The Wolverine


The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 19 What do you do when that happens? "If that kid tested positive, he's been in close proximity to his whole team. You never know what the whole team is going to be like. There are all kinds of things with the health aspect that trump all the other ideas." How much risk will fans be willing to take? Michigan recently extended the deadline involved in season ticket holders renewing their seats to mid-July. Some close to the program project that U-M is around the 50 percent mark at this point, in terms of ticket renewals. With all of the unknowns involved, it's obviously more difficult to pull the trigger on committing to season tickets. It's the same across the board in college football, and Brandstatter pointed out how significant that is for many that fall even well shy of 115,000. "You fill up 60,000, 70,000 seats at $70, $80, $100 a copy," he said. "That's a huge number that helps contribute to that budget. Who knows what you're going to get?" Karsch indicated that when some of the unknowns become known — especially if they're trending posi- tively — Michigan fans will respond. "If that means the Washington game gets pushed back to after the Big Ten championship game, okay," he said. "If that means you're play- ing a game on what was previously scheduled as a bye week, okay. Peo- ple are going to want it." They will want it, but they're still not assured of getting it. "They're going to do everything they can if it comes to that extreme to be able to potentially have a 2020 season," Herbstreit said. "A lot of this is kind of a feeling-out process, and we're just going to wait to see what the data shows. "I'm going to turn on the TV, and I'm sure something new has hap- pened with how to get a test for this and what makes the most sense in taking care of the athletes and making sure we don't send them back just be- cause we've got to make our bottom line. Next thing you know, somebody gets it and dies. You imagine what would happen to the NFL or college football if they hurried back and a player or a coach or a referee or some- body gets this virus and dies? That's something they've got to think about and they obviously want to avoid." ❑ Some Key Numbers For College Football Numbers for the coming fiscal year won't be projected by Michigan until June. Here's a snapshot of the sort of digits director of athletics Warde Manuel's crew dealt with in Fiscal Year 2020, along with national figures: • Michigan projected a balanced athletic budget, with revenues of $196.3 mil- lion, offset by the same projected expenditures. The revenues put U-M at No. 4 among college athletic departments, according to USA Today. Texas led the nation at $214.8 million, and Ohio State edged out Michigan at the top of the Big Ten. • USA Today calculated that athletic departments of the Power Five schools would actually save roughly $520 million in some areas if there was no football season. They wouldn't have to stage games, pay for travel and additional meals, deliver cash guarantees to visiting teams, cover coaches' bonuses, etc. That's the good news. The bad involves still coming up some $3.3 billion short, because of wiping out all the revenue. • There is also a huge economic impact for the towns which play host to big- time college football. The USA Today piece breaks it down, using Alabama as an example. "On average, an Alabama home football game has a 'visitor expenditure impact' of about $19.6 million in the Tuscaloosa area, according to the most recent an- nual study of the university's overall economic impact by the Center for Business and Economic Research in Alabama's Culverhouse College of Business," they wrote. Projected over seven home games, it's just shy of $140 million spent locally, during a single football season. — John Borton Many informed observers opined that Michigan fans, if allowed, would show up to support Jim Harbaugh's team at any point in the calendar year and regardless of the surrounding circumstances. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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