Rose Bowl Revenues Drop As Bruins Home Game Attendance Dries Up

Stadium revenues decline by more than an estimated $1 million as UCLA games draw 28,000 fewer fans so far this year

Published : Wednesday, October 9, 2019 | 5:26 AM

Empty seats in Rose Bowl during October 5 UCLA game against Oregon State Beavers. Via Twitter

Many UCLA football fans, who can be as fickle as they are loyal, have stopped going to home games this season and that spells trouble for the Rose Bowl.

Attendance at this season’s first three home games dropped by 28,045 from last year.

For every 10,000 ticket holders who don’t attend, the Rose Bowl loses out on roughly $500,000 in revenue, according to a stadium official.

By that rule of thumb, in the span of the first three home games this season, Rose Bowl revenues have already sunk by over $1 million from last year.

“We can’t anticipate year over year how UCLA will perform,” said outgoing Rose Bowl Operating Company President Victor Gordo. “That’s tough to predict. And that brings about instability.”

According to Rose Bowl CEO Daryl Dunn, the stadium has “multiple revenue streams,” all of which are dependent on attendance.

First, says Dunn, is premium seating—people who buy suite and club seats. That is a potentially large revenue source. The second is advertising sponsorships, Dunn explained.

“Sponsorship revenue is a big revenue piece for us,” he said. But, he noted, sponsorship revenue is already set.

With premium seating, said Dunn, the key is really how much the premium seats are actually sold for.

Once those are determined, said Dunn, revenue turns on other keys that are “very attendance-dependent,” such as parking and food and beverage.

“Obviously,” said Dunn, “the more people at the event, the more revenue you generate, just by nature of the number of people. And that’s pretty standard. In most of our agreements we would get revenue off of both parking and food and beverage, which is one of the reasons attendance is important.”

Dunn also said the new Rams-Chargers stadium opening in Inglewood could exert a large influence over the local marketplace.

“L.A. is the most competitive sports entertainment market in the country,” said Dunn. “There’s three stadiums on the level of the Rose Bowl. Two of them are historic landmarks, the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, and then the third one is a new $3 billion stadium, which is going to have every bell and whistle known.”

As Dunn noted, “New York has one, Chicago has one. I mean, L.A. has three. So it’s a very competitive market. And we have to recognize our strengths and we have to be very strategic and get events that make sense for us. And that’s what we do.”

Gordo points to the challenges the Rose Bowl faces.

“The bad news is that even the RBOC did not predict how intense the competition would be [in the stadium market]. When you add to that, the unknown in terms of who’s going to be touring and among those who are going to be touring next year or the year after, who has the cachet to fill a venue the size of the Rose Bowl. It’s a very limited market. One of the great things about the Rose Bowl is also one of its greatest weaknesses.”

Explained Gordo, “It’s great that the Rose Bowl has tremendous seating capacity, but that’s also a weakness, in that there are very few tenants in the world that are looking for a venue the size of the Rose Bowl.

“Who can fill those seats?” he asked. “It’s not easy to do. And so, even when there are recurring concerts planned, or athletic events that want to come to Southern California, the number of acts or events that can fill the stadium is a very small number.”