Daily Archives: May 21, 2020

Why they playin’

A ‘rona here, a ‘rona there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

Patrick Rishe, director of the sports business program at Washington University in St. Louis, believes the upcoming football season will be played — even if it’s during the spring — because of “astronomical financial implications” for athletic departments if it is canceled.

Quite simply, college athletics might not have a financial choice.

Rishe estimates that the 65 Power 5 schools would collectively lose more than $4 billion in football revenues, with at least $1.2 billion of that due to lost ticket revenue. Each Power 5 school would see at least an average loss of $62 million in football revenue, including at least $18.6 million in football ticket sales, he said.

Yeah, I can see where that could be a problem.  There’s more to it than just that number, though.

For one thing, while TV is the main revenue driver, what comes from ticket sales isn’t inconsequential.

Public school Power 5 athletic departments on average made nearly half of their total operating revenue from football, with about 14% coming from football ticket sales alone, according to an analysis of 2017-18 financial data provided to ESPN by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Athletic departments still need those asses in the seats to cover their nut… well, with a couple of exceptions.

About half of the public Power 5 athletic departments were self-sustaining in 2017-18, meaning revenue covered expenses without funding from student fees or university support. Take away football ticket revenue alone and only two schools still make the cut — Georgia and Texas A&M — according to the data from Syracuse University.

So where do you draw the line about attendance?  It’s one thing to set up a regimen to test players and staff rigorously, but you can’t do that with your fan base.

Ah, but you say, that’s where the reserve fund comes in.  Genius!  Cover the shortfall as needed, as that rainy day is finally here. Sounds good, except…

In a multibillion-dollar industry, fewer than half of FBS athletic departments have financial reserves in place that could be used during this type of crisis, according to a recent survey by Lead1 Association, the professional organization that represents athletic directors at 130 FBS schools. In the survey of more than 100 ADs, 41% of Power 5 and 26% of Group of 5 departments confirmed having such a reserve.

But here’s the thing.  Even at a place like Georgia that’s managed to save…

A self-sustaining budget coupled with financial reserves places the University of Georgia in a better financial position than most FBS schools should there be a canceled, shortened or delayed football season this fall.

According to the UGA athletic department, it has more than $102 million in reserve funds, which includes 2019-20 reserves, long-term investments and general endowment funds.

“We never thought it would be at this level,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said. “With a $153 million budget [for the 2019-20 fiscal year], we tried to stay in that three- to six-month period so we would be able to sustain our program.”

Georgia’s football program accounted for almost half of the athletic department’s $174 million in revenue from ticket sales and contributions alone in the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to its most recent NCAA Membership Financial Report. The Bulldogs generated $34.6 million in football ticket sales and $44.3 million from donations, much of which is attached to those tickets.

“You can run all of the numbers and projections, but if you don’t have that football part, it’s just agonizing,” McGarity said. “If you don’t have football revenue, where does your revenue come from? It’s a huge void that would create some dire situations on the operation of a program.”

… the first instinct isn’t to breathe a sigh of relief and tap those funds.  It’s to do everything possible to make a football season happen, regardless.  It’s as if the main point of having a reserve fund is not to use it.

Once criticized for not spending enough in the SEC’s seemingly never-ending arms race, the Bulldogs’ reserves will enable them to make things work — at least in the short term — if they can’t play football this fall or face a truncated, conference-only season.

That’s why they playin’.  Everywhere.

34 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Lucky

As Branch Rickey once said, luck is the residue of design.  So what should we take from this?

15 Comments

Filed under Stats Geek!

The guv’nor and a reader poll

Brian Kemp took some time yesterday to appear on Finebaum’s show, where he did a little pundit work.

By the way, does anybody seriously doubt how quickly NIL legislation would pass and be signed into law if Georgia needed to keep up with Florida?  But I digress.

Anyway, more relevantly, given the NCAA’s announcement yesterday, he was asked about the prospects for the season opening on time.

The governor, a die-hard Bulldog fan, told The Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday that it’s too early to tell whether Georgia’s season opening game against Virginia on Labor Day will open before a “packed house or a sparse crowd or no crowd at all.”

“I know everybody wants to have a crowd there,” Kemp said of the game. “I would urge people to continue to follow the guidance so we can drive these numbers down so that we can do that.”

… Kemp said fans can expect a “new norm” when they return to sports stadiums.

“I’m reserving judgment now, but believe me: I’m an optimist, and I want to see that happen if it’s at all possible. We’ll try to be working with folks to do that if it makes sense from a public health standpoint.”

I’m guessing what makes sense to Gary Stokan might not make the same sense to me, but what do I know?

Let’s see what makes sense to y’all.  Reader poll time!

Feel free to elaborate in the comments.

64 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

A canary in the pandemic mine?

If you’re a donor, you received this email yesterday.

Dear Georgia Bulldog Club member –

Thank you for your support of UGA Athletics through your contribution to the 2020 Hartman Fund drive.

