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BYU Anticipates Welcoming Fans Back At Football Games For 2021 Season

BYU football fans cheer for the Cougars in the first game at LaVell Edwards with fans amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ryan Campbell/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football was one of only 17 teams in college football last year to play at least 12 games amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of BYU’s seven home games were played in front of no fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

As of right now, the plan for BYU’s 2021 schedule is for fans to return to LaVell Edwards Stadium this fall.

BYU Football Fans expected back at LES in 2021

BYU Football released a statement regarding fan attendance on Thursday.

“The release of the 2021 schedule has generated a lot of excitement and questions regarding the opportunity to purchase season tickets.

“We anticipate welcoming fans back to LaVell Edwards Stadium this fall, and plan to begin ticket sales in May.”

That would be a welcomed sight by everyone to see a full capacity LaVell Edwards Stadium once again this fall. It would signal a return back to normalcy, something everyone wants during these unprecedented times.

BYU has six home games scheduled to be played at LaVell Edwards Stadium. This includes the home opener against rival Utah on Sept. 11, Arizona State’s first trip to Provo since 1998, Boise State, and the homecoming for former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his Virginia Cavaliers.

College football programs are starting to come out with their intentions regarding fan attendance to give their fan bases hope for the fall. The National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide said they expect to have 100 percent attendance this season in Tuscaloosa.

Ticket sales make up big revenue streams for BYU Athletics

During the 2019-20 academic year, the last season football season played without a pandemic, ticket sales for BYU athletic sporting events made up 26 percent of the athletic department’s revenue. Without fans and other challenges faced by the pandemic, BYU was staring down a $20 million shortfall.

BYU launched an “All In” campaign to raise money to help recoup the money lost from the pandemic, and Cougar Nation donated $15,246,900 towards the $20 million shortfalls. Unlike most athletic departments, BYU appears to be in a good spot coming out of the pandemic financially.

Along with the “All In” campaign, some BYU fans also donated their season ticket purchases for the 2020 season to the athletic department or carried over their fees to reserve for the 2021 season.

“We’ve had a fair number of our season ticket holders who have donated their full-season ticket contribution for [2020] to the athletic department. And they’ll come back next year and buy new tickets next year. It’s rare, and it’s extraordinary. I’m super grateful,” said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe last October. “Because of that number that has done that chips away at our deficit already. As an athletic director that’s trying to run a business, I can’t be more grateful. You can’t be more thankful to know that some people and many people in your organization can do that.

“We also asked any [of our season ticket holders] that had bought season tickets [in 2020] if we could carry over their money to next year. So that allows us to hold on to a large amount of money we can make work for us. Those are two examples of revenue that we can keep and a new revenue stream. It’s a humbling experience to know and hear some of the people that have a lot of money to do it, and I’m grateful for that. Some of them are the widow’s mite, and some of the stories of the people that have donated it because they want to see BYU be strong coming out of this, remarkable.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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