UCLA Athletics Likely Headed For Another Deficit This Fiscal Year
UCLA, after its first budget shortfall in 15 years, "appears headed for another loss" this year as a result of "lagging ticket sales in its marquee sports," according to Ben Bolch of the L.A. TIMES. Outgoing AD Dan Guerrero's eventual successor will be in a "precarious spot" with tens of millions in "overall debt service on the recently completed Wasserman Football Center and Mo Ostin Center." This "bleak financial outlook has left some wondering" whether the school has "invested wisely from an athletic department budget that has grown 209% under Guerrero" to $130M. The '19 deficit came after a "slew of pricey coaching buyouts and hires." Fired coaches Jim Mora (football) and Steve Alford (basketball) cost $16.4 in buyouts while replacements Chip Kelly and Mick Cronin "commanded school-record salaries." While donors "pledged to cover an unspecified portion of the buyouts over five years, UCLA had to immediately foot the bills." The deficit also came "despite an influx of revenue from the record" Under Armour apparel and Learfield IMG College marketing deals. The school is "not considering the elimination of any sports or staffing reductions," though the athletic department is "contemplating other ways to cut costs." Athletics receive just $60,000 a year from the school and roughly $2.5M in student fees. That is "less than half" of the $5.2M average in "institutional support brought in by the Pac-12's other public schools." Playing at the Rose Bowl "deprives the school of an estimated" $12-15M per season because UCLA receives "no share of suite sales or stadium sponsorship sales and only a tiny sliver of parking, concessions and merchandise revenues" (L.A. TIMES, 2/4).