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Volume 26 No. 207
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Memphis' Bottom Line Reaping Benefits Of Penny Hardaway Hire

In Hardaway's first year, Memphis' average attendance increased more than any other school
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
In Hardaway's first year, Memphis' average attendance increased more than any other school
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
In Hardaway's first year, Memphis' average attendance increased more than any other school
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Univ. of Memphis' decision to hire men's basketball coach Penny Hardaway has been an "undeniable financial boon" for the school, according to Mark Giannotto of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. During Hardaway's first season with the school last year, Memphis saw its average announced attendance at men's basketball games "increase more than any school in the country." In FY '19, Memphis brought in $7M "more in total revenue than it did" in '17. The increased revenue is "due in large part to an increase in ticket sales and donations, which were cited as the primary reasons behind former men's basketball coach Tubby Smith's firing after just two seasons." Meanwhile, Memphis football "brought in more total revenue than men's basketball for the third time in four years," but revenue from football "only increased slightly" last year. Total ticket sales have increased by nearly $2M since '17 and were up by more than $750,000 last year compared to '18. The revenue generated by men's basketball last year was about $6.74M, still almost $2M "less than what men's basketball brought in" during FY '12, when the program's revenue "reached an all-time high" of approximately $8.67M. The revenue the school received from royalties, licensing, advertisement and sponsorships "increased by more than $700,000" in '19. That is in part because the athletics department "received a partial payout of its $800,000 payment" from the Grizzlies as part of its lease agreement at FedExForum (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 2/13).