NCAA revenue for 2020 down 50% due to pandemic-forced cancellation of basketball tournament

The NCAA’s cancellation of last season’s Division I men's basketball tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a $600 million annual decline in the association’s total revenue for its 2020 fiscal year, its new audited financial statement shows.

That’s a decrease of more than 50% compared to 2019.

The document, a copy of which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports, showed a $700 million decline in television and marketing rights revenue, nearly all of which came from the NCAA’s multimedia and marketing rights contract with CBS and Turner. In the association’s 2019 fiscal year, it reported nearly $868 million in such revenue.

It had been scheduled to receive $827 million from CBS and Turner for the 2020 tournament. According to the notes to the new financial statement, it ended up receiving $113.1 million.

The notes stated that between losses from ticket sales and its TV/marketing rights agreements, "the NCAA lost more than $800 million in revenue" from the men's basketball tournament's cancelation.

The NCAA received $270 million from event cancelation insurance, the statement said.

NCAA logo (Photo: Keith Srakocic, AP)

The association adjusted its distribution to Division I schools and conferences, so only $246 million went out in 2020, compared to $611 million in 2019.

But for the year ending Aug. 31, 2020, the association reported a nearly $56 million loss.

The new financial statement follows the contours of information previously provided by the NCAA concerning the impact of canceling the tournament, but it does provide additional details.

For example, the notes to the statement say that on May 1, 2020, NCAA obtained a $125 million credit line with PNC Bank. But they also say that as of Aug. 31, 2020, there was no amount outstanding on the credit line.

However, this only reinforces the importance to the NCAA of staging basketball tournaments this season. The association has announced that the 2021 men's tournament will be conducted entirely at venues in Indiana, rather than at the usual array of sites across the country.

According to the notes to the new statement, the NCAA is due to receive $850 million from CBS and Turner during its 2021 fiscal year. The NCAA again has event-cancelation insurance in place for the tournament.

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