For the first time since 2017, our football season ticket supply will exceed Hartman Fund donor demand. A variety of factors contributed to this including, but not limited to, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as UGA Athletics recapturing 1,500 tickets from the visiting team allotment to make available in the form of season ticket opportunities. Currently, we anticipate having 400+ renewable season ticket opportunities available in the 300 level or below to go along with additional sideline seating opportunities in the first 10 rows of the 600 level.

As a result, we are planning to offer 2020 Hartman Fund donors, who have less than the maximum of 8 season ticket per account, the opportunity to partake in a secondary Optional Seat Selection Process. This will occur the first week of June, directly after the completion of the original seat selection process. This presents an opportunity for Hartman Fund Donors to obtain additional season tickets with the inventory we have left following the completion of the first round of selections…

If you opt-in to this secondary process, you will be prioritized based on cumulative TGBC priority points, and assigned a time to explore the open season ticket inventory that is still available after the completion of the initial Seat Selection Process. You do not need to make any additional payments at this time. If you choose to add new seats, any additional payments needed for Hartman Fund and/or Tickets can be completed during the checkout process.

To opt-in to the second Optional Seat Selection Process, please click here and submit your intended interest by Monday, June 1st. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at seats@sports.uga.edu

Thank you for your continued support.

Go Dawgs!

The Georgia Bulldog Club

Would this have been needed but for COVID-19?  Of course not.  Is this the last bump in the road we can expect from COVID-19 this season?  Doubtful.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Heppin’ the little guy

The NCAA may not be giving the players the transfer waiver rule they’d like, but that’s not because it’s out of the waiver business.  No siree.

That’s good news for Akron.

1 Comment

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, The NCAA

Your Daily Gator reflects.

247Sports just updated its 2021 player ratings.  Given Smart’s track record, I doubt you’ll be surprised to learn there’s a fair number of Georgia logos appearing throughout.

Posters at Swamp247 noticed, too.

Screenshot_2020-05-21 Updated Top247 for 2021 drills into the defense

That gap’s a beyotch, ain’t it?

5 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

Just winging it

As much as I dog Greg McGarity here, it’s worth saying I’ve been impressed with his measured approach to managing the course of the football program during the pandemic.  It’s a time for caution and he’s done a good job.

If you’re looking for a point of comparison, look no farther than Ohio State’s Gene Smith, who’s getting the turnstiles ready.

Ohio State is modeling a concept that would allow about one-fifth of Ohio Stadium to be occupied during home football games for the 2020 season. Athletic director Gene Smith made the announcement during a Wednesday conference call with media.

“We have played a little bit with the social distancing concept,” Smith said. “We know that will probably take us down south of 30,000 fans in the stands, actually closer to 20,000-22,000. We’ve played with that a little bit as a framework to start.”

At a capacity of more than 102,000 fans, Ohio Stadium is the third-largest college football venue in the country. Smith had previously noted that the Buckeyes’ athletic department could lose as much as $50 million if Ohio Stadium opened without fans for an entire seven-game home season…

“I think it’s learning,” Smith said. “This is a process. What was beautiful for me, every morning we have Big Ten AD calls. Just the feedback between one another and colleagues … In the beginning, none of us had a position on anything. Now, I’ve shifted to being curious.”

Gene must have learned a lot in a few short hours after the conference call, because he doubled down yesterday afternoon.

Hell, man, why stop there?

8 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Back in business

I assume you’ve heard the news, but in case you haven’t, the NCAA did what it was expected to do yesterday.

“Voluntary” is doing a lot of work there, but in any case, we’re getting what we need to start back to a 2020 college football season.  The announcement was coupled with the usual caveat.

“We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate re-socialization framework,” said council chair M. Grace Calhoun, the athletic director at Penn. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

Ain’t gonna lie — it’s exciting to get some normality back, or at least what passes for normality these days.  Just ask this guy.

My feelings can best be described as a hope for the best for all concerned, coupled with the realization there’s no way the decision makers have all the answers yet.

McGarity would not discuss specifics, other than to say that any return likely would come with many guidelines and restrictions.

“Strict adherence (of guidelines) and education for everyone associated with the program is going to be critical,” McGarity said. “Whenever we return, habits will have to change because our life has changed, thanks to the virus. We can’t ignore that and act like it’s business as usual. That probably won’t produce a good result.”

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

5 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

No waiver for you!

I guess the NCAA has too much on its plate to fight with coaches right now.  Here’s the blah, blah, blah version of its Division I Council’s decision to table the proposal for a one-time transfer waiver until January of next year.

Here’s the tl;dr version.

So, what does that mean, in practical terms?  To start with, bad news for — you guessed it — the Portal Master™.

Barring some last minute fancy lawyering, that gap’s gonna have to wait another year to close.

I assume that means Cade Mays will have to sit a year in Knoxville, too.  Anything that weakens Florida and Tennessee is good news for Georgia.

20 Comments

Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.