The CIAC loses “significant” revenues
Over the past 14 months, COVID-19 has not caused harm and has impacted everyone on multiple levels in Connecticut. While the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has been affected by its field, court and pool sports, like all businesses, the CIAC has been affected by lost revenue due to the pandemic.
“Financially, over the past 14 months COVID-19 has had a significant impact for us,” said CIAC Executive Director Glenn Lungarini. “It was a negative impact and we did our best to maintain our operations so that nothing was diminished for the children.
“We have lost revenue from the entry fees that we get from teams for the playoff games. But the big loss has been in our playoff ticket sales. One of the high revenue producers for us is ticket sales. for the boys and girls basketball tournaments and the past two seasons we have not had a basketball playoff (CIAC). “
According to Form 990 for the IRS filed by the CIAC in 2019 for fiscal 2018, nearly $ 2 million in revenue was reported for tournament admission fees for the entire year. Lungarini said there were actually two areas of significant loss of income due to the pandemic.
“Number 1 was the loss of ticket sales,” Lungarini said. “There had been no playoffs, so we weren’t selling tickets. Number 2 was the reduction or loss of sponsorships. The CIAC was not the only one affected by the pandemic. All companies were affected and like us, they had to make difficult decisions.
“The corporate sponsors had to rethink their options and, with their resources depleted, they had to cut back. This meant reducing their sponsorship amount to the CIAC or simply not continuing their sponsorship. “
Among the tough decisions for Lungarini and the CIAC was the impact on its staff
“At the height of the pandemic, we have drastically reduced the hours of our employees,” said Lungarini. “We have laid off some positions and we have cut four positions, a combination of administrative managers and project managers.
“All of those decisions were tough, very tough to make. (CIAC Director of Media and Sports Information) Joel Cookson was one of those tough cuts. He was an important part of what we do and c “He’s a great guy. But we did what was in the best interests of the children, so that we could maintain our programs and our level of commitment to the children.”
Although Lungarini didn’t put any money into it, he said one of the biggest expenses during the pandemic was the cost of PPE (personal protective equipment). Federal aid has contributed to this cost.
“The cost of PPE is significant,” Lungarini said. “But PPE was necessary so that we could maintain our level of functioning and do the work that was necessary for our children. We quickly applied for a federal PPE loan a few days after it was offered. Without that help. , that would have been difficult for us.
“Having the PPE helped move things forward. The loans didn’t create a scenario where everything was fine with the pandemic. But it allowed us to continue our operation and maintain our product.”
There has been a return to some level of normalcy with the recent spring sports season and the return of the CIAC playoffs and Lungarini sees it as a turning point.
“The spring season has been important for us, not only for the CIAC, but also for the athletes, coaches and parents,” said Lungarini. “Some teams still had to quarantine themselves, but not a single athlete was quarantined during the playoffs. We have done our best to give the athletes as normal a season as possible.
“The participations in our playoff tournaments were encouraging, with the number of spectators reaching figures similar to those of the 2019-2020 season. “
Lungarini is moving forward with cautious optimism for the next school year.
“We must always keep in mind that the pandemic is still here,” said Lumgarini. “Currently, cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut are starting to increase. But I’m optimistic about the future. We’re a month away from the return of the football teams to the field and that’s great.
“We will continue to work with the Connecticut Health Department for COVID-19 guidelines as well as local health departments. We encourage all athletes to get the vaccine as it is the key to a successful season this fall season. and there is no reason to think otherwise. “
Regarding the overall spending figures and the revenue loss figures, Lungarini said the CIAC is in the process of conducting a year-end close and review.
“We will have these final numbers in the fall,” Lungarini said.