You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 8 p.m.

Michigan athletic department projects revenues to top $100 million in 2010-11

By Brian Vernellis

Aided by the expansion of Michigan Stadium, the University of Michigan athletic department projects its revenues for the 2011 fiscal year will top the $100 million mark for the first time.

Athletic director David Brandon highlighted the department’s 2011 budget to the U-M Board of Regents on Thursday, forecasting another operating surplus for the department.

Brandon anticipates total revenues of $105 million against total operating expenses of $100.3 million for an operating surplus of $4.7 million. It would be the department’s 10th consecutive year of finishing with a surplus.

The largest category of the 2011 budgeted revenue, $38.2 million, is derived from spectator admissions. Big Ten distributions and payouts will net the department $20.2 million. Premium seating sales at Michigan Stadium are expected to generate $11 million.

“Our budget is a fairly conservative one on the revenue side because it’s based on no further improvement in terms of our premium seat sales,” Brandon told the Board of Regents. “We’ve already had some further improvement since this budget was prepared.”

Brandon said 75 percent of Michigan Stadium’s luxury suites are sold for the 2010 season.

“We‘re kind of at that moment where people start thinking about football in the fall,” Brandon said. “We can take them up there, and they can actually see what the facility looks like because its 90 percent completed.

“We have a lot of interest being shown. We’ve been giving a lot of tours.”

However, one less home football game on the 2010 schedule means $4 million in lost revenue.

As the $226 million renovation of Michigan Stadium winds down, Brandon discussed future developments.

“We’re looking at some updates and enhancements to Yost ­- bleachers, the concession areas, the circulation space, lighting,” Brandon said. “And we’re looking at some real interesting things as it relates to the scoreboard and technology in all of our venues, including the football stadium.

“We’re in a situation where one of the things we have to attend to at some point in the future would be update the technology because there’s HD technology, bigger screens and higher resolution that our fans would really enjoy.”

With the 2010 fiscal year ending on June 30, the athletic department projects an operating surplus of $16.1 million.

The athletic department will also transfer $2 million to the university’s general fund, an increase from its $1.6 million transfer in 2010.

Brian Vernellis is a reporter for He can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 734-623-4617.



Fri, Jun 18, 2010 : 9:14 a.m.

Tater: Correction: the premium seating is in no way "making the difference between surplus and deficit." That's just plain wrong. There was a big surplus last year. The 2011 budget surplus is, in fact, MUCH smaller. And that big drop in the surplus is because the 2011 budget (for the first time) includes debt amortization on the Lux Box project -- in the amount of $8.8 million. Moreover, 6-8 of the Lux Boxes are rented to UM "in-house family" (ie, UM sub-corporations, like the hospital) -- which is, in effect, a mechanism for the athletic operation to be SUBSIDIZED by the academic side.


Fri, Jun 18, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

Correction to story and comments: the premium seating is NOT responsible for surplus in the 2011 budget; in fact, it is responsible for the large REDUCTION IN BUDGET SURPLUS [as compared to the surplus in the prior year budget.] This is because the 2011 budget includes, for the first time, $8.8 million in debt service to pay the interest on debt assumed because of the Lux Box construction.


Fri, Jun 18, 2010 : 2:13 a.m.

Wow sarcastically spoken

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 11:07 p.m. is the Michigan State athletic budget looking? Have they saved up enough money to cover the rust stained concrete on "Spartan Stadium"?

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 11:04 p.m. is the Michigan State athletic budget looking? Have they saved up enough money to cover the rust stained concrete on "Spartan Stadium"?


Thu, Jun 17, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

What is actually means is that the university is taking care of the fans so they can enjoy the game experience at the highest level. It's not Michigan's fault that tens of thousands more fans want to see a game at the Big House than any other stadium in the country on football or lose, and there will be much more wins to enjoy in 2010. GO BLUE!