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The NCAA rebounded financially in 2021 after a significant drop in revenue in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Steve Berkowitz of USA todaythe NCAA’s audited financial statements show it earned $1.155 billion in revenue in fiscal year 2021.
It represented a return to “near normal conditions” after revenue plummeted $600 million in 2020 following the cancellation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
According to Berkowitz, the $600 million drop in 2020 came despite a revenue loss insurance policy that paid out $270 million.
That same policy paid the NCAA $81 million in 2021 despite both the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments returning from their one-year hiatus.
The payment was “tied to reduced ticket sales and additional costs for COVID-19 precautions” as the NCAA had to make major adjustments to tournaments due to the pandemic.
Most notably, every game in the men’s basketball tournament was played in Indiana, while every game in the women’s tournament was played in Texas.
This hurt ticket sales, as tournament matches usually take place in venues across the country.
Since the lost revenue insurance policy has now expired, the NCAA does not have the same backstop for the 2022 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
Tournaments are expected to be played under relatively normal circumstances, but another spike in COVID-19 cases could necessitate changes or even another cancellation.
If that happens, the NCAA should see a drop in revenue in 2020 unless it is able to offer a new insurance policy.
One thing that works in the NCAA’s favor is that attendance returned to fairly normal levels for college football last season after many schools had limited capacity in 2020.
More than 68,000 fans packed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis to watch Georgia defeat Alabama in the college football playoff national championship game, which was a huge jump from the nearly 15,000 fans who had attended the previous title game between Alabama and Ohio State.