Washington State Sees Increased Fundraising, Ticket Sales After Investment In Football
Since Washington State opened its five-story, $61M athletic building overlooking the school's football stadium, some returns have "started coming in, with record sales in season football tickets (14,400)," according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. Investments in football also are "paying off in fundraising for the athletic department." But sustained success will "become even more expensive, showing just how challenging life remains for lower-revenue programs" in the Power Five. Even though TV revenues from the Pac-12 have helped, WSU still has the "lowest athletics budget" in the conference. WSU AD Bill Moos said that the school has annual payments of more than $7M to "pay off the debt on the football complex" and a $65M renovation of the football stadium. The athletic department said that it "owes its university" $51.5M after "posting operating deficits for six straight years." The deficit of $12.9M for '16 "ranked second only to Cal" ($21.7M) out of more than 200 D-I public schools. The school now "can’t borrow more without coming up with new revenue sources." A new indoor facility is "considered necessary for competitive reasons" at a cost of about $10M, but to make it happen, Moos "needs money." Remedies include "selling corporate naming rights to Martin Stadium." Moos said that a consultant was "looking into it for WSU." The football team also "needs to keep winning" to keep ticket sales and fundraising strong (USA TODAY, 9/8).