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Volume 24 No. 179

Colleges

Cal’s athletic department is "considering selling alcohol at football and basketball games -- as well as the naming rights to Memorial Stadium -- in an effort to boost revenue amid a massive budget shortfall," according to Janny Hu of SFGATE.com. The department, which lost about $22M last year, is "aiming to reduce its overall deficit" by $4.65M during FY '17-18. Potential expense reductions "include trimming roster sizes for men’s sports and reducing the number of out-of-state scholarships offered." The idea of "cutting entire sports was not specifically listed." Cal also is "seeking a naming sponsor for Memorial Stadium, which is projected to generate" $4-5M annually. Selling alcohol at football and basketball games "could generate estimated revenues of $150,000 to $300,000 annually." A statement from the department said that beer has "regularly been sold at other venues on campus." Hu notes Cal is "saddled with" more than $400M in "long-term debt stemming from renovations to Memorial Stadium." A task force commissioned to "generate methods for revamping the department made eight recommendations in June, but failed to agree on the hot-button issue of cutting entire sports programs." Cal in the past year has "announced deals with Under Armour and Learfield" worth about $7M annually to "help offset the deficit." The new budget "plans come at time when chancellor Carol Christ is driving a campus-wide initiative" to have zero debt by '20 (SFGATE.com, 8/14). Mobile video game producer Kabam recently ended its Memorial Stadium field naming-rights deal that was signed in '13 for 15 years and $18M (THE DAILY).

SOME CONVINCING TO DO: In S.F., Nanette Asimov in a front-page piece notes Christ "hadn’t yet heard that selling alcohol at football games had been included in the athletic department’s financial plan." She is "not yet sold on the idea." Christ said, "I’ll have to think about it. I’d like to get the opinion of the (campus) police” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 8/15).

The Univ. of Illinois yesterday announced that it will "return to a single logo -- the orange block 'I' still used by Illinois athletics -- as it moves to unify its branding," according to Julie Wurth of the Champaign NEWS-GAZETTE. The school will "scrap its 20-year-old 'Column I' logo used by academic and administrative units." The changes are "part of a branding campaign launched two years ago in preparation for the upcoming fundraising campaign set to kick off in October." The campus is also "officially adopting the navy and dark orange already used by athletics as the official school colors." UI Chancellor Robert Jones "directed staff to unify the campus logo and to clarify rules for its use." He said that having multiple logos "creates needless confusion for the public" (Champaign NEWS-GAZETTE, 8/15).