Rise in UT football ticket prices helps balance budget

The financial forecast for the University of Tennessee's Athletic Department next fiscal year had at one time this spring called for a $3 million shortfall - the result of more money for debt payments, higher salaries mandated by the state, and higher costs for travel and operation of its facilities.

Since that gloomy prediction, UT has closed the gap - mainly by raising ticket revenues for its 2009 budget.

Included is a new $90 charge to students for season football tickets, or $15 per game if purchased on a game-by-game basis. Previously, students could obtain tickets for free with a valid student ID.

The hunt for new revenue also included a $19 jump in nonstudent season-ticket prices and a 30 percent reduction in tickets discounts for faculty and staff.

The result: UT officials will present a balanced $87 million Athletic Department budget at a 3 p.m. hearing today at Tac-Air at McGhee Tyson Airport.

The 2009 budget preparation follows a year of increasing revenues and expenses for the Athletic Department.

Performance and salary payouts were higher than projected because the football team did better than predicted by the Athletic Department, for example. The university budgets for the payouts each year.

"We try to be realistic about where we think the teams will be," said Bill Myers, senior associate athletic director.

Revenues are projected to come in about $3 million higher for the fiscal year ending June 30, the result of more donations to men's and women's programs, higher ticket revenue from Vols and Lady Vols basketball games, and a boost in marketing and media rights revenues.

Ticket revenues alone account for about $500,000 of that amount.

But expenses also are on track to run higher than planned by about $3 million for this fiscal year coming to a close, according to Myers.

About a third of that can be attributed to increased maintenance and construction costs, some of it related to Thompson-Boling Arena and Pratt Pavilion.

For instance, installation of the hardwood floors at Pratt Pavilion, a basketball practice facility, totaled $300,000 - a sum that wasn't included in the state contract to build it. Utility costs also were up $200,000 to $300,000.

Other projected expense overruns relate to higher-than-planned costs for scholarships as well as increasing credit card and online processing fees.

Myers said more people are making donations and buying tickets with credit cards and online, which resulted in higher credit card company fees of about $150,000 to $200,000.

UT had to pay out about $200,000 more in salary and performance payouts, mostly because the Vols went to Atlanta for the SEC football championship. UT initially budgeted about $1.4 million for that category.

Of the 2008 revenue, an estimated $2.82 million is earmarked for the Knoxville campus for scholarships, debt service payments on five parking garages, and for Gibbs Hall.

One potential revenue stream that has not yet been approved for the UT Athletic Department is the sale of alcohol at public events at Thompson-Boling Arena. Alcohol would not be sold at university sporting events.

The Faculty Senate this week asked Interim Chancellor Jan Simek to consider the formation of a task force to review a policy on the sale of alcohol at public non-UT events at the arena, a proposal that Athletic Department officials project would bring in $450,000 in new funds.

"We would like to think it over and study it before it goes into effect," said John Nolt, president-elect of the Faculty Senate.

Nolt said the task force should have broad representation, to include faculty and staff in UT's student affairs offices and faculty with expertise on alcohol-abuse issues. Faculty Senate leaders also want the UT Police Department represented on the task force.

Darren Dunlap may be reached at 865-342-6334.

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Comments » 95

Silent_Fulmer writes:

whatever pays the bill to Foolmore's Jackson Hole, WY residence.

The vol fans are willing to keep the great pumpkin happy.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

UT had to pay out about $200,000 more in salary and performance payouts, mostly because the Vols went to Atlanta for the SEC football championship.

Nothing like having to pay more $ for backing into a SEC title game that we lost to yet another backup QB in.

Silent_Fulmer writes:

It's a good thing that Foolmore is not going to talk to the press about the school raising ticket prices while goals laid out by Hamilton 6 years ago are still not being met.

Rest assured if Basketball ticket prices were raised Pearl would be doing a grassroots campaign to probably raise the money himself or offer to donate some of his salary. Speaking of, Pearl was mentioned on helping the football team with a recruits school he was at last week.

