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Volume 26 No. 105
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Univ. Of Washington Expects To Break Even In FY '17 Despite Projected $5.6M Deficit

The Univ. of Washington athletic department "expects to break even" when FY '17 ends June 30 rather than operate at the $5.6M deficit it had "originally projected," according to Christian Caple of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. UW projects a surplus of a little more than $2M in '18, but still forecasts deficits for '19, '20 and '21, though it does "anticipate it will identify" roughly $4M in revenue enhancements by '19 to "help close that gap." UW AD Jennifer Cohen said, "We’ve been able to get our arms around it pretty quickly. And thanks to great fans and great donors and a great staff -- and a great football program -- we feel really comfortable with where we are now." In the midst of a 12-win season and a trip to the CFP, UW generated $2.8M more in football gate revenue during the '16 season (FY '17) than it "had projected." Attendance for UW’s seven games at Husky Stadium averaged 64,589, up from 61,919 during the '15 season. Cohen added that season-ticket sales are up for the '17 season, with a 96% renewal rate "plus 2,500 new sales so far." That "gives UW roughly 42,000 season tickets sold, with a goal of 44,000 by the start of the season." The school made an additional $2.6M from the Pac-12, "most of that due to the football team’s appearance in the Peach Bowl." Cohen also noted that a "significant chunk" of renewal money for the Don James Center -- the indoor premium seating area on Husky Stadium's north side -- "came in sooner than expected." Each football season-ticket buyer is "given two fiscal years to make their payments, meaning UW knew it would receive full payment for the sold-out seats" in FY's '17 and '18, but it had "no way of knowing how much of that money would come in the first year and how much would come in the second" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 5/27).

BAY SIDE: In Seattle, Adam Jude noted the 42,860 season tickets sold is the "highest figure since the renovated Husky Stadium opened" in '13. The new season-ticket sales mark is an 8% increase from the '15 season, when UW "sold 39,821 season tickets." UW has seven home games this fall, and they host their two biggest rivals -- Oregon (Nov. 4) and Washington State (Nov. 25). Cohen said, "A huge part of (the sales increase) is the team’s success, but we also realigned our sales team (and) we realigned our revenue teams. There are revenue meetings every week in this department about ticket sales, both on the retention side and the new ticket sales side. There are new ideas about pricing" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/27).