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MSU Athletics looks at ways to boost revenue in next fiscal year

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 31 2013 06:54:49 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 31 2013 08:24:40 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Montana State University officials are crunching the numbers, looking at how they can boost revenue in the coming years.

2013 profits for Montana University System Athletics were down nearly 50 percent from 2012. In the 2013 fiscal year, Montana universities brought in just over $50 million, but they spent $49.6 million. That left just over $571,000 in profit.

2012 numbers show $54 million in revenue, spending of almost $53 million, with net profits around $1.1 million.

"We've gotten better over the years, we keep getting better. We started a long ways down and we started a long ways down and we keep getting better," says MSU Athletic Director Peter Fields.

Fields says the athletic program is doing well. They've increased revenue over the past several years, as well as attendance. He tells us they packed three separate games with over 20,000 people in attendance. But Fields tells us they're always looking to improve.

"We've taken the stance that we're not going back and asking the students for more money for everything, so we're trying to generate more money on our own," says Fields.

Fields says it's possible there may be some changes on how the department generates revenue this next fiscal year.

"Digital media is a form, pay-per-view television, paying to watch streaming, things like that," explains Fields.

Fields explains they're also looking to increase in ticket prices. He says since 2008 they've raised prices 60-70 percent. Fields tells us that's not a whole lot in the scheme of things.

We compared MSU's revenue to the University of Montana over the past two years. For fiscal year 2013, the University of Montana brought in over $20 million. MSU brought in close to $18 million.

But while the Griz walked away with more than half a million dollars, the Cats were over $17,000 in the hole. Compare that to fiscal year 2012 when MSU brought in $2 million more than UM but were still left with a $10,000 deficit.

Fields credits one game in particular for having a big impact on the bottom line.

"The numbers that are being presented now are non-Cat-Griz year for us to host, so the revenue from that game is considerably more during that year," explains Fields.

Fields says they're always dealing with the cost of doing business, from travel expenses to recruiting costs -- expenses Fields says are often beyond their control.