Feature photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
We asked you, Bison Nation, to send us your questions about the NDSU athletic program and you answered the bell. Now it’s time for Bison Illustrated and NDSU Director of Athletics Matt Larsen to answer back. Where does NDSU stand financially? Should NDSU go to the FBS? These burning questions and more were proposed by you and Larsen has the answers.
Read Part 1 of our 4-part series here.
Editor’s Note: Two weeks after we published this article in the magazine, USA Today updated its finance numbers through the 2016 year. Go to this link to find the updated numbers through 2016.
THE THREE BIG IMPROVEMENTS
1. KEEPING SUBSIDIES LOW
NDSU has soared to the top of the FCS on the field and into the Top 15 in total revenue despite having the second-lowest subsidy percentage among its FCS peers. The graphic on the right shows that the James Madison athletic department’s revenue was nearly 80 percent from subsidies in 2015, which mainly comes from $35 million in student fees.
In 2015, NDSU received nearly $1.5 million in student fees and nearly $6.6 million from school funds. But the $8 million in total subsidies equals 36 percent of the athletic department’s total revenue—44 percent less than James Madison.
2.SELLING OUT THE FARGODOME
The football year prior to the revenue reporting year is always taken into account when adding up the revenue from tickets sales. In 2004, NDSU averaged 13,269 fans per home football game. The number crept up to 16,515 in 2009 and hit 18,571 in 2014.
Revenue from ticket sales isn’t completely reliant on football tickets, but the increase in games due to playoffs and the battle for one of the 12,000 season tickets have sprung NDSU to second in the FCS in terms of ticket revenue.
3. THE BISON BRAND
NBC affiliate KVLY will enter the second year of its five-year television broadcasting rights contract with NDSU football this fall. After the third year in 2018, NDSU will have the option whether or not to remain in the contract for two more years. The contract is worth $1.2 million through the first three years. Midco Sports Network holds NDSU basketball’s broadcasting rights through the 2018-19 season. The radio broadcasting rights agreement with Fargo-based Radio FM Media runs through 2019.
COST OF LICENSE & BRAND ROYALTY
NDSU Athletics licenses through Learfield. It’s a flat $250 rate for the license, which allows vendors to use the NDSU logo on apparel they wish to sell. The advanced fee is $100 for non-apparel items. The royalty, or the amount you pay NDSU per item you sell, is 12 percent per product sold. Vendors can also purchase the vintage logo— Snorty—and pay a 15 percent royalty to NDSU for Snorty’s image.
TOP 10 LICENSED VENDORS
- UNDER ARMOUR
- BRANDED CUSTOM SPORTSWEAR INC. (NIKE)
- CI SPORT, INC.
- KNIGHTS APPAREL, INC.
- SPECTRUM MARKETING SERVICES
- S&S PROMOTIONAL GROUP, INC.
- LAKESHIRTS, INC.
- COLOSSEUM ATHLETICS
- E5 USA, INC.
- CHAMPION CUSTOM PRODUCTS
*Numbers based on data taken from sports: usatoday.com/ncaa/finances