Wisconsin’s athletic department is projecting revenue losses between $60 million and $70 million if the Badgers play a conference-only, 10-game season and losses of more than $100 million if the upcoming football season is canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic…
Alvarez said the Badgers have projected a $140 million operating budget for the 2020-21 academic year.
In the Power 5, a football program that loses money either is terrifically mismanaged or it is simply spending all the money so it doesn’t turn a profit. If they did turn profits — and most Power 5 departments could with any sort of reasonable fiscal restraint — then people might wonder why players don’t get a bigger cut.
The federal government might wonder why the athletic departments don’t have to pay taxes. Schools don’t need to renovate their locker rooms every five years. They don’t need to drastically renovate their football facilities every 10 years. They didn’t need to increase coaching salaries by a factor of 10 over the past 30 years. They also don’t need to subsidize other sports that can’t pay for themselves. (With the exception of the sports that give the school the scholarship numbers to comply with Title IX; that’s simply a cost of doing business.) They pay for all that stuff now because if they don’t spend all the money, the football players or Uncle Sam will come looking for their cuts.
In 2018-19, Wisconsin’s football program accounted for about 58% of the department’s $157.7 million in revenue, according to the university’s most recent financial report to the NCAA. The Badgers generated $24 million in ticket sales and $8.3 million from contributions related to football, as well as $45.6 million from media rights, $9.4 million from bowl revenue and $5.3 million from program sales, parking and concessions.
If the season isn’t played, the Badgers would save money on some expenses, including team travel ($1.3 million in 2018-19), opponent guarantees ($3.1 million), game expenses ($1 million) and bowl expenses ($2.1 million). Much of their $40.4 million in expenses, like athlete student aid, coaching salaries and facility debt service, are fixed costs.
I sure would like to hear how Alvarez calculated those loss figures.