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SBD/February 28, 2012/CollegesPrint All
Games and events at the Univ. of Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena “aren’t pulling in as much money as officials had hoped, prompting the UO to substantially lower its revenue projections for the venue and slow the overall expected growth of the athletics department,” according to Greg Bolt of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. As the new basketball facility this month “passes its one-year anniversary, the UO, in a new set of financial projections, has cut some revenue categories for the arena by more than 30 percent.” Estimates show that the athletic department “could run small annual net deficits for five years beginning next year that would need to be fixed as they arise.” UO AD Rob Mullens said that even with “less arena revenue than expected, athletics should have more than enough money to keep its budget balanced and put competitive teams on the field.” That is “largely thanks to its moneymaking football program and the well-stocked Legacy Fund, the financial cushion provided by donors that made the new arena possible.” Mullens “repeated his pledge that athletics will live within its means and said he won’t let the department finish a year in the red.” The deficits in the new projections amount “to less than 1 percent of total revenues, which he said will be erased by increasing income, cutting expenses or both.” The revenue projections for the arena “have been a hot topic since long before the pavilion was built, with critics charging that the UO deliberately inflated the expected revenue to make the project look attractive.” The new estimates “lower the expected 2011-12 revenue from men’s basketball tickets by about 15 percent and from women’s basketball by about 25 percent.” Expected revenue “from outside events -- concerts, rodeos, circuses and the like -- has been cut the most, by more than 30 percent.” Mullens said, “Eugene is not the biggest market, so we have to prove ourselves. The direct feedback we’re getting is very positive” (Eugene REGISTER-GUARD, 2/27).