SBD/November 5, 2013/Colleges

New Mexico State Hopes Football, Basketball Can Generate "Untapped" Revenue

New Mexico State Univ. "wants to move its athletics department from a financial loss to a winning streak" and is "counting on football and men’s basketball to get it there," according to Lauren Villagran of the ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL. A task force of department officials, local business people and boosters recently concluded those two sports "offer the most upside in terms of potential 'untapped' revenue." The school's plan includes "promoting the Aggies in southern New Mexico communities outside Las Cruces ... and luring students with prizes, a move that drew national media criticism but has delivered greater attendance." NMSU's men's basketball program is "in the black, having brought in close to half a million dollars last year that helped offset losses elsewhere," but football "is a tougher sell." NMSU President Garrey Carruthers has said that he "wants to raise ticket sales, boost donations and reverse a decline in crucial business sponsorships." NMSU Assistant Dir of News Justin Bannister said that athletics department sponsorships "have dropped" 27% over four years to $952,000 in fiscal year '12-13 from $1.3M in '08-09. The department last fiscal year brought in nearly $13.1M in revenue from "among other things, ticket sales, state appropriations and student fees," while expenses totaled $16.8M for an overall loss of $3.7M. That size loss is "not uncommon for a midmajor program." Deputy AD David McCollum said that average football game attendance "is up so far this season, to 15,956 from last season’s 9,639" (ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, 11/3).
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