Financial stability in the current economic climate is a priority for Oakland Athletics and strategic long-term budgeting is part of our planning process. With this planning the department has continued to advance. In 2011, actual revenues and expenses were in line with the budgeted expectations. The intercollegiate athletics budget for fiscal year (FY) 2012 (Approx. 8.8 Million) was approved in June through the universities normal auxiliary budget process and we anticipate a balanced budget at year-end, June 30, 2012.
Oakland Athletics is entering its fifth year under a multi-year agreement with Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E) for sponsorship and advertising. This agreement assists the department in maximizing revenue and exposure for Oakland Athletics. The local and regional business communities continue to appreciate the value of supporting Oakland Athletics and the exponential growth of our fan base, additional team success, and Oakland’s quality venues collectively foster an attractive environment for sponsors.
The Golden Grizzlies Athletic Fund saw its fifth consecutive year of continued growth. The department began its first capital project with the Soccer Field Lighting Project ‘Lights, Grizzlies, Action”. The lights were installed this August, prior to the start of the season, and have significantly added to the overall experience for student athletes and spectators. The Department is now charging admission for all men’s and women’s soccer games, men’s and women’s swimming & diving meets and is exploring the possibility of charging admission for volleyball. Oakland students will continue to receive free admission to all sporting events.
Besides ticket sales to our events, our athletic facilities provide a strong source of outside rental revenue for the Department. Oakland continues to market the use of the athletic facilities to the local community providing an additional revenue stream for operating the Department’s varsity programs.
The continued success of the men’s and women’s basketball programs has helped achieve the highest attendance totals in the last 10 years at the O’rena. This increase in ticket sales has provided the Department with a consistent source of revenue. Additionally, the men’s basketball team’s schedule boasts high-profile national opponents. This is beneficial for the University, as it showcases Oakland in the recruiting process and aides the department financially. Contracted revenue from these contests provided the single largest external revenue line item in FY11.
The continued lack of stability in the economy has made funding more challenging, but the Department has not lost focus on Oakland’s strategic plan and the Summit Plan, which is a league-wide initiative focused on measurable program area indicators and benchmarks. Each Summit League member institution was required to formalize a five-year plan (FY2008 – FY2012) that identifies methods for obtaining various benchmarks in key areas of intercollegiate athletic operations (e.g., academics, athletics, conference branding). This plan along with the Department’s Strategic Plan is assisting Oakland in evaluating the overall quality of its intercollegiate athletics programs at the regional and national level.
Oakland University’s administration continues to recognize the importance of intercollegiate athletics and the increasing exposure at the state, regional, and national levels. Institutional support remains vital in fulfilling the University’s mission. With this in mind, the Department is respectful of the provided resources and actively searching for more efficient and effective ways to support Oakland’s student-athletes and the Department as a whole.