Purdue AD discusses financial burdens of reduced schedule due to COVID-19
It is a complicated subject but what it boils down to is this, the 2020 global pandemic has been expensive, costing football and basketball programs millions of dollars of the revenue they use each year to make their athletic departments work, and that’s a big problem.
Purdue University’s Athletic Director, Mike Bobinski, is one of the university officers who is going to be forced to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and he recently appeared on the Purdue Radio Network to elucidate some of those difficulties to the public.
Bobinski said the athletic department already has cut the budget and furloughed employees to save money but cannot say whether or not that will be enough. The pandemic has created a situation where fewer people are being asked to do more with less.
“Our people have been great about tightening the belt, and have been willing to accept sacrifice and focus on really what’s necessary and not on what’s nice to do. Even personally, you know, accept different types of responsibilities, do their work differently, get paid less to do the same work, or do more work. Everyone has just really stepped up like you would expect Boilermakers to and have accepted that challenge and I’m really proud of the way they responded.”
How much exactly has been lossed, or how much Purdue is going to be able to recoup at the end of the year, is up in the air as well, according to Bobinski.
“It’s still a moving target. It’ll be something less than, for sure, and millions less than what it ordinarily would have been. When you start out with a reduced schedule in both football and basketball, right out of the box, so you reduce the number of opportunities for our broadcast partners. And then in the midst of all that, you have cancellations on top of it which then further reduces value to our media partners.”
Purdue is hoping to bag somewhere between seventy and eighty percent of a regular year’s revenue, which would be an incredible success when considering that media rights and gate receipts at both football and basketball games—which have been entirely eliminated—are the primary sources of a given school’s revenue.
“That still leaves us with millions of dollars of shortfall,” said Bobinski. “Never mind the fact that we can’t sell a ticket, we can’t do all the other things that go into the large scale events that we typically have. So, it’s a year of significant financial challenge.”
Multiple Covid-19 vaccines have been approved in the United States and have begun being shipped and administered. How much longer this situation will continue is unknown to even experts at this point, but for universities with big athletic departments, the end can’t come soon enough.