Nebraska’s financial report to the NCAA for fiscal year 2021 provides insight into the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted business operations, as well as how the athletic department has been able to get through more than one year. year without fans. stalls.
The department reported revenue of $92 million for fiscal year 2021, which ran from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, about $41.5 million lower than 2020 and more than $44.1 million. million less than its peak in 2019, according to a copy of the report obtained via a request for records by the Journal Star.
The main factor in this decrease, of course, was the almost total lack of fan presence during this 12 month period.
In most years, football alone generates over $30 million in ticket revenue and an additional $5 million in concessions, merchandising, and other game day revenue. Overall, in fiscal 2020, the department recorded $38.1 million in ticket revenue and $5.9 million in concessions and merchandising.
In fiscal year 2021, with the Big Ten limiting attendance to family only, the entire athletic department generated $706,138 in ticket revenue. About $384,000 of that came from the spring baseball season, $302,000 from football, and the rest from softball and soccer.
NU was also able to cut expenses from $124.1 million in fiscal year 2019, the last year completely uninterrupted by the pandemic, to $104.1 million in 2021.
The 12-month period ending June 30 means the 2021 financial year was under former sporting director Bill Moos. His predecessor, Trev Alberts, praised the work Moos and company have done to lead NU through the most disruptive part of the pandemic.
“I’m grateful that we did very well,” Alberts told the Journal Star on Tuesday, before the report was obtained by the Journal Star. “The reality is that there are a lot of universities that have had to take out loans; we do not have.
“You can only imagine what saved us playing Big Ten football,” Alberts said of the shortened, fanless 2020 season. “We didn’t have box office revenue, but at least we got 80% of the money from TV, which was essential for all of us. We got through it, and I give credit to the old leaders.
Indeed, NU grossed nearly $36 million in media rights, with the dominant share going to football. That number is lower than the $43.9 million reported for fiscal year 2020, but still represents 39% of the department’s revenue for the year. The department also reported $18.8 million in revenue from royalties, licensing, advertising and sponsorships, a significant figure but well below the $27.6 million reported a year ago.
Part of the way the department covered the drop in revenue was by relying more on contributions and dipping into its large reserve. For fiscal year 2021, the department reported $22.7 million in private contributions, about triple what it reported the previous year. This number does not necessarily represent the total of all private donations, but rather the amount of private contributions the department used in its operations during the fiscal year.
In total, NU used $29 million to cover the revenue gap, according to a separate financial report filed late last year.
“Due to the effects of the pandemic on athletics operations in fiscal year 2021, actual expenses exceeded revenues by $29 million,” NU said in its Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act and also in the NCAA financial report. “Athletics used $16.5 million in previously accrued unrestricted athletic contributions and $12.5 million in prior year reserves to fund this deficit.”
One thing that didn’t just disappear because of a global pandemic: severance pay. NU reported $4.2 million for fiscal year 2021. The department classified $3.18 million as “non-sports specific,” which is money owed to Moos, the former athletic director. Moos’ last day was June 25, six days before the end of the fiscal year. NU also reported $971,922 in severance pay for men’s basketball, which the department confirmed was for former men’s basketball coach Tim Miles and his staff.
Driven by media rights money, Nebraska football has consistently generated $53.2 million in revenue, though that’s a far cry from the previous year’s record of $97.5 million. Scott Frost’s program cut expenses by nearly $9 million to $24.6 million to generate a profit of $28.6 for the year.
Fiscal 2022 may not look quite normal, but it will take into account the return of fans to Memorial Stadium this fall and all other venues as well, when the numbers are released next year.
“This year’s budget, because we didn’t know what was going to happen – and we could still have some disruption in basketball – we budgeted on the revenue side 75% of capacity on our revenue generation” , Alberts told the Journal Star.
In terms of expenses, Alberts said NU had budgeted for 2019 minus 10%, with some flexibility depending on program schedules, travel requirements, etc. In income.
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