clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Financial Comparison: ACC Operational Budgets 2004-2005 to 2009-2010

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

We wanted to take some time this offseason to compare Clemson's operating revenues/expenses to other ACC universities and teams across the Southeast. Today we will focus solely on teams within our conference. I need to go ahead and point out that data for Boston College, Duke, Miami, and Wake Forest was not available. Private institutions can conceal theirs better, but we're digging. Additionally, 2009-2010 data for Maryland was not available. I'll go ahead and preface this article by saying that overall expenditure figures are not the end-all-be-all in terms of athletic success. We fully understand that you cannot solve core problems by simply throwing money at them. Cash outlays, however, can be used to upgrade facilities, establish better coaches/support staffs, provide more student athlete support, etc...

We have conducted reviews on similar topics in the past, comparing Clemson to UGa and Alabama from '07 to ‘08. We also put together an in-depth review of the Clemson IPTAY and athletic department budgets for 2010. The latter link provides line by line analysis of these budgets and is a good place to look if you want to know more specifics on financial topics. As in those articles linked, there are rather minor discrepances in figures. Clemson's figures provided directly from Katie Hill in our AD and IPTAY reports are what we're taking as gospel.

All data shown throughout this article was acquired through Here is the disclaimer they give to better explain how source data was attained.

"The data, updated for 2010, cover everything from ticket sales and university general fund support on the revenue side, to scholarships, salaries and game day costs on the expense side. These are the revenue and expense reports from more than 200 public schools in the NCAA's Division I that have an obligation to release the data. The others are private or are covered under a state exemption." -USA Today Staff

We need to begin this discussion by looking at Clemson's overall financial numbers since the 2004-2005 academic session. Table I (below) outlays expenses and revenue over this time period.

Table I: Clemson Athletic Department Budget 2004/05 to 2009/10








Ticket sales







Student fees





















Compensation and benefits provided by a third party







Direct state or other government support







Direct institutional support







Indirect facilities and administrative support







NCAA/conference distributions including all tournament revenues







Broadcast, television, radio, and internet rights







Program sales, concession, novelty sales, and parking







Royalties, licensing, advertisements and sponsorships







Sports camp revenues







Endowment and investment income














Subtotal operating revenue








Athletic student aid














Coaching salaries, benefits, and bonuses paid by the university and related entities







Coaching other compensation and benefits paid by a third party







Support staff/administrative salaries, benefits and bonuses paid by the university and related entities







Support staff/administrative other compensation and benefits paid by a third party







Severance payments














Team travel







Equipment, uniforms and supplies







Game expenses







Fund raising, marketing and promotion







Sports camps expenses







Direct facilities, maintenance, and rental







Spirit groups







Indirect facilities and administrative support







Medical expenses and medical insurance







Memberships and dues







Other operating expenses







Total operating expenses







Table II and Figure 1 (below) compare the overall operating expenses of Clemson to other ACC teams. On average, Florida State had the highest spending numbers over this time period with outlays of over $67 million. UNC and Virginia both spent over $60 million per year on average at $65.1 and $62.8 million. Clemson spent more money than NC State, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. Year over year, FSU and North Carolina were consistently the conference's highest spenders and NC State spent the least.

Click to embiggen.

Table II: Overall Operating Expenses


Figure 1: Overall Operating Expenses


Figure 2: Overall Annual Expenses Average Comparison

Table III and Figure 3 better illustrate how Clemson stacks up against the highest spenders, lowest spenders, and league average. Here, we found the difference between Clemson and the min, max and average by subtracting the min, max, and average from CU's annual expenses. As you can see, Clemson's biggest spending year compared to its competitors was 2007-2008. This was the only year that Clemson's outlays were greater than the ACC average. Years outside the '07-'08 academic year saw Clemson spending $13 to $20 million less than the ACC's highest spenders, $1.3 to $7.5 million less than the average, and $2.9 to $13.6 million more than the ACC's most thrifty schools.

