MENU

Why Nevada basketball's non-league schedule will cost it $400,000

Cody Martin
Cody Martin drives against BYU on Tuesday. (John Byrne/Nevada athletics)

Nevada basketball’s budget for its non-conference schedule nearly doubled this season.

After the Wolf Pack spent just $200,000 in guaranteed payouts on its non-league schedule in 2017-18, one of the lowest figures in the Mountain West, the program spent about $400,000 on its 2018-19 non-conference schedule in hopes it lands a high seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

The Wolf Pack has 13 non-conference games this season – one fewer than last year – and it includes a mix of single-game series, home-and-homes series and neutral-court games. While every coach of a good team’s goal is to set up a non-conference schedule that puts it in contention for an NCAA Tournament at-large spot, there’s the often-overlooked financial element of putting such a schedule together. It can be costly business.

Nevada has three single-game setups this season. It will pay Akron $85,000 and South Dakota State $80,000 to play at Lawlor Events Center and will travel to Loyola Chicago for a Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge game that doesn't include a guaranteed payment.

The Wolf Pack also set up home-and-home series with BYU (no payment), USC (no payment) and Utah (Nevada will get $20,000 this year) and finishes a four-game series with Pacific (no payment). The bulk of Nevada’s guaranteed expenses come from the Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic, which will cost the Wolf Pack $196,500 for four games (two at home and two in Las Vegas).

Missing this year is a big road pay game. Nevada got $90,000 to play at Texas Tech last season, but does not have a guarantee road game this season. In all, the Wolf Pack’s guarantees for non-league regular season games was $334,312.50. It also was forced to pay Rhode Island $50,000 for canceling a return game to ?Kingston after the Rams played in Reno last season. Add in a $4,000 payment to San Francisco State for an exhibition game and around $7,000 in hotel costs for teams coming to Reno and Nevada’s total outlay is $395,312.50. That doesn’t include the Washington exhibition, which still does not have a completed contract.

Here is a look at the financial details of each of Nevada’s 13 regular-season games this year. The contracts were obtained by the NSN via a public records request.

Game 1 vs. BYU

Date: Nov. 6

Location: Reno

Cost: No payment

Perks: BYU gets 50 complimentary tickets; refs assigned by MW; $100,000 cancellation policy

Return game: Nevada will play at BYU on Dec. 10, 2019

Game 2 vs. Pacific

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Reno

Cost: No payment

Perks: Pacific gets 75 complimentary tickets; refs assigned by MW; $150,000 cancellation policy

Return game: None. This is the fourth game of a four-game series, so no game next season between these long-time rivals

Game 3 vs. Little Rock

Date: Nov. 16

Location: Reno (Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic)

Cost: Nevada owes Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 for this single game

Perks: Nevada retains all revenue created by this home game; Nevada would owe Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 if it did not complete the agreement; refs will be assigned by the MW

Return game: None

Game 4 vs. Cal Baptist

Date: Nov. 19

Location: Reno (Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic)

Cost: Nevada owes Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 for this single game

Perks: Nevada retains all revenue created by this home game; Nevada would owe Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 if it did not complete the agreement; refs will be assigned by the MW

Return game: None

Game 5 vs. Tulsa

Date: Nov. 22

Location: Las Vegas (Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic)

Cost: Nevada owes Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $16,500 in guaranteed ticket purchases (see below)

Perks: Nevada will purchase a minimum of 150 tournament passes at $110 each (total of $16,500); Nevada will get 100 complimentary all-tournament passes; Nevada responsible for travel to game; Nevada would owe Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 if it did not complete the agreement; refs will be assigned by and paid for by the tournament

Return game: None

Game 6 vs. Southern Illinois/UMass

Date: Nov. 23

Location: Las Vegas (Continental Tire Las Vegas Holiday Classic)

Cost: Guaranteed ticket purchases listed under game 13

Perks: Nevada will purchase a minimum of 150 tournament passes at $110 each (total of $16,500); Nevada will get 100 complimentary all-tournament passes; Nevada responsible for travel to game; Nevada would owe Las Vegas Tournament, Inc. $90,000 if it did not complete the agreement; refs will be assigned by and paid for by the tournament

Return game: None

Game 7 at Loyola Chicago

Date: Nov. 27

Location: Chicago (MW-MVC Challenge)

Cost: No payment

Perks: Nevada required to arrive in Chicago by 11 p.m. local time the night before the game; refs will be appointed by the MW; Nevada will receive 50 complimentary tickets, with a minimum of 25 being located as close to their bench as possible; teams must exchange recordings of three games from that season for scouting purposes

Return game: None

Game 8 at Southern Cal

Date: Dec. 1

Location: Los Angeles

Cost: No payment

Perks: Nevada gets 100 complimentary tickets (24 behind visitor bench, 76 elsewhere in arena); refs assigned by Pac-12; $100,000 cancellation policy

Return game: USC plays at Nevada on Nov. 16, 2019

Game 9 vs. Arizona State

Date: Dec. 7

Location: Los Angeles (Basketball Hall of Fame Classic)

Cost: Nevada owes Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame $7,812.50 in ticket guarantees (see below)

Perks: Game officials provided by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; all ticket revenue will remain with Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Staples Center; Nevada provided 50 complimentary tickets in premium seating section; Nevada agrees to purchase 125 game tickets at $62.50 in lower bowl (total of $7,812.50); Nevada responsible for travel to game; Nevada would owe the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame $100,000 if it did not complete the game

Return game: None

Game 10 vs. Grand Canyon

Date: Dec. 9

Location: Phoenix (Jerry Colangelo Classic)

Cost: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will pay Nevada $15,000

Perks: Game officials provided by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; all ticket revenue will remain with Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Talking Stick Resort; Nevada provided 75 complimentary tickets in premium seating section; Nevada responsible for travel to game; Nevada would owe the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame $100,000 if it did not complete the game

Return game: None

Game 11 vs. South Dakota State

Date: Dec. 15

Location: Reno

Cost: Nevada pays South Dakota State $80,000 (plus about $2,200 in hotel cost)

Perks: South Dakota State gets 50 complimentary tickets; refs assigned by MW; South Dakota State will be provided 10 rooms for two nights at a hotel designated by Nevada; $100,000 cancellation policy

Return game: None

Game 12 vs. Akron

Date: Dec. 22

Location: Reno

Cost: Nevada pays Akron $85,000 (plus about $2,640 in hotel cost)

Perks: Akron gets 50 complimentary tickets; refs assigned by MW; Akron will be provided 12 rooms for two nights at a hotel designated by Nevada; $100,000 cancellation policy

Return game: None

Game 13 at Utah

Date: Dec. 29

Location: Salt Lake City

Cost: Utah pays Nevada $20,000

Perks: Nevada gets 50 complimentary tickets; refs assigned by the Pac-12; $100,000 cancellation policy

Return game: Utah plays in Reno at an undetermined date in the 2019-20 season

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.

Offbeat News