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Volume 23 No. 29
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Universities consider best use for summer concert revenue

Don Muret
Ohio State, which annually ranks among the top five Division I schools for athletic department revenue, won’t dip into summer concert revenue to pay the cost of attendance for student athletes, according to OSU officials.

It’s a story different from the one at Georgia Tech, which made news in April after Athletic Director Mike Bobinski told ESPN.com that the school’s share of revenue from the June 9 Rolling Stones concert at Bobby Dodd Stadium would cover half of the $500,000 in new cost-of-attendance expenses for the coming school year.

The cost-of-attendance measure was approved in January by members of the NCAA’s five biggest conferences, leaving it up to the individual schools to figure out how to pay for the extra expenses. The half-million dollars at Georgia Tech represents the amount of money student athletes collectively will receive beyond the value of their scholarships covering tuition, room and board, books and fees.

Ohio Stadium will trade football for concerts this summer for the first time since fans lined up for Metallica in 2003 (below).
Photos by: GETTY IMAGES (2)
In Columbus, Ohio State has three events booked through Aug. 18 at Ohio Stadium, including the Rolling Stones last Saturday. Athletic Director Gene Smith has already sourced the funding of cost of attendance, apart from those special events, said Xen Riggs, OSU’s associate vice president of student
life. The school expects to spend $1.6 million a year for cost of attendance, paid for by revenue from television contracts and bowl income, as reported by Columbus Business First, an associated publication of SportsBusiness Journal.

At the University of Minnesota, television revenue also will be used to help pay cost-of-attendance increases, estimated to run about $2,200 apiece to cover more than 300 full-scholarship athletes, according to local reports. But concert revenue potentially could be a funding source as well. The Stones play Wednesday at TCF Bank Stadium, the 6-year-old home of the Golden Gophers football team.

“Any revenue realized from events we host will simply be used to fund department operations, one of which will certainly be cost of attendance,” said Chris Werle, Minnesota’s senior associate athletic director for strategic communications.

The Stones play a fourth on-campus concert, July 1 at North Carolina State’s Carter-Finley Stadium. Chris Boyer, the school’s deputy athletic director for external operations, did not return an email for comment.

At Ohio State, in addition to the Stones, the stadium will play host to One Direction and the Buckeye Country Superfest, a new two-day country music festival modeled after a similar event at LSU’s Tiger Stadium.

The three deals are different in terms of the revenue Ohio State generates. The Stones and One Direction are rental agreements, in which the school’s income is mostly tied to concessions and parking. For the superfest, Ohio State is a partner with AEG Live, sharing financial risk with the promoter, Riggs said.

OSU has a three-year deal for the superfest with options to extend the agreement, he said.

> CHARTER TERRITORY: Charter Communications’ plan to buy Time Warner Cable for $56 billion potentially could mean a name change for Time Warner Cable Arena, home of the Charlotte Hornets. Federal approval of the deal is pending.

“These deals are so complex [that] we don’t spend much time on it until it closes,” said Pete Guelli, the Hornets’ executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer. “It would be a possibility. Our contract contemplates these types of scenarios, and we would anticipate having a discussion in the event anything becomes final.”

Charter’s name is not on any sports facilities, according to Resource Guide Live, SportsBusiness Journal’s online research tool. The Time Warner name has been on the Charlotte arena since 2008. It opened in 2005 without naming rights.

The Charter-Time Warner deal comes after Comcast walked away from a proposed deal to buy Time Warner for $45 billion after hearing it would not get federal regulators’ approval.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.