College athletics are going to be in a pinch for at least this academic year. Losing out on millions of dollars from the cancellation of the NCAA March Madness tournament and the threat of limited attendance at college football games in 2020 is going to prove to be costly.
Some schools have already cut athletic programs and the MAC has restructured its format for team tournaments in multiple sports. So when conference commissioners, school presidents and athletic directors say they want football this fall, they really mean it.
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos talked about just how dire it is for the Huskers to be back on the field this fall. And even if they return, the athletic department could still lose tens of millions of dollars if Memorial Stadium isn’t permitted to operate at capacity.
“If the football season doesn’t look like a traditional season, we’re out millions and millions upon millions of dollars,” Moos said in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald. “It’s eye-opening, to say the least.”
According to the World-Herald, Moos estimates that, even at 50-percent capacity, Nebraska could lose $6 million per home game. So, if Memorial Stadium is only allowed to host 20,000-30,000 fans per game, which has been estimated by some other athletic directors, the loss of profits would increase dramatically.
The Huskers could be out around $27 million on game day revenue alone, if they’re only allowed to operate with 20,000 fans in the stadium.
Even though television deals, sponsorship and donations make up a large portion of revenue for athletic programs, ticket sales and other game day aspects also bring in a nice chunk of change. It’s pretty sobering to realize that, even if college football returns in 2020, schools could be out tens of millions of dollars.