Foolmore? He'll be in Jackson Hole all summer if you need him.

burntorangeVOLffle writes:

Fulmer donated $1 million dollars last summer.

danthemanwells#1340833 writes:


you just posted 3 posts in a row, all saying the same thing. you don't like fulmer. we get it. new topic

govolsfan#214750 writes:

So heres the kicker, once the dang budget is balanced from this years increase in tickets, are the prices going to drop back down next year? NO!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Fulmer did donate the million only after Bruce did.

newtonrail writes:

Pearl hasn't donated a million. He and his ex wife set up scholy in Bradshaw's name that is funded at $100,000., but far be it from me to spoil your kicking Fulmer party. What's wrong with Fulmer going out to Cleveland's own Alan Jones' Ranch in Jackson Hole? Whether you hate him or not, doesn't he get a vacation? To get back to report, why is the AD pushing us to buy Tickets, etc. online, if credit card costs are higher. I'll be glad to go back to mailing in check for ducats.

jelyhupla writes:

Backing in? Parcels said, "You are what your record says." I doesnt matter how you do it.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Lemme see, we give up a 100 to Fla (bowl game loser) and Bama (no one drafted by NFL)and Mikey rewards us by gouging again.

Hope I get my new and thicker orange-colored glasses. My sheep marching order plan has kool-aid spilled on it. I think for $39.95 they'll send another.


Is this a great country or what?

invisiblekid writes:

After hearing this news, I can now sleep again.

rusty_shackleford writes:

With all apologies to old fashioned rock and roll...

Here comes the haters, 1-2-3.
They're all part of UT's family.
They love to piss, and they love to moan.
"If you ain't perfect then you're on your own."

It's all part of tuscaloosa john's fantasy.
It's all part of tuscaloosa john's dream.

TommyJack writes:

PD: You got a spare "I beat Adams" t-shirt, 2x?
Need to spread the word out here.

richvol writes:

"The football team did better than the athletic department expected. We didn't budget for performance bonuses because we try to be realistic." Please...in view of all the debate about the football program that's the first excuse they want to put out there? Who was thinking here? You want to up front admit that expectations are low for the football program? This department needs a first class public relations company to generate press releases that don't make us look ridiculous. All you boys who are thinking about coming to school here be sure to read the athletic department offical position on the expectation for the football team. Genius!

Volalumnus writes:

Way too much not to like in this article.
Things better turn around soon or it will be more than one person's job. It appears the A Dept couldn't handle a lower turnout season right now and fans are not going to be excited about having to pay more for less.
Except for Pearl, Mike Hamilton is lost in the wilderness, handing out blank checks to goat herders for sand when he needs water.

GreerVol22 writes:

And to think, all Phil had to do was to lose one more game in the East and we would have been on budget. Imagine the egg on Bill Myers face the day we found out we were going to Atlanta.

Seems to me, if the Athletic directors staff doesn't have enough faith in the team and coaches to budget an Atlanta trip then why are we in business? We need a change at the top, eh Adams?

BigOrangeHustler writes:

Nice Rusty, there's nothing like a good Bad Company remake.

99gator writes:

what is the face value for tenn tix per game?

got the florida season ticket order form (for road games) and the tenn ticket was the most expensive.....$70.

are all tenn game tickets priced at $70.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

TJ, I do have 2 or 3 t-shirts with that very design. But man, they set the bar on downright ugly. No way around it.

But a mama warthog loves it young. I try to get one out to ye. Is it Genl Delivery, Boerne, Tx or email me correct direction. Be specific, such as "3 doors down from Lone Star sign", etc.

Anyway we can up the deficit to 5 mil with a stirring 7-5 year?


99gator--for season tickets the UT tickets average about $43 to $44. For individual games, not in a season package, they will average more. The Florida and Bama games are the most expensive for individual tickets with Northern Illinois and Wyoming being the least expensive. all others fall in the middle, but closer to the low end. I bought my season tickets about 3 weeks ago, so I may be off a dollar or two, but I'm not off by much.


