UofL Athletics losing revenue to coronavirus

UofL Athletics losing revenue to coronavirus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A campus that on most April days welcomes a fair amount of traffic is practically a ghost town these days.

A far cry from the normal scene? A stadium or arena packed with UofL fans, watching football or basketball.

On Monday, University of Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra said the football budget, which accounts for 45 percent of the revenue, will be cut down. This is due to the fact that tickets aren’t for sale, there aren’t any profits from collegiate apparel, marketing is at a halt, and there aren’t any concessions sales.

"We’ve gone through some pretty detailed review of our revenue budget for next year,” Tyra said. “We’re trying to think about things will be even if we were to play football, if it were to start in October, November (or a) later date. In the end, it comes up to $15 million of a delta that we (got to) go solve for.”

Tyra said 15 percent will be cut across the sports and administration budget, $25 million are on the line for basketball, and surplus at the end of the year has come down from $6 million to $3 million. Tyra added that 2020 was supposed to be a strong year for sports programs across the board, but the pandemic has changed that from a financial aspect, among others.

“This is something that college athletics has been immune to at some degree,” Tyra said. “In these kind of economic challenges, they don’t move around as much with the commodity, but this is an unusual one in a pandemic setting.”

While budgets are being worked out, fans want to know if football will start on time. Tyra said coaches have been talking about how long it would take for a team to get ready should there be a season. Most agree that six weeks is enough time before kicking off a new season. It would give institutions enough time to plan living accommodations with social-distancing guidelines.

“If something were to happen, if we saw improvement in a pandemic situation, that doesn’t mean football players or fall-sport athletes would be effectively in full, physical contact,” Tyra said. ”But conditioning ... they could potentially be ready for traditional kickoff in early September.”

UofL said season-ticket holders can roll over their passes to any sport or use those funds elsewhere. The department is expected to announce an employee furlough Wednesday. UofL already has formally notified affected employees.

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