The Sports Examiner: USA Track & Field reserves down to $597,993 at start of 2023

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At the end of 2021, USA Track & Field reported net reserves of $8,533,319 on its IRS Form 990, the required tax return for non-profit organizations.

On Monday, nearly 11 months after the end of the year, the federation posted its 2022 Form 990, showing its net reserves were down by 93.0% to $597,993, after an overall loss of $6.72 million.

Why? A long-promised cash contribution to the success of the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene of $9,903,723. A note on the cover of the return states this clearly, and it has left USATF with a difficult financial tightrope to walk, moving into an Olympic year with modest resources available to support its athletes, teams and programs. Compared with 2021:

● Assets were down from $46.08 million to $34.27 million, the lowest since 2013, when Nike’s sponsorship to 2040 was agreed.

● Cash available was down from $13.40 million to $1.80 million.

● Revenues were up from $33.77 million to $37.94 million, the most ever in a single year, which makes sense with the Worlds in the U.S. for the first time.

● Expenses were up from $34.14 million to $44.66 million, due to the World Championships payment, easily the highest expense total in USATF history (the prior high was $38.43 million in 2016).

There was a helpful increase in sponsorships in 2022 – helpful in a year when the U.S. hosted the Worlds – and extra donations to help ease some of the pain:

● Donations: $5.92 million in 2021, up to $7.95 million in 2022.
● Sponsorships: $20.21 million in 2021, rising to $23.30 million in 2022.
● Event rights and tickets: $3.94 million in 2021, down to $1.02 million in 2022.
● Membership fees: $1.428 million in 2021, up to $2.19 million in 2022.
● Sanction fees: $586,728 in 2021, nicely up to $1.06 million in 2022.
● Media revenue: $941,520 in 2021, up to $1.46 million in 2022.

The donations total included a “government grant” of $1.06 million and $3.88 million in in-kind goods and services, including apparel and other gear from Nike and a lot of airline credits.

The tax statement also detailed the amounts paid to athletes and volunteers:

● $2.52 million in prize money, to 670 athletes.
● $1.06 million in World Championships athlete payments (to 141).
● $406,580 in athlete travel funding (to 217).
● $312,467 in athlete travel funding (to another 400).
● $1.11 million in non-cash athlete travel support (to the 400).
● $748,000 in coaching stipends (to 90).
● $2.17 million staff/volunteer travel support (to 1,500).

As far as staff, 11 members of the 97 employees were shown with compensation of more than $100,000. Chief executive Max Siegel, who recently received a five-year contract extension, received $1.31 million for 2022, and has $405,347 remaining on a $952,730 loan he received from USATF to cover tax liabilities on his bonus shown in 2021 related to the long-term Nike sponsorship contract. USATF still owes $12.58 million in other commissions related to that sponsorship.

The organization’s cash was low and USATF had used $5.8 million of an $8.0 million line of credit as of the end of 2021. It maintains investments of $9.90 million as of the end of 2022.

More information may be available in the federation’s audited financial statement, expected to also be released this week, as the USATF Annual Meeting will be held from Thursday through Sunday in Florida.

Observed: USATF’s commitment to funding for the 2022 Worlds in Eugene was going to hurt its finances badly, and it did. Money is tight, and track & field is well behind other U.S. National Governing Bodies such as USA Swimming ($67.87 million in assets in 2022 and $41.28 million in reserves), the U.S. Soccer Federation ($171.7 million in assets in 2022 and $108.3 million in reserves) and U.S. Ski & Snowboard, which showed $99.56 million in assets and reserves of $75.44 million as of 30 April 2023.

~ Rich Perelman

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