I just found my season ticket order receipt and I paid $630.00 total for two season tickets. $45 per game with 7 home games.

What's bad is that I paid $52.00 each ticket for the Tennessee game at Vandy.

tigervol9802 writes:

Wait a minute.

You are telling me that the athletic department's expectations of this team were lower than three embarassing defeats and a choke job in Atlanta? 10-4 is now better than expectations?

Yet Hamilton is still in line to give Fulmer a raise later this summer, putting him somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million?

Am I the only one who doesn't think that quite adds up?

JWilly writes:

"The football team did better than the athletic department expected. We didn't budget for performance bonuses because we try to be realistic." Aparently the athletic dept. powers that be do not have much confidence in Fulmer either.

bigbluevol writes:

newtonrail, you're right he does get a vacation of which he will spend maybe 2 weeks there, then be back working. Someone talked about Pearl helping with a football recruit and Fulmer doing nothing. Just a reminder that the NCAA changed the rules and head coaches are no longer allowed to travel for recruiting purposes in the spring period. See all the articles on this very site about Saban complaining about the rule change.

blhvols#536551 writes:

I agree with the other poster, I'll be glad to mail a check to reduce credit card costs. Also, how can you under budget for the championship game. You know the salaries and the bonus agerrments!!! How does the state mandate an athletic departments salary increase? Sounds as though we have a very loose control of managing and setting a budget. Whose in charge and whose head is going to be had for this calamity. These are excuses and poor management on Hamiltons part!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I guess getting an additional couple million from a BCS bowl wouldn't help matters any right Foolmore?

BigOrangeJeff writes:

First of all, how many of you whining idiots predicted the team would finish third or lower in the SEC East? I'd wager that number would be somewhere close to 100%. So what does that tell us?

Secondly, had they budgeted for this scenario, then last year's budget wouldn't have been balanced and the increase would have come in 2007.

Third, had they announced last season that tickets were going up because they were budgeting for the costs and bonuses associated with the SECCG trip, you guys would have been screaming from the rooftops that they had no idea what they were talking about, that expectations were unrealistic, etc.

Once again, the UTAD is damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Here's a question for any/all of you know-it-alls. You're now the AD. What do you do to fix the budget problem? And be specific, don't just say "Fire Fulmer!!!" You have to name his successor and the new OC/DC if you fire them, too.

What about it? Any of you big enough to step up?

volroadwarrior writes:

The Negative Nellies are like a flock of hens. Make a little noise and they all start clucking. Another article, positive or negative, cluck--cluck--cluck. They cluck if we win the East. They cluck when we lose a game. They cluck when we win a game. No matter what happens--cluck---cluck---cluck!!!!!!

waterskier3#226480 writes:

NOW IT ALL COMES TOGETHER..... expectations that are set from you boss, parent etc directly leads to the persons performance in what they do in life!!!! That's the reason CPF hasn't won a championship the admin doesn't expect him to win one so he's just living up to their expectations...

OMG... the more we learn about the admin the more we may need to clean house... let fulmer stay to beat neyland, no expectations for championships in football......... WTF??????????????

VenomousVol writes:

You all know we gotta keep Phil's salary competitive with other SEC coaches. If we don't somebody from another school or the NFL might come in here and steal him away from us.BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

VenomousVol writes:

VolRoadWarrior! What do the negative nellies do when we win a SEC championship? Nobody knows, hens don't live ten years.

GreerVol22 writes:

volroadwarrior....cluck you.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Big Orange Jeff, I really hope you don't expect people to know how to budget $97 million dollars without knowing anything other than the summary numbers they publish every year.

VolGraduate writes:

How is it possible to claim to be a UT fan but at the same time hate everything about the program??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

can you say champ chasers

tigervol9802 writes:

Big Orange Jeff -

1. Quit spending money like a drunken sailor to appease the top 2% of the donors by building unneded construction projects. This alone would probably solve 99% of the budget problems.

2. Not make any deals with start-up football gimmick leagues and then count on it to fix the budget shorages.

3. Charge a homer fee to folks like yourself who will praise Hamitlon and worhsip Fulmer for that national and SEC title he won 10 years ago.

