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Friday, August 21, 2020

Dayton Area Sports Aug. 21+


Cash Crunch for Athletic Departments?

 I think that most of us are glad to see sports kick off this fall in Ohio.  Albeit with a plethora of rules and restrictions.  One of those restrictions are on the number of fans that that can attend an event - only a couple of tickets per student.  So that is going to cause gate revenue to drop off drastically for area athletic departments.

Most sports operate at a loss.  Tennis, cross country, soccer - all of these don't get much gate to begin with. When you factor in uniforms, referee's, coaches pay and so forth these sports all create more expenses than revenue.  In most schools the revenue makers are football and basketball.  Football is expensive as equipment costs eat up a lot of budget, but at most schools football still generates more revenue than expense.  Basketball has less equipment expense and really helps pay for the rest of the sports.

But with gate receipts down due to corona then where is the revenue going to come from?  Streaming the games live has been OK'ed by OSHAA.  But the smaller schools are having to scramble to get the technology and personnel paired together to do this.  With limited resources and some rural schools lacking a strong internet backbone this could be difficult with their technological limitations.  And oh by the way, how will revenue be generated? Is is pay per view for the viewer, or do you sell ad spots to businesses and make it free for the consumer?  

If you manage to get this figured out will the revenue generated be enough to make up for the lost gate revenue? Probably not - part of the experience of the game is just being there with other fans. Relatives and hard core sports fan will take the time to log in and watch a game.  But I don't see the casual fan on a Friday night sitting down to watch a game by their lonesome. There are a lot of options for entertainment on a weekend evening. Still some revenue will be better than no revenue. 

If basketball happens this winter with the same pandemic restrictions, then schools could be seeing drastic shortfalls in revenue.  Will some of the sports that don't create revenue be dropped? Will the track team need to raise revenue on their own next spring to be able to compete?  Do schools shuffle funds from other areas to keep sports viable?  One thing is for sure, your schools athletic director will be putting in overtime this school year to keep teams on the field.