UCLA Athletics Suffers Huge Revenue Loss In 2020

UCLA athletics released their 2020 fiscal reports and the results aren’t pretty.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had impacts on millions of people, businesses, and sport organizations all around the country. Of course in a unique 2020 year, it's to be expected that some schools would take a hit. Especially with empty stadiums, reduced ticket sales and a shortened Pac-12 game schedule. 

Well that couldn't be more true for USC's cross-town rival the UCLA Bruins. However, it was uncovered that the Bruins started to see a financial decline prior to the pandemic. According to Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times, UCLA athletics posted a $21.7 million dollar deficit for the 2020 fiscal year. 

Bolch writes, "The 2020 deficit will be covered by an interest-bearing loan from the school, just like the 2019 shortfall. The 2021 deficit is expected to be much greater in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and loss of Under Armour revenue. Path back to being back in the black largely involves football and basketball winning at a high level and drawing bigger crowds and more donations. It’s likely a multi-year process."

UCLA signed a deal with Under Armour back in May of 2016. The Under Armour deal [at the time] was the largest athletic apparel deal in collegiate sports history, worth $280 million in financial support for the Bruins. This included monetary payments and products over 15 years made available for UCLA athletics. 

According to ESPN, UCLA has filed a lawsuit against Under Armour "alleging it terminated its $280 million sponsorship agreement with the Bruins not because of the coronavirus pandemic but because the record-setting deal was too expensive for the financially troubled apparel company."

Despite the lawsuit, the Bruins were still outfitted by the national sports brand this 2020 season, but that wont last for long, athletic director Martin Jarmond has teamed up with the Jordan Brand to rep the team in the future. 

This contract will run for six years and will begin on July 1, 2021.

Although UCLA's new deal with Nike Jordan is encouraging for the future, it can't fix the past.

The Bruins remain in hot water after seeing a serious decrease in ticket sales over the past few years. "Just got the 2020 fiscal documents from UCLA. Bruins generated $9.2 million in football ticket revenue during 2019 season (with no USC game), down from $12.5 million in 2018. For context, in 2014, that figure was $20 million." [Bolch] "UCLA men's basketball generated $4.9 million in ticket revenue during 2020 fiscal year (2019-2020 season), down from $5.7 million the previous year." [Bolch]

Now, its to be expected that the Bruins and several other college football programs will see a decline in revenue, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, UCLA athletics remains optimistic about the future ahead.

“This past year was a challenging one financially in all of collegiate athletics, with UCLA athletics being no exception,” said UCLA's athletics [statement provided by spokesperson Liza David]. 

“The pandemic’s impact will be felt throughout the coming years, but we are committed to reaching long-term fiscal stability for our athletic program. We will continue to provide our student-athletes a championship experience on and off the field and build on our rich history of developing them for success in sports and in life.”

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