The back Neyland Stadium video board on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, as seen January 18. The video board still hosts a picture of former Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who was fired in November. Officials hope to replace the photo in February.

KNOXVILLE — Athletic department revenue and expenses for the University of Tennessee both grew to all-time highs during the most recent fiscal year, documents show.

An annual report submitted to the NCAA by the Tennessee athletic department shows that revenue rose to $145.7 million while expenses grew to $134.9 million for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2017.

The annual report, obtained by the Times Free Press through a public records request, shows that football remains the university's most profitable sport by a wide margin.

Profits from football during the 2016-17 fiscal year reached $49.6 million, the document shows. Men's basketball profited $5.9 million. Women's basketball operated at a $2.4 million deficit and other sports combined to operate at a $24 million deficit.

The athletic department's overall profit of $10.8 million was down from a $12.4 million profit posted during the 2015-16 fiscal year, according to a USA Today database.


The $10.8 million budget surplus was divided among a handful of athletic facilities projects, according to the athletic department, with $5 million going to the upcoming Neyland Stadium renovation work. The remaining $5.8 million is going to such things as the football practice field expansion, a Neyland exterior painting project and new scoreboards at the soccer, softball and baseball stadiums.

Ticket sales edged out contributions and media rights as the largest revenue category for the athletic department during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Of $36.8 million in ticket sales, $30.6 million were from football tickets, compared to $4.1 million for men's basketball tickets.

Contributions totaled $33.5 million with $28.8 million of the contributions going to football. Media rights brought $32.1 million in revenue. The total operating revenue was up $5.3 million from a total of $140.4 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The largest category of expenses in 2016-17 were listed in the report under a category labeled, "Support Staff/Administrative Compensation, Benefits and Bonuses paid by Third Party." The expenses in that category totaled $23.1 million. Other major expense categories included coaching salaries ($20.8 million), debt service on facilities ($19.9 million), direct overhead and administrative expenses ($14.2 million) and athletic student aid ($14 million).

Total expenses were up $6.9 million from the 2015-16 total of $128 million.

An overview of the athletic department's 2017-18 budget released in July listed anticipated expenses for the current fiscal year at $133.7 million.

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This story was updated Jan. 29, 2018, at 8:26 p.m. with more information.