Rutgers football game day revenue jumped in Greg Schiano’s 1st season with fans

Greg Schiano’s first season at Rutgers with fans in attendance led to a surge in box office for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers saw a roughly 42% increase in average home game earnings in 2021 compared to 2019 — the most recent year with crowds and the final season of former coach Chris Ash’s ill-fated tenure — and has grossed nearly $2 million more in total profit despite fewer event dates, according to an NJ Advance Media review of documents obtained through an open records request.

The Scarlet Knights earned $9.44 million in gameday earnings in six home games last season, or $1.57 million per game. The school made a total profit of $7.7 million in 2019, averaging $1.1 million per game while playing seven competitions at home. And when game guarantees to non-conference opponents are taken into account, Rutgers has nearly doubled its average profit per game day year over year.

The revenue boost is good news for an athletics department that reported a record $73.3 million deficit in the most recent fiscal year, which spanned the 2020-21 academic schedule with games played. in mostly empty arenas and stadiums in the heart of the coronavirus pandemic. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, recently sent a letter to Rutgers Chairman Jonathan Holloway requesting information about the decision to pay Schiano $4 million. per year — $1.5 million more than Ash was expected to earn in 2021.

The 2021 game day profits are relatively on par with the $12.2 million Rutgers would have made in 2020 had it played a full seven-game slate at home with fans allowed into SHI Stadium in Piscataway .

Here’s a look at how the Scarlet Knights’ financial tide started to turn last fall, if ever so slightly:

Ticketing. Rutgers sold 20,057 season tickets in 2021, an increase of about 20% over 2019. There were at least 39,000 tickets for every game last season, a figure the program only reached once. times in 2019 (the season opener against UMass).

Rutgers averaged 44,307 tickets scanned per game in 2021. It was an average of 30,044 in 2019. Rutgers averaged 25,347 tickets scanned per game in 2021, a number that is not considered entirely accurate due to technical issues and event staff errors. But the average scan figure for 2019 was 16,366.

Rutgers generated $7.347 million in ticket revenue in 2021 and over $1 million in ticket revenue for each game. The Scarlet Knights earned $5.482 million in 2019 and only hit the $1 million mark for one game. The Scarlet Knights’ game against Ohio State was the most profitable in terms of ticket revenue both seasons.

Rutgers also generated $3.524 million in seat license fees and Provident Bank Club membership among season ticket holders. Although this was lower than the $3.627 million made in 2019, it was due to the reduction in the house list. Rutgers brought in an extra $69,000 per game in those fees in 2021.

Parking and concessions. Rutgers earned $1.33 million in parking fees, or about $222,000 per game. This beat the $1.11 million made in 2019 with an average of $158,000 per game.

Concession sales lagged for the first two home games against Temple (delayed two days due to Tropical Storm Ida) and Delaware, but jumped significantly for the Big Ten’s four home games. A spokesperson for the athletic department said staffing levels weren’t 100% for the Temple game, with some workers unable to get to the game or tending to damaged property after the storm. which had an impact on sales.

The final profit for the season was around $234,000 with an average of $39,000 per game. Rutgers earned around $275,000 in 2019 with the extra game and averaged around the same $39,000 per game. The Athletics Department’s latest concessions contract offers lower commission rates to the department compared to 2019, according to the spokesperson.

Expenses. Rising ticket and parking revenue has also led to a spike in spending. Rutgers had around $500,000 in spending per game, a notable spike from 2019, when spending was closer to $400,000 per game. The increased spending was due to several factors, a spokesperson said, including larger crowds and COVID-19 protocols designed to create a safer environment on game day.

Game guarantees. Rutgers does not include fees paid to non-conference opponents in order to schedule a game in its accounting of game profits, as these are usually paid well in advance of the contest. But Scarlet Knights paycheck games in 2019 were significantly more expensive than in 2021, making the increase in revenue even more substantial.

Rutgers paid Liberty and UMass a combined $2.3 million in 2019 for its only two wins of the season (Boston College was given no guarantees). By comparison, the Scarlet Knights shelled out $525,000 last fall for wins over Delaware and Temple.

Figures adjusted with game guarantees included in the accounts:

  • 2021: $8.92 million net profit, $1.486 million per game
  • 2019: $5.47 million net profit, $782,000 per game

With play contracts included, Rutgers nearly doubled its average play profit in 2021 – and that’s without playing a seventh game at home.

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James Kratch can be reached at jkratch@njadvancemedia.com

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