ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a bright spot for Lobo Athletics after years of budget woes. The department just reached another ‘in the black’ fiscal year; taking in more money than they budgeted to use. News 13 spoke with the deputy athletic director about what’s behind the surplus.
Overall, UNM Athletics brought in tens of millions last year—the biggest driver being men’s basketball. When asked how the fiscal year 2023 went for the Athletics Department, Assistant Vice President and Deputy Director of Lobo Athletics David Williams tells News 13, that it went great. In this case, it means the department pulled in about a million dollars more than expected between July of last year through June 2023.
“The total revenue for the department oversold to $37 million dollars,” Williams said, “We had more expenses than we thought were coming as well, and so our total budget was in the black by roughly $300,000 dollars.”
This profitable budget year is rare for Lobo Athletics. Back in 2018, the department had to axe three sports teams. The department says this is the sixth year they’ve finished ‘in the black.’ However, this is only the second time the university has not had to ask for extra funds from the state to fill a budget deficit.
Williams credits the overage mainly to the men’s basketball team’s early season win streak. The team sold out The Pit twice for the first time since 2015 and had seven games that brought in around 15,000 fans. “A sell-out crowd for us in Men’s Basketball is worth roughly $200,000 dollars in single-game sales,” Williams says.
The Athletic Department says that’s where they found the Lobo’s highest earnings—half a million more than expected. “Men’s Basketball ticket sales alone reached $3.8 million dollars and we projected $3.3 [million dollars],” Williams says.
In turn, those ticket sales helped bring in more money in other ways, too. “Things like merchandising—we sell more gear. Things like licensing and concessions, and parking. All those revenue streams were up as well; but that all comes back to the success we had in Men’s Basketball,” Williams said.
So, what do these good finances mean for the next budget year? “It’s a total new projection on what we think we’re going to be able to take in from a revenue standpoint but also trying to project those expenses and the hope is to be in the black again next year at this time,” Williams said, adding that the Lobo Club fundraising also had a banner year: bringing in more than $9 million dollars.
UNM’s Athletic Department already has money rolling in this fiscal year—Lobo Football is heading to Texas A&M this weekend for their first game of the season which will payout $1.6 million to the department just for playing.