Texas celebrates a win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 2019. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]


Powered by Sugar Bowl, Texas generated record $223.9 million in 2018-19 fiscal year

Athletic department logs a net profit of $16.5 million in a year where football ticket sales, donations were up

Posted January 25th, 2020


It’s astonishing how much money Texas athletics can generate when the football team is winning and coaches aren’t getting fired.

The Longhorns had another school record-setting fiscal year by generating $223.9 million in revenue in 2018-19, according to audited figures obtained by the American-Statesman.

Three years ago, UT athletics generated $214.8 million, and in 2017-18, it was up to $219.4 million, records show. The numbers just keep climbing higher and higher, and last year’s haul is still more than the $212.7 million rival Texas A&M generated in the same period, according to USA Today.


The Longhorns saw a downdraft in expenses, too. With the bulk of Charlie Strong’s buyout off the books, Texas spent $204.2 million.

Add in a $3.2 million transfer back to the university, and Texas athletics generated a net profit of $16,451,737 during the 2018-19 fiscal year. The figures were obtained through an open records request.

Each year, the Austin-based accounting firm of Maxwell Locke & Ritter audits the financial information for the Texas athletic department. It’s usually the same data set given to the NCAA for its annual reports.

The financial data sheds light on how Texas athletics spends its money, and it shows how well things are going when football is winning.

During the 2018-19 athletic year, the Longhorns were in the midst of a 10-4 season that ended with a Sugar Bowl victory. It’s no surprise, then, that football ticket sales were up ($42.5 million) over the previous year ($38.5 million). Annual donations were up to $39.7 million — a 5.6% increase over the previous year.

The Longhorns got $20.4 million in media rights payments, a figure largely built on $15 million from the Longhorn Network. UT took in $1.95 million in bowl revenues, which are split among the conference.

Severance payments dropped dramatically during the 2918-19 fiscal year, the audit shows. Texas paid out $7.25 million to Strong and others the previous year to finish their contract buyouts. Last year, the severance total dropped to $2.7 million.

One line item that Texas won’t mind paying: bowl bonuses. Texas paid out almost $800,000 in compensation to the coaching staff. After the 2017 season, coming off the Texas Bowl win, UT paid out just $159,400 in that area.

The rest of the audit shows figures that are largely expected at Texas. Men’s basketball and baseball are the only other net profitable sports, as has been the case for years. Men’s basketball had a net profit of $5.3 million; baseball was $1.6 million.

Overall, the Longhorns took in $48.3 million in donations and $47 million in licensing and royalties. Texas is typically among the best-selling merchandise brands in all of college athletics year after year.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.