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NCAA generates record US$1.16bn revenue for 2021

US college sports body sees income bounce back from pandemic to grow from US$519 million in 2020.

3 February 2022 Rory Jones

Getty Images

  • 2020 March Madness cancellation resulted in losses of US$800m
  • NCAA expects to generate US$870m from TV deals in 2022

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) generated record revenues of US$1.16 billion for the 2021 fiscal year ending 31st August, marking an increase from US$519 million in 2020.

The US collegiate sports’ body suffered heavy losses during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the cancellation of the men’s March Madness basketball tournament alone costing the NCAA US$800 million in missed multimedia and ticket revenue.

The NCAA did recoup US$270 million from its insurance policy but was only able to distribute US$246 million to its members in 2020.

The return of March Madness in 2021 in a bubble format in Indiana saw NCAA members receive US$613 million in distributed central funding – a return to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 when colleges were collectively distributed US$611 million.

Still without ticketing revenue in 2021, the NCAA was able to access US$81 million in loss of revenue insurance, but this kind of policy will not be available for the governing body in the future.

‘Management is exploring alternative solutions to pandemic risk management and will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 during fiscal year 2021/22,’ the NCAA said in an official statement.

The past year also saw the NCAA’s revenue from broadcast deals with CBS and Turner return to pre-pandemic levels. In 2021, the NCAA received around US$850 million in media rights fees, a sharp increase on the US$113 million it brought in when the majority of its events were cancelled in 2020.

The NCAA is set to see revenue from its TV deals reach US$870 million in 2022, and said it will surpass US$900 million from 2025.

The collegiate body’s investment income increased for the second successive year from US$40.5 million in 2020 to US$60.9 million over the 2021 fiscal year.

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