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Taking A Look At Penn State Athletics’ Latest Financial Statements

Wake up, babe. New financials just dropped.

After conducting a sophisticated analysis of Penn State’s financial statements, we are back to look at its athletic department’s most recent numbers. Penn State Athletics issued its FY 2021 annual financial report to the NCAA on January 15, 2022.

Similar to the university, Penn State Athletics’ fiscal year ends on June 30, meaning that the latest report captures all financial data (it’s really just its income statement) between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. This report reflects the seasons that were drastically altered by the pandemic, as fans were not allowed to attend most events, which would naturally decrease ticket sales and overall revenue. So, let’s take a look at the dough.

Let’s start with the number that is the main source of the department’s revenue: ticket sales. Penn State Athletics reported -$1,028,999 in ticket sales for FY 2021, compared to $43.01 million in FY 2020. More specifically, football had -$1,048,793, as opposed to $37,610,755 the year prior.

“But wait. How can you have negative sales?” you might ask.

There must have been an underlying cost to ticket sales, such as fees or returned tickets, that Athletics still incurred. Even though the financials don’t specify exactly what that cost is, it does say that revenue received from ticket sales includes shipping and handling fees. So, it could be safe to assume that Athletics could have paid some sort of fee, even though virtually no tickets were sold.

The teams that generated the most revenue from ticket sales were men’s and women’s lacrosse, bringing in $7,490 and $7,340, respectively. Next up was wrestling, bringing in $4,210. For comparison, wrestling sold $1,082,338 in tickets in FY 2020.

It might be hard to put all of these numbers into perspective, so we broke out good ol’ Tableau to make some graphs for you.

Wow, that’s a steep drop!

Athletics ended up reporting $106,159,518 in total operating revenue for FY 2021, which is about 35.69% less than when it reported $165,077,390 in FY 2020. Its biggest source of revenue came from media rights, which came out to $31,712,953. That number is down 24.73% from when Athletics made $42,131,461 from media rights in FY 2020. Besides the football team’s $27.3 million revenue from media rights, men’s basketball ranked the second-highest in that category, raking in almost $5 million.

As expected, Penn State football generated the most revenue out of all teams in the department with $41,506,297 in FY 2021, which is down 59.22% from FY 2020 when the team took in $101,791,729.

One number that didn’t change much for Penn State Athletics was the Athletic Student Aid it awarded. In FY 2021, Athletics reported $21,290,346 in student aid, which includes scholarships and tuition discounts. The number is virtually the same as FY 2020 when the department reported $21,673,848.

Here’s an interesting topic: coaching salaries! The department spent $32,123,782 on its coaches’ paychecks in the most recent fiscal year.

Another line item that significantly dropped from the prior year is recruiting expenses, as the department spent $836,322 on recruiting in FY 2021, a 65.78% drop from FY 2020 when Nittany Lions coaches dropped over $2.44 million on recruiting. This expense includes all costs associated with recruiting an athlete, such as transportation, lodging, and meals for prospective student-athletes.

Team travel expenses also decreased from FY 2020. The department dropped $5.32 million on team travel in FY 2021, after spending $7.05 million in the prior year. Notably, men’s basketball spent almost $100,000 more on team travel than football in FY 2021.

An interesting thing to note on Athletics’ financials is also expenses associated with Penn State football’s trip to the 2019 Cotton Bowl. In FY 2020, the team spent $2.84 million on its trip to Dallas, which includes travel, meals, lodging, and even uniforms. In addition, the team spent $662,048 on coaches’ compensation bonuses for making the bowl game.

Finally, with $130,050,505 in total operating expenses, Penn State Athletics reported a net operating loss of -$23,890,987 in FY 2021. The department reported a net operating income of $7,169,079 for FY 2020. The football team made up $5,437,140 of FY 2021’s net income, which is significantly down from $53,023,119 in the prior year.


Unfortunately, the reports didn’t include any information on Penn State Athletics’ balance sheet or cash flows, so we can’t break out our handy calculators and figure out how much the program is worth as a whole.

If you want to learn more and dive deeper into Penn State Athletics’ finances, you can find its annual reports online. We’ll be back next January when Athletics releases its FY 2022 annual report.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected].

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