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Volume 25 No. 198

Colleges

KU has already nearly matched last year’s season-ticket total seven months before the season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Kansas' hiring of Les Miles as its football coach "appears to have already made an impact," as AD Jeff Long said KU has sold more than 9,000 season tickets for '19, according to Jesse Newell of the K.C. STAR. The number of season tickets sold is 97% of the total KU "secured last season." The numbers are "especially promising because of the timing." Last year, KU had "not made an option available in February for football renewals and new ticket sales." Long said that this year the school "opened the process earlier." He said that the results have been "positive so far," with KU "nearly matching last year’s season-ticket total with seven months left before the season." The potential ramifications "are significant." According to the school’s financial documents released for FY '18, KU brought in $3,987,802 in football ticket revenue, compared to $15,855,254 from men’s basketball. KU Deputy AD/External Engagement Chris Freet said that 81% of KU’s football season-ticket holders from last season "had renewed." While it was "difficult to compare year-over-year numbers," KU’s belief is that it is about 25-30% ahead of the last few years’ pace (K.C. STAR, 2/8).

HOOKING FANS IN: Texas AD Chris Del Conte said that football season-ticket prices would "remain frozen for a fourth straight year even as the program’s trajectory tracks upward." In Austin, Brian Davis notes the UT athletic department also "streamlined the actual pricing itself, doing away with different price models for renewing season ticket holders and new ticket buyers." For '19, there is "only one price for each seat." However, Davis notes UT is "raising the price of single-game tickets" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 2/8).

At both the Univ. of North Carolina and N.C. State, the state’s only two public institutions in the ACC, the "growth in coaching compensation is outpacing even the considerable growth in revenue, which continues to push athletic department budgets at major conference schools to record levels," according to Andrew Carter of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. UNC last month reported a record $104.6M in athletic department revenue during FY '18. NCSU meanwhile, reported $88M. However, while revenue continues to increase, so do costs, with "rising coaching compensation leading athletic department expenses at both schools." Five years ago, at the end of FY '13-14, head coaches in 15 sports at UNC and NCSU received more than $150,000 in annual compensation, including salary, benefits and bonuses. By the end of the most recent full fiscal year, head coaches of 32 teams at both schools made more than $150,000 annually in full compensation. At UNC, coaching compensation increased by 39.1% in the past five years. At NCSU, it grew by 28%. At both schools, athletic department revenue has grown by approximately 25% during the past five years. Expenses during that span "have soared" due to coaching compensation. UNC AD Bubba Cunningham said that increasing coaching salaries "has been among his priorities in recent years." Over the past five years football coaching compensation, for both head coaches and their staffs, increased 45% at NCSU and UNC. At UNC, head coaches in four sports -- women’s lacrosse, women’s tennis, field hockey and wrestling -- "more than doubled their compensation in the past five years" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 2/7).