Hawaii opened the season with a loss against the University of Southern California. (photo courtesy UH)
Hawaii opened the season with a loss against the University of Southern California. (photo courtesy UH)

BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – HONOLULU – The athletic department for the University of Hawaii will get a $13 million bailout, money originally budgeted  for the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents authorized the move, based in part on stagnant ticket sales.

The university in 2012 hired Norm Chow as head football coach under a contract that pays him $550,008 annually plus bonuses, more than any other state employee including the governor, the president of the University of Hawaii and the head of the University’s John Burns School of Medicine. Chow coached in the NFL and with several NCAA Division I teams.

Hawaii was 3-9 in 2012, and winless so far this season.

State Rep. Mark Takai, D-Aiea, a University of Hawaii graduate and candidate for U.S. Congress in 2014, is one of the University’s most loyal fans and serves on the Letter Winners booster club board.

Takai said the success of the football team is “crucial.”

The university this year sold 18,194 of 50,000 available, the lowest number in at least the past 10 years.

Hawaii Reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with the athletic department. In 2008, the year the Warriors went to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, the university set a record for ticket sales with 27,705; the next year it sold  23,976.

Contrast that to 2012, Chow’s first year as coach, when ticket sales dropped to 20,821.

“The biggest revenue generation for the department is from UH football, and the fact that season tickets are down this year is a huge concern and impacts everything to do with athletics,” Takai said.

The university budgeted $8,849,258 for the University Warrior football team for the 2013-14 school year, but it may have to adjust that.

Carl Clapp,associate athletic director, said, “We have a revenue goal for football ticket sales that includes both season tickets and individual game tickets. If, overall, ticket sales decline below the revenue goal, the revenue has to be made up from another area or the expenditure budget will need to be adjusted.”

Season ticketsrange from a high of $375 per person for sideline seats to $75 for the upper sections. Stadium parking is $5, plus concession costs.

The state, not the university, benefits from concessions. But the university’s booster clubs, including the Ahahui Koa Anuenue football booster club, for example, contributed $6,959,495 million to the athletic department and its teams in fiscal 2013.

Athletics got $2,219,978 from corporate sponsors in fiscal 2011 and $2,316,861 in fiscal 2012. Cash received by corporate apparel sponsors is included.

“The football team needs to win and get fans in the stands. The football program and everyone tied to the athletic department has to quickly figure this out,” Takai said.

Reach Malia Zimmerman at Malia@hawaiireporter.com