(DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Georgia Tech outlines increases in athletic budget

In a presentation to the athletic department’s major boosters in late April, Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury made the observation that his department’s $77 million budget may sound like a lot, but that it actually ranked in the lower third of the ACC.

Stansbury informed the donors that ultimately he was seeking to add another $10 million to the budget to become more competitive with the rest of the conference. On Thursday, the budget presentation at the athletic association’s final board meeting of the year gave notice that Tech is headed that way.

The projected budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which roughly corresponds with the 2017-18 academic year, calls for a break-even year in which revenues and spending will be $84.3 million. The projected spending for the 2017 fiscal year, which concludes June 30, will be $81.3 million.

Spending on salaries will increase 9 percent from the original 2017 budget, from $26.4 million to $28.8 million.

“Many of our salaries are at the lower tier of the ACC,” Tech CFO Marvin Lewis said in his budget presentation. “What we want to do is slowly make strategic increases to get us to the midpoint over time.”

Salaries for football coaches and staff were increased following the team’s nine-win season, which included wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia in the regular season and Kentucky in the bowl game. Coach Paul Johnson has not been shy about calling for an increase in pay for his staff to bring it more in line with the rest of the league.

To match the spending, there will be pressure to raise revenue through ticket sales and Tech Fund donations. The budget calls for a 17 percent increase in ticket sales — $12 million to $14.1 million. The department is counting on the football team’s favorable home schedule (the Yellow Jackets play Georgia at home, and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Tennessee is part of the season-ticket package) and the optimism in the men’s basketball team to drive sales.

The distribution from the ACC is budgeted for $27.8 million, which is $2.2 million more than the budgeted allotment for the 2017 fiscal year.

The 2017 fiscal year will end with a color most repugnant to Tech supporters and accountants alike — red. Due to some of the more significant highlights of the year — the football trip to Ireland and the team’s overall success, the postseason runs by both basketball teams and the hire of Stansbury — the budget is projected to finish with a $2.9 million deficit, which is $500,000 more than the original projection.

Stansbury’s hire came with a $1.1 million loan to meet his cover his buyout from Oregon State, which he left after one year. The loan will be forgiven if Stansbury stays through the life of his five-year contract, but will be due immediately if he leaves before it’s up.

Other unplanned costs included about $350,000 in travel expenses for the basketball teams in the NIT and WNIT, as well as $200,000 in postseason bonuses for both teams’ coaching staffs. The football team’s trip to Dublin for the season opener required an extra $100,000 in administrative expenses.

Those extra costs outpaced unscheduled revenue gains. The department earned $1.3 million in unbudgeted revenue from leasing Bobby Dodd Stadium and McCamish Pavilion to Atlanta United and the Dream, respectively. The department has netted about $200,000 for each game that the expansion MLS team has played, Lewis said.

With Pastner banging the drum since his hire and the team outperforming expectations, basketball ticket sales exceeded goals by about 10 percent.

The $2.9 million deficit has reduced the department’s fund balance to $3.7 million. The goal for the balance is to stay at $5 million.

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