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Lawmakers shelve bill giving UH larger cut of Aloha Stadium revenues

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SCOTT MORIFUJI / SMORIFUJI@STARADVERTISER.COM
The once crowded Aloha Stadium emptied out late in the fourth quarter when the game seemed out of reach.

A looming deficit has the University of Hawaii looking for new sources of funding.

It probably won’t come from a larger share of Aloha Stadium’s revenue.

At a House Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee meeting today, lawmakers deferred a bill that would give UH 25 percent of the stadium revenues.

Aloha Stadium representatives opposed the proposal, saying there wasn’t enough wiggle room in the facility’s budget to turn over that much revenue to the university.

UH testified in support of the bill. 

The athletic department is looking at all potential revenue sources to offset the costs of joining the Mountain West Conference. In making the move, UH agreed to pay $600,000 to $700,000 in subsides for visiting teams.

Most comparable football programs keep all revenue from their football stadiums, says UH Athletics Director Jim Donovan. 

UH is charged for all out-of-pocket expenses for Aloha Stadium events, and most of its revenue comes from ticket sales and donations. Last season’s lower-than-expected attendance led to shortfall exceeding $1 million.

The Stadium Authority is sympathetic, but told lawmakers that giving UH 25 percent of revenues would potentially create a deficit in the stadium’s budget within two years.

UH Associate Athletic Director Carl Clapp was quick to point out that although the stadium and university disagree on this measure, the stadium has been generally helpful when UH has looked at new revenue streams. 

“We’re exploring the different opportunities for revenue and we’ll continue to explore those with our colleagues at the Stadium Authority moving forward,” Clapp said.

Committee Chairman Jerry Chang (D, Piihonua-Kaumana), suggested giving the university a portion of concession sales.

The stadium officials agreed to work with the university as it looks for additional revenue.

Stadium manager Scott Chan pointed out that the stadium has had its own budget difficulties. “It’s been a trying time for everyone and we do what we can to support — not just this particular client — but all our clients,” he said.

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