UH’s Athletic Department deficit expected to grow by $2.58 million

HA Note: “Battered by what he termed “one of the toughest economies we’ve ever faced as an athletic department,” University of Hawai’i athletic director Jim Donovan said he expects to report a $2.58 million deficit for the fiscal year that closes today. Based upon unaudited figures through May 31, Donovan said UH forecasts spending of $28.34 million on the 19-team program and revenue of $25.75 million The deficit will add to what independent auditors said earlier this year was $5.4 million in debt accumulated over the previous five years.”

HA Note: “Earlier projections for the current fiscal year had been for as much as a $3.2 million loss, but Donovan said cutbacks, leaving some vacant positions unfilled and a slight upturn in baseball revenues helped reduce the deficit.”

JD said that the baseball team increased their revenue over the previous year an:
“estimated $100,000 more in total ticket and concession revenue.” (HA)

HA Note: “The athletic department self generates approximately 82 percent of its operating funds, mainly through ticket sales, television rights and sponsorships. Assistance from the school’s general fund is used to fund upkeep of lower campus facilities and tuition support. Donovan has told the Board of Regents he aims to have the upcoming fiscal year deficit “under $2 million” and get to a break-even point in the 2011 fiscal year. Breaking even in fiscal year 2011 “is realistic, at this point,” Donovan reiterated yesterday.”

Supporting JD, Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said:
“Jim Donovan has my full support for leading our UH sports program. Jim and our athletics program need the community’s support as well. Some of the factors in the department shortfall are beyond his control — football attendance was dampened by rain at several home games; high travel costs; and turnout at all events has been hurt by the economic downturn. Jim has exciting plans for boosting fan support during our upcoming 100th athletics anniversary, expanding donations and private partnerships, and better connecting UH sports to our community. I hope everyone will join me in supporting UH athletics and Jim.” (HA)

HA Note: “In a tightening economy, UH’s three money-producing sports — football, men’s basketball and women’s volleyball — showed a combined $1.3 million drop in ticket revenue from the previous year, according to UH. Football, which went from 12-1 to 7-7, was down $1.2 million at the box office while men’s basketball was down $55,701 and Rainbow Wahine volleyball was off $55,000. In addition, men’s volleyball, once a money maker, was expected to lose $275,000 and women’s basketball, coming off the most losses in the school’s history (8-23) took in just $19,529 in ticket sales, a more than 30 percent drop, UH said.”

JD said that they do not plan to cut a sport “at this time”, only doing that:
“as a last-resort.” (HA)

About how they have cut expenses significantly, JD said:
“We’ve made $1.3 million in cutbacks, we have open positions that aren’t being filled. We’re doing everything we can do to lower our expenses without doing any long-term damage to the athletic programs.” (HSB)

JD said that UH’s long-term goal is to balance the budget and start paying off the deficit:
“but these are the worst economic times our state has seen since statehood.” (HSB)

About how the Athletic Department generates about $21 million of their $25 million in revenue, JD said:
“So when the economy’s really tough it has an effect on how much we can generate.” (HSB)

About how they are cutting expenses in a way to try to avoid hurting athletic performance on the field (which would hurt attendance and reduce revenue), JD said:
“It’s all predicated on (being) successful on the field and court. That’s what all of our coaches are trying to do. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not cutting the sports budgets. If you cut their budgets, it just makes it that much harder for them to win and winning’s so important right now as far as getting revenue.” (HSB)

JD is asking the athletic programs:
“to spend only what they absolutely have to.” (HSB)

About how they will not increase ticket prices this year, and will only increase prices if the economy improves, JD said:
“The most important thing for us right now is to be affordable to the masses.” (HSB)

About how their outlook will not be clear until the state budget is resolved, JD said:
“Everyone’s waiting to see what guidance we get over the next couple of weeks with furloughs vs. other cuts.” (HSB)

JD said that discussions about adding an athletic fee to the UH tuition will continue:
“to see if we can come up with a model that makes sense for everyone involved.” (HSB)




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