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Lost college football season is a loss for Florida college towns

Revenue losses could cut deep.

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  • | 2:53 p.m. November 13, 2020
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Courtesy. The USF Bulls football team gets ready for a game.
Courtesy. The USF Bulls football team gets ready for a game.
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The scaled back college football season, courtesy of the pandemic, obviously, isn’t just impacting how college students spend their Saturdays.

The canceled games and heavily reduced in-game attendance are also lined up to tackle Florida’s college towns that get a big boost from packed stadiums, according to a new report from Florida TaxWatch. “Assuming a conservative 25% reduction in team revenues from the previous 2018-2019 season, Florida’s college football teams could lose up to $70.8 million in total revenue,” states the report from TaxWatch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog and taxpayer research institute. “A decrease of 50% in team revenues would have far more devastating effects with revenue losses potentially amounting to $141.5 million.”

The revenue reductions could create “huge budget deficits over the coming years,” for a slew of colleges, the report adds, including the University of Miami and the University of South Florida.

The potential budget losses could also stretch beyond the field, the report projects, and into a town’s hotels, restaurants, bars and other leisure spots. A 5% reduction in leisure and hospitality jobs from lower spending in Boca Raton, Gainesville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee and Tampa, for example, would cost nearly 26,000 jobs equaling more than $665 million in lost wages, the report shows.

One more negative impact of the shrinking season, finally, comes in lost tax revenue — funds that usually go to support local development projects. The Florida Sports Foundation, to wit, previously reported collegiate athletics in Florida provide over $141 million annually in state and local tax revenue.




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