Surge in basketball ticket sales help UNM athletic department’s budget

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez said right now his department’s budget is not in cherry red.

“To be able to finish almost $300,000 it’s the first time in a long time this department’s been able to do it. And I know at least in the last 10 years, it’s probably the first time ever,” he said.

The athletic department closed the fiscal year 2023 with more than $37 million in revenue, Nuñez said.

One of the main drivers? Men’s basketball.

“Basketball gave us some opportunities to really increase some revenue when it came to again, concessions parking, ticket sales. And it shows that when success happens here, it really brightens everything else up,” he said.

He adds fan attendance regularly over 14,000 really made a difference, and men’s basketball brought in almost $4 million in ticket sales.

But a packed pit isn’t the only reason the department is in the black.

Lobo football has a big season opener this weekend against Texas A&M, and no matter what the final score is, UNM’s already won in one way.

“We wanted some regional opponents, some teams that financially can provide us a significant amount. And we were talking about a team like Texas A&M, that gave us over $1.6 million. At the time, actually, it’s closer to $1.8 million, because we had received some money up front,” Nuñez said.

In the future, Lobo football is also slated to play big schools like Auburn and Oklahoma for similar pay-outs.

Nuñez said the department has come a long way, with the help of staff, the athletes, and the fans, but he said there’s always more to improve on.

“This isn’t the endpoint, and this is what I want our fans to understand. We’re going to continue to grow this program. And we’re going to do it the right way,” said Nuñez.