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Alabama survives COVID-19 shortfalls thanks to SEC distribution

Alabama AD Greg Byrne said that the athletic department "finished $9.6 million in the black" for FY '20 despite an initial estimated financial loss in the $75M range, according to Michael Casagrande of AL.com. Alabama athletics made $179.8M in revenue compared to $170.2M in expenses. Revenue dipped by $9,482,140 from the previous year. Bryant-Denny Stadium "used only 20% of its 100,000-plus seats for the 2020 season when total athletics ticket revenue fell by 81% from $36.9 million the previous season to $7.4 million." The SEC last May said that it would "distribute $23 million to each member institution to help offset the pandemic-related shortfalls." At the time, the league estimated an average loss of $45M at individual schools resulting from the pandemic. Alabama "would have lost $13.4 million if not for the bonus money from the SEC." The school also "tightened its belt with less travel and opting not to fill some jobs when they opened but didn’t cut pay for anyone in the department." The bailout also was the "difference between" a deficit and a positive at places like South Carolina and Tennessee (AL.com, 1/24).

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SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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