ticket sales and $4.8 million from licensing agreements. Its biggest contribution will come from Gator Boosters Inc. ($36 million, up $2.2 million). The Gators will also receive $15 million from bowl games and TV contracts.
Machen said the SEC’s lucrative television contract with CBS and ESPN has been a windfall for SEC schools.
“We've had a very successful year in the league,’’ Machen said. “This is the first year of our new television contract during which our revenue to member schools went up 58 percent to each school. It's a 15-year contract, which we are very pleased about. All signs are positives, the ratings are up. ESPN gave us a glowing report of the increased viewership they have experienced as a result of this contract. I would say the level of comraderie and support amongst the 12 SEC schools is the highest in the seven years since I've been here.’’