NCAA earns $1.15 billion in 2021 as revenue returns to normal

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA generated more than $1.15 billion in revenue in 2021, returning to normal after the cancellation of the men's basketball tournament because of the pandemic in 2020 cost the association and its member schools $800 million.

The NCAA released its financial records Wednesday.

Most NCAA revenue comes from its contract with CBS and Turner for the rights to televise the men's Division I basketball tournament. That contract paid the NCAA $850 million in 2021 and is scheduled to pay $870 million in 2022.

NCAA revenues were $1.12 billion in 2019.

The majority of the revenue is distributed back to its more than 1,200 member schools. The 350 Division I schools that can participate in the basketball tournament earn the bulk of it, mostly through shared payouts to conferences.

The NCAA distributed $613 million to its members in 2021 after that figure dropped to $246 million during 2020.

An insurance payout of $270 million in 2020 helped cover some of lost revenue from the canceled tournament. The NCAA received another $81 million in insurance to help make up for lost ticket revenue and expenses related to COVID-19 precautions for last season's tournament, which was played entirely in and around Indianapolis.