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Volume 27 No. 87

SBJ College: What's Cookin' On Campus In 2021


Here are the stories I’m watching over the coming year, with an eye on innovation...

A Different Model For Football Season Tickets

Who is going to come up with a better model for college football than the current way season tickets are sold with a required donation per seat? And what is the likelihood that fans decide there’s too much risk to be in large crowds, especially those fans in higher-risk demographics? As the vaccine makes its way through the population in 2021, there will be some degree of pent-up demand to attend live events, but virtually no one I talk to expects business to return to the way it was in 2019. The schools and their partners in the ticketing space will be under pressure to innovate the season-ticket model.

Cutting Costs On Scheduling/Travel Will Be Key

With revenue streams challenged in the aftermath of the pandemic, the effort to reduce expenses will continue to be robust, just as it has been in 2020. Schools will look to develop new ways to schedule that cut costs by staying closer to home and maybe lodging at more reasonably priced hotels. It’s what most other businesses are doing. What we also found out in 2020 is that impromptu scheduling is possible. Football arranged matchups in 3-4 days. Basketball has swapped opponents in less than 24 hours. It has the potential to create better matchups as well. As one AD said to me, “If we can do it when we have to, why can’t we do it when we want to?”


BYU agreed to play Coastal Carolina just three days before the game on Dec. 5


Name, Image & Likeness Coming Into Focus

By August, we’ll have a much better understanding of what the name, image and likeness legislation looks like and how it will be implemented. We should also know whether there will be a federal bill that creates a standard set of rules from state to state, and how different those rules look from the NCAA legislation. That is, if the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t decide to rule on NIL and athlete compensation first.