No money no problem

Bart Kaufman Field

Bart Kaufman Field

Indiana University football fans pack Memorial Stadium on a chilly, autumn Saturday. On a cold, winter night in Bloomington, Indiana, thousands of fans flood into a sold out Assembly Hall. But, baseball fans sit in the stands of the new Bart Kaufman Field surrounded by nearly a thousand empty seats.

Former IU baseball player, Bart Kaufman, made a generous donation of $2.5 million to begin the funding for a brand new baseball stadium. This was a major upgrade for the team considering their former stadium was nothing special. Associate athletic director for budget and finance at IU, Scott Joraanstad described the old stadium as, “just a big bleacher behind home plate, the facility wasn’t anything special.” This new 2,500-seat stadium and artificial turf field was definitely an improvement and guaranteed to attract more fans to come out and catch a game.

The new stadium boasts a beautiful media area with the press box sitting directly behind home plate. It houses a variety of rooms that offer a stellar view of the field. Although the few rooms in the press box and the control room in a quaint closet seem like so little in comparison to the football or basketball stadium, it’s much more than some other baseball stadiums have. Many universities across the country don’t even have an area for media, forcing journalists to cover the game from a hill. Even with this new, comparatively large facility for media in the stadium, extensive coverage on Indiana University baseball is still minimal.

“About half of them [stream productions on baseball] are that big, full production and about half of them are what we call one camera streams,” assistant athletic director, Andrew Rousner said.

But, no baseball stadium, no matter how nice, could ever turn the IU baseball program into a revenue sport. That’s just the way it is. Men’s basketball and football rake in over $20 million each season for the university, however every other sport IU offers only loses money. This makes it hard to understand how the university is able to maintain other sports programs if they continually invest millions of dollars in certain programs but only receive a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue. In order to solve this issue, the athletic department takes all of the profit made from both revenue-generating sports and divides it among all of the programs.

“They [the IU Football program] don’t keep it,” Joraanstad said. “It’s not football’s revenue. It’s the athletic department’s revenue so we decide how that’s gonna be spent and that’s how we support the men’s tennis program or women’s soccer.”

Profit from men’s basketball and football is not the only way other sports programs are funded. Around 20% of revenue is generated from generous sponsors. The donations to the program usually go towards athlete scholarships. Another big way the sports program at Indiana University is able to fund their programs is through money they earn from television.

“The TV revenue isn’t because the track team is on TV,” Joraanstad said. “It’s because the football team is on TV and that revenue again comes from those sports but that’s how we support the other ones”

There are a variety of reasons college sports like baseball will never be revenue sports. Part of it is due to the fact that baseball season takes place during a cold time in Indiana but it is also because it is not nearly as popular as other sports on campus. Regardless, thanks to money that other sports make as well as donations from alumni, programs like baseball are able to continue to thrive.