VolGraduate writes:

quit crying girls...fulmer isn't going anywhere

Skibum165 writes:

I wish I could do the budget for my own finances like UT does! 200,000 more in salary and performance payments is only one side of the ledger. UT gets a cut of all of the Vol merchandise. That's game day shirts for the SEC title game. Appearance fees to both schools (minus teams expenses).
Increased TV revenue for the 2009. Not too shabby!

God help us if we go on a NC run deep into November. UT will come out with a special statement saying they are over budget for campus game day security due to increased fan support.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

It's kind of hard to go a deep run for a NC into November when you can't get out of September undefeated pretty much every year.

BigOrangeJeff writes:


I applaud your attempt at pleading your case. You did it unemotionally and, with a slight exception in bullet 3, without resorting to name-calling and insults. Unfortunately, your case doesn't appear to hold water.

1. This sounds more like opinion than fact. Where did you get your 99% number? Additionally, what projects are unnecessary? Upgraded facilities are necessary to attract the big money it takes to be competitive, not to mention the top recruits.

2. Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence. I've seen no evidence that supports your claim that they included these revenues in the 2008 budget. Apparently, however, you have. Can you provide a link... or are you just spouting an opinion again?

3. I have neither praised Hamilton nor worshipped Fulmer. I have only asked for specific, realistic, tangible alternatives to the status quo.

I applaud your attempt to respond. Usually, I get the standard "Anybody But Fulmer" response when I ask this.

Better luck next time,

Brama writes:

Somebody better rein Hamilton in or we are going to price ourselves out of having a fan base! I tired of seeing coaches get big raises for 8-4 seasons or a basketball coach reaching the sweet 16.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

BOJ, you can't do what you are asking people to do without the necessary information.

mjohnsonvols writes:

We suck we have always sucked and we will never be good. The NC year was just a gift from up above was not real just a dream.
Just trying to see how negative thoughts feel. I don't think I like it. I'm still going to have a little faith and take some jabs at workin and greer. Keep up the good work there HENS!

I will pay what ever to support the team I love no matter how bad we are.

VolGraduate writes:

i'm sure workinlikeheck is undefeated at everything he does...he is a true fair weathered fan

BigOrangeJeff writes:

So what you're saying is that you are unqualified to offer real solutions to the issues facing the UTAD.


pdhuff#552644 writes:

We'll be ok as long as Mikey H gets his "man-hug" in on Phil aka the romping of SC.

VolGraduate writes:

workinlikeheck smells like cabbage

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Actually BOJ, I have a $50 million dollar budget of my own to help forecast and budget for another institution. A ton of universities have a phooey load of dead weight on their staffs (not talking about any of the coaches) that could easily be cut and save a couple hundred thousand in salaries/benefits expense. For some reason though, we appear to do a better job than Mikey and the boys appear to do. You have to have all of the data to even attempt to budget, forecast, and manage an amount that large. To try and do so with no information like you are challenging people here to do is ignorant. Nobody could do it.

The problem is that they are probably not budgeting things wrong, it's that Hamilton is coming out in the public, trying to justify the increases with all these other things when he should probably just not say anything at all unless he wants to put all the numbers out there and tell everyone the whole story.

VolGraduate writes:


issue spotting doesn't require "all the data."

since you are a self-proclaimed budgeting expert what are some possible pitfalls in the budget?...beside the oh so vague "dead weight" comment?

BADGES0413 writes:

99gator, UT raised the individual game tickets for Alabama and Florida knowing it would only affect the AL and FL fans. They raised the price I think from $50 to $70 for the 10,000 seats we give to you. That was a quick $400,000 to help fix these so called budget woes.

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

I never said I was an expert. Like I said, you can't do this without looking at all the numbers/data that encompass the UTAD budget. Something tells me the annual financial statement summary and then information from Hamilton in a few articles that we can "issue spot" isn't quite enough information to accurately budget for next year.

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