Table III: Expense Delta, Clemson versus Min, Max, and AVG

Figure 3: Overall Annual Expense Difference

Revenue data is shown in Table IV and Figures 4 and 5 below. Clemson has lagged other ACC institutions in revenue creation. These differences were the greatest at the beginning and end of our sample period. Overall, Clemson, at $53.5 million per year, generated more average revenue than only Ga Tech and NC State over the course of this survey and were absolutely crushed, on average, by the likes of FSU ($70.5 million/year), UNC ($65.1 million/year), and UVa ($65.6 million/year). Virginia Tech, at $58.2 million/year, also has consistently outperformed the Tigers in terms of annual athletic department revenue generation.

Table IV: Overall Operating Revenues


Figure 4: Overall Operating Revenues

Figure 5: Overall Annual Revenues Average Comparison

We looked at Clemson's revenue generation compared to the yearly min, max, and average in Table V and Figure 6 below. Compared to the average, CU lagged behind by approximately $1.6 to $8.9 million per year. Clemson was behind the league maximum by $13.2 to $24.3 million over this time period. Overall, Clemson's most competitive academic year revenue generation performance was in 2008-2009 when the Tigers generated their highest dollar amount ($57.6 million) over the course of this survey.

Table V: Revenue Delta, Clemson versus Min, Max, and AVG


Figure 6: Overall Annual Revenue Difference

We wanted to show the expenses and revenue deltas on a common chart to show where Clemson stands when the two are combined. To assure you have perspective, a balanced budget occurs when Revenues equal Expenses. If revenue is greater than expenses, there is a surplus and if revenue is less than expenses you have a deficit. The layover of these items can be seen in Figure 7.

Figure 7: Overall Annual Revenue/Expenses Difference

Profit is defined as the difference between revenue and expenses. While I like to look at profits to give you a feel for revenues vs. expenses, I caution you to realize that this is a university's sports program and not a private entity.

Table VI and Figures 8, 9, and 10 show yearly profits as well as cumulative profits from '04 to '10 for each of the schools and the non-Clemson average. Items of interest include Virginia Tech's over $36 million surplus and Florida State's $20 million surplus, particularly when FSU spent more money than any other institution in this survey. Also of note is North Carolina's perfectly balanced budget and Maryland's huge deficit spending. Clemson ranks above only Ga Tech, Maryland, and UNC in terms of average profits and trails the overall average by nearly ten-fold.

Table VI: Operating Profits


Figure 8: Overall Annual Profits

Figure 9: Overall Average Annual Profits

Figure 10: Overall Profits for Each University 2004-2005 to 2009-2010

Overall, Florida State and North Carolina top the revenue and expenses lists. I suspect that two football national championships and a host of ACC football championships created the buzz in Tallahassee and UNC's traditional stronghold on the basketball court put them in this position. I was a little surprised by Virginia's balance sheet and very surprised with Virginia Tech's league leading surplus.

Compared to other ACC teams, Clemson must do a better job creating revenue. I am not a big fan of extreme deficit spending and being leveraged to the hilt. I would need to see revenue streams that would support more outlays before proposing further operational budget increases. I will admit that we did not look at IPTAY finances in this article and we think that IPTAY is in excellent position to financially support facility improvements if such an option was available.

We can agree on one key item: if we want to build nicer facilities, fund coaching/support staffs, and better expand the Clemson brand, we need to bring in more capital. We have discussed our displeasure with marketing attempts and a lack of effort by the university to pimp a good baseball program and an excellent facility in Beautiful Tiger Field. Clemson also has a relative lack of interest/fan support for a basketball program that is leaps and bounds better than it was 5-10 years ago. Clemson has to do better than they are doing now to get people out to baseball/basketball games and generate more fan support and overall revenue. We showcased this article a year ago to emphasize the marketing deficiencies within the athletics department and we have been clamoring for an improved marketing staff, more partnerships with outside companies, and an emphasis on better showcasing our baseball and basketball programs.

This topic is extremely important and we will continue to look at this topic with other non-ACC teams (Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, etc...) in a future installment.