Penn State Hockey Becomes University’s Third Profitable Sport
Penn State Athletics’ revenue report from the 2013-14 fiscal year showed stabilizing profits for the full program after a fiscal year in which it lost almost $6 million, thanks in part to men’s hockey becoming the third Penn State sport to make a profit.
In its first season in Pegula Ice Arena, men’s hockey brought in a revenue of $993,392, joining football ($37,746,551) and men’s basketball ($4,853,510) as the only sports of Penn State’s 31 that generated a positive net revenue. On the whole, the athletic department finished the 2014 fiscal year with a net revenue of $150,351, perhaps a harbinger of greener times down the road for Penn State’s often-struggling athletic revenues.
Hockey’s revenue stream isn’t much of a surprise. It raised $1,583,027 in ticket sales in 2013-14, when it sold out 16 games. The Peg has sold out 13 more contests this year, meaning only two of its 31 men’s games have failed to sell out in its history. It also pulled in $585,184 in parking, concessions, and novelty sales, helped by its strong fan following. Most of the remainder of hockey’s revenue came from $1,620,939 in endowments.
“We had a very healthy reserve that we’ve now dug very deeply into,” said Athletic Director Sandy Barbour last month in discussing the sanctions’ effects on the athletic department. Since then, she’s received good news in the Big Ten’s restoration of Penn State’s bowl revenues. According to a press release, Penn State is expected to receive about $6 million in bowl revenue from the Big Ten in 2015-16, which should help accelerate revenues. In addition to the success of the hockey program, football’s 5 percent attendance increase also caused a boon in Penn State’s funds. Still, the department expects a net deficit in 2014-15, citing rising costs of operation, increased staff salaries, and the Croke Park Classic as factors draining its collective coffers.
“Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics continues to remain a healthy, self-supporting unit with the assistance of short-term borrowings that are being leveraged to financially bridge us into the future, when several revenue streams will return and increase,” said Barbour in the press release. “While we are still feeling some remaining financial impacts of the sanctions, we are beginning to see some encouraging indicators, including the bowl revenue in 2015-16, that will allow us to return to a sense of normalcy sooner than we had originally anticipated.”
Penn State isn’t so far removed from healthier earning years. It last made a profit in 2011-12 of $863,000, but in the year prior, it pulled in almost $15 million, according to PennLive.
You can peruse the revenue report for the whole department below.