Project donations fuel Iowa State Athletics’ record revenue


Joseph Dicklin/Iowa State Daily

Construction of the pedestrian bridge outside Jack Trice Stadium on June 18, 2022.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

The Iowa State Athletics Department’s financial statements unveiled record revenue at $111.3 million, which was matched with $111.3 million in expenses during fiscal year 2022.

Iowa State’s Chief Financial Officer Chris Jorgensen said the high revenue puts the school in a solid position, but there are also reasons the revenue may not stay this high.

One of the reasons for the record revenue was the increase in contributions. In the 2022 fiscal year, the athletics department reported a rise in donations to $22.2 million after $16.6 million in 2021.

Jorgensen mentioned a part of the rise in donations was the large projects such as the new pedestrian bridge and the completion of Stark Performance Center needing funding.

These donations were a major part of the rise in revenue according to Jorgensen, putting some context behind the peak.

 “While it was the highest revenue ever recorded, some portion of that relates to gifts to specific capital projects,” Jorgensen said. “That’s not going to be something that we see recur year over year, most likely.”

Jorgensen estimated $10 million in donations went toward the pedestrian bridge project.

The athletics department has prided itself on only asking for donations it needs. This mindset caused the spike in donations due to the funding being necessary.

“We ask for, from our donors and our ticket purchasers, what we need, and not necessarily what we want,” Jorgensen said. “Some of what we need is gonna be dictated based on what happens with coaches’ salaries, what happens with the economy.”

Iowa State athletics did not have to take out a loan during the pandemic, putting the school in a stronger position than other schools at the moment. Part of the reason the school avoided this is the spending strategies put into place.

“We don’t go into projects hoping that we’re gonna be able to pay for them,” Jorgensen said. “We go into projects knowing that we’re going to be able to pay for them”

Battling the pandemic, ticket sales were down to just $2.6 million, after pre-pandemic levels that capped out at just above $18 million. In the 2022 fiscal year, Iowa State saw these sales rise to $22.9 million, surging to new highs.

These numbers are more difficult to predict for the athletics department than some others, as a lot of factors go into fan interest. Jorgensen said the best thing the department can do is project the return on investment on potential expenses and decide if the price is worth paying.