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MSU athletic department runs $15.4 million deficit

Spartan Stadium
Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety
Fans were not admitted to football games at Spartan Stadium during the 2020 season.

The Michigan State University athletic department ran a deficit of $15.4 million dollars in its most recent fiscal year.

The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on university sports revenues. This is the second year in a row that MSU athletics has operated at a deficit. USA Today and the Detroit Free Press reportthat the shortfall the year before was almost $18 million dollars.

With fans barred from attending games, ticket revenues were shy of a quarter-million dollars, down more than $22 million dollars from the 2019-20 season. Another blow was the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament. The Spartans also missed out on football bowl game revenues that season.

MSU had cut expenses for the year by $43.5 million, including the elimination of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving program.

Meanwhile, the shortfall at the University of Michigan athletic department was $47.6 million dollars last year, down from a deficit of $80 million the year before.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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