The first fall without Rainbow Wahine volleyball in the school’s 47-year history figures to be expensive for the University of Hawaii.
The Big West Conference on Wednesday announced it was postponing its fall sports, including women’s volleyball, soccer and cross country due to the impact of COVID-19. No decision was announced about whether they would play in the spring.
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which audited figures are available, the Rainbow Wahine were responsible for approximately 14% of the athletic department’s ticket sales revenue, an example of the money that could be lost if UH doesn’t play in the winter or spring.
While the Rainbow Wahine don’t bring in the overall revenue of football or men’s basketball, they also operate less expensively and can be, in some seasons, the best per dollar revenue generator among the athletic department’s 21 teams.
In some of their best years the Rainbow Wahine have brought in as much as $2.02 for every dollar spent since they have fewer players than football, lower coaching staff salaries than football or men’s basketball and lower recruiting and travel costs.
In fiscal year 2019, the most recent year for which audited figures are available, the Rainbow Wahine produced $1,678,992 in direct revenue against $1,414,668 in expenses.
This does not include indirect revenue, including media rights, concessions and other areas.
According to its overall radio rights contract with Blow Up LLC, which broadcasts on KKEA 1420-AM, the school is due a base fee of $200,000 for the current fiscal year that began July 1 and is to make all home and away matches available to the station.
In its last announced TV rights agreement with Spectrum, UH was required to make at least 60 sports events from its inventory available, though there was no minimum on Wahine volleyball matches and no requirement that they be in the fall.