UH athletics could net $3.1M playing on campus in 2021

Ferd Lewis, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser
·2 min read

Mar. 3—The University of Hawaii estimates it could net $3.1 million for the athletic department budget if the Rainbow Warriors football team plays to the projected 10, 000-seat capacity for its six home games on campus this season.

That would be approximately $300, 000 less than UH said it netted in 2019, the last full season the Warriors played before fans at Aloha Stadium but $3.3 million better than was netted in 2020 with no fans in the stands, when UH says it absorbed a $200, 000 loss.

Playing on campus without fans in 2021 would result in a $100, 000 loss, the report estimates based upon no "fan-based revenues or costs."

The estimates are contained in a "Venue and Fan Attendance Scenarios " report scheduled to be presented to the school's Board of Regents today restating a case for playing at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex.

UH has previously said it considered other sites, including War Memorial Stadium on Maui.

Assuming what it describes as an "aggressive " timeline that is subject to change, UH said installation of key elements, including turf, grandstands, prefabricated press boxes, portable concessions, scoreboards, etc. could conclude Aug. 16, nearly three weeks before the scheduled Sept. 4 home opener against Portland State.

In the latest report, UH projects it may have to play "three plus years " on campus before it can move into the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District facility in 2024 or later.

The report notes that on-campus "fan attendance will be in accordance with whatever COVID-19 requirements are at the time. Even if fan attendance is required to be socially distanced in 2021, the cumulative financial results over the minimum three-year period supports improving the Ching Complex to accommodate fans."

UH estimates capital improvement costs to make the Ching Complex suitable to hold the games before 10, 000 fans would cost approximately $6.13 million "assuming permitting and other conditions allow UH to 'buy' as opposed to 'rent'" grandstands.

Currently the Ching Complex can seat approximately 3, 585, a UH official said, and additional seating would have to be brought in to reach the 10, 000 mark.

The cost of purchasing grandstands is estimated at $1.9 million, while adding bleachers would be an additional $200, 000. Press box electrical improvements are pegged at $2 million, while the cost of relocating scoreboards, video boards, game clocks and installing a sound system would be $1.16 million.

Operating costs, which would include "porta potties, shuttles " etc., are still to be determined.

The report said "Athletics is seeking other sources of funding, such as donor contributions, to help offset (a ) portion of the costs, " but noted, "at this stage of the process it is uncertain how much, if any, might eventually be offset by contributions."