Akron gears up for LeBron rally after profitable Browns Family Day

Cleveland Browns are considering moving training camp from Berea, and the University of Akron plans to submit a proposal by Aug. 15.
TNS Regional News
Aug 8, 2014

 

The University of Akron made a tidy profit of about $12,300 from Browns Family Day at its stadium Saturday, but it could lose money at the LeBron James Welcome Home Rally on Friday.

The big difference: Parking. While UA charged $10 a vehicle to park at the Cleveland team’s scrimmage, parking at the rally will be free.

“Though it is impossible to provide exact figures before the event, it is unlikely that the University of Akron will ‘make money,’ as we are not charging for parking, a normal revenue source for events like this,” UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey said Thursday.

Browns Family Day was a huge event for UA, attracting more than 21,000 spectators for the game and related activities.

Even though threatening skies tamped down attendance, the event still was the second-biggest event in InfoCision’s history. Only the Zips’ inaugural football game against Morgan State in 2009 drew more fans — almost 28,000.

UA brought in about $63,500 Saturday through a variety of revenue sources at the Browns’ scrimmage. It made $28,500 in parking fees and more than $19,500 in concessions, which includes food, beverages and UA gear sold at its team shop in the stadium.

The university also got a cut of the money that Sodexo made. The private company provided $62,380 in food and beverages to the lower floors of the stadium and gave the university about a quarter of the proceeds, or $15,490.

All that revenue was offset by myriad expenses, according to a university report.

For example, UA paid more than $38,200 for security, ticket takers, electricians, parking lot attendants and other personnel, and $13,000 for the food and beverages, including alcohol and beer, that UA’s dining service provided to the VIP areas on the stadium’s upper floors.

At the rally Friday, staffing costs will be about the same as Saturday’s scrimmage event, Korey said, “but keep in mind that it’s a shorter time frame than the Browns event.”

Attendance likely will be higher. All 30,000 free tickets have been distributed and the weather is expected to be mild and sunny when gates open at 6:15 p.m.

UA is not requiring the sponsor of the rally, the not-for-profit LeBron James Family Foundation, to pay a rental fee for InfoCision Stadium, just as it provided the venue to the Browns for free.

The real profit in the two events might be in the positive exposure, UA Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill said.

“They give us a great opportunity to showcase this wonderful facility and bring thousands of people to campus, many of whom have not been here before,” he said this week when asked to analyze the big events.

Meanwhile, UA is seeking to build business at the stadium. It will submit a proposal by Aug. 15 to the Browns, which are considering moving the team’s training camp from Berea.

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By Carol Biliczky - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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