Big Ten could lose up to $ 1 billion in revenue without fall football

Health is priceless, but the decision to prioritize it was not made by the Big Ten.

Cancellation of the college football season for the safety of student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic will cost Big Ten athletic departments more than $ 275 million in ticket sales and could reach $ 1 billion in lost total revenue, according to tax reports from the NCAA obtained by The Post.

At one end, Rutgers faces a loss of $ 49 million, while the Ohio State Cash Cow would lose $ 104 million and include $ 50 million in lost banknotes, the highest level of the league. It’s no wonder the Big Ten and the like-minded Pac-12 are hoping to move the football season to spring rather than cancel it.

“It reminds me of Warren Buffett’s joke: It’s only when the tide goes down that you find out who swam naked,” said Mark Killingsworth, economics professor at Rutgers. “All schools are going to take a big financial hit, but some schools are much better equipped to weather the storm. Some have been run like a very tight ship. There are others – Rutgers is clearly the main case – where the spending has been insane. “

Projected losses are based on adding 2018 season ticket and parking / concession revenues (most recent data available) to this year’s estimated conference membership distribution by school ($ 54.6 million ), then subtracting travel expenses and match days. The figures correspond to calculations first reported by NJ Advance Media in July.

For the 13 Big Ten universities whose financial records are on public record (excluding Northwestern), the total is approximately $ 952 million.

“The financial implications are real,” Rutgers new chairman Jonathan Holloway told NPR. “It is too early to tell, however, what will be cut.”

A University of Washington study cited by Yahoo Sports estimates that at least $ 4 billion has been lost if none of the 65 Power Five programs play, although the SEC, Big XII and ACC have yet to act . This modest estimate does not include conference distribution fueled by media rights, which an industry source says will drop without football matches.

Some conferences have reportedly looked at the possibility of a massive bailout loan.

“I don’t think we know the tax impact until we know when varsity sport is going to resume and under what conditions,” said David Carter, director of the Sports Business Group and associate professor of sports business at the ‘USC. “Schools are looking at how they put this together. They will have a hard time doing it with the recall money. Some have said, “Let us keep the money from your ticket,” but these are [relative] nickels and ten cents.

Rutgers traditionally operates one of the most heavily subsidized sports departments in the NCAA, leveraging $ 45.2 million to balance a budget of $ 103.2 million from college support, tuition, government support, d internal loan and borrowing against future Big Ten payments in fiscal 2019. No football means losing an influx of money while paying debt service and funding scholarships.

“I think Rutgers is going to follow the exact same playbook he always has for funding athletics: by taking money out of the academic program,” Killingsworth said, citing an ongoing battle between college and the teachers’ union about the loss of non-tenure. -follow the posts.

It’s a similar story elsewhere.

Carter believes a lost season could be the final impetus for the much-speculated “Super Division I” model, where a few dozen lucrative programs go their separate ways to fully commercialize varsity athletics.

“The appetite of these universities to subsidize their athletic departments using university money is pretty much nil,” Carter said. “It doesn’t pass the eye test if they bail out their athletic departments but are no longer able to provide the same financial assistance to students as they once did. “

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