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Tennessee Vols football sets new financial record in FY2023
Credit: © Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee Vols football sets new financial record in FY2023

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (BVM) – The University of Tennessee athletic department has filed its annual financial report to the NCAA for the 2023 fiscal year.

The 80-page filing for fiscal year 2023 covers the reporting year from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Many can recall this was during Josh Heupel’s second season as he led the Volunteers to an 11-2 record, including a win in the Orange Bowl. 

Here are the takeaways regarding Tennessee football’s revenue, expenses and profits. 

Revenue

Tennessee athletics has joined the $200 million revenue club for the first time in history; the department as a whole generated $202,097,305 in total operating revenue in FY2023. This is a massive jump from the $154.6 million that the school brought in during FY2022. 

Few college athletic departments have joined the milestone $200 million revenue club; the previous fiscal year (2022) included only Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, Michigan and Georgia.  

The football program particularly made huge financial strides in FY2023. Tennessee football set a new record in FY2023 for the most revenue generated in its program’s history, according to Knoxville News. Football generated $134.9 million in revenue, which is 67% of the department’s total revenue. Only 29 D-I schools surpassed this revenue mark last year. Notably, football generated $99.1 million in revenue in FY2022. 

The spike in revenue can be mostly attributed to a few different categories. For example, football raked in $31.5 million in ticket sales in FY2023, which is $4.7 million more in comparison to FY2022. Football nearly doubled its revenue from game programs, novelties, parking and concession sales ($4.6 million in FY2022 to $8.8 million in FY2023). Football revenue from royalties, licensing, advertisement and sponsorships rose by $5.3 million to reach $18.2 million. 

Expenses

Tennessee athletics across all sports spent $191,032,519 in total operating expenses in FY2023. This is by far the most that the athletic department has spent in history; in FY2022, the department expensed $157.1 million. 

The Tennessee football program, in particular, spent 31% of the department’s expense budget by using up $59.1 million. In comparison, football’s expenses totaled $47.2 million back in FY2022. 

One notable expense is the $4.9 million increase between FY2022 to FY2023 for head and assistant football coaching salaries, benefits and bonuses. Team travel for football (lodging, meals, air and ground travel) increased by almost half a million dollars. Football recruiting totaled $2.6 million, which is 61% of the university’s recruiting budget. 

Profits 

The Tennessee athletic department as a whole posted $11,064,786 in profits during FY2023, which is a stark comparison to the department deficit they faced in FY2022 (-$2.5 million). 

Football’s profits in FY2023 totaled an astounding $75.8 million, which is a $23.9 million increase from the prior reporting year. Maybe the Volunteers can crack the list of the most profitable college football teams, but it won’t be clear until data on all of the teams is readily available. 

Overall, football was one of only two profitable teams for the Volunteers; men’s basketball made $5.5 million in profits in FY2023.