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Financial impact of Pac-12 football returning without fans at UW

The Pac-12 will hold a seven-game football season starting Nov. 6.

The Pac-12 has decided to play football in the fall, reversing an August decision to postpone until spring because of concerns about COVID-19. 

The decision, which was announced Thursday, comes after the conference's CEO Group group met last week. 

The Pac-12 will hold a seven-game conference-only season, starting Nov. 6 with a championship game the weekend of Dec. 18. The schedule will be released "in the coming days," according to the Pac-12.

Fans will not be allowed at any sporting events on Pac-12 campuses. That decision will be revisited in January.

In August, the conference decided to postpone football due to concerns about consistent testing capability, the prevalence of coronavirus across the U.S. and possible cardiac concerns related to the virus. 

The Pac-12 says its COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee reported improvements in each of those three areas, including a partnership with Quidel Corporation to provide daily rapid result COVID-19 testing for student-athletes. The group also provided an updated list of health and safety recommendations.

“I think that we’ve learned from the pros that if you do the right thing, you keep out of harm's way, there is no reason this thing can’t work," said Dave Mahler of the Dave "Softy" Mahler Show on 950 KJR. "If you are willing to have games postponed in 2020, which a year ago would have seemed crazy, obviously. If you’re willing to adjust to a new norm there’s no question this can’t work.”

However, a season with no fans will cost money. Before coronavirus, athletics brought in $33.6 million in gate revenue, according to the University of Washington. And $21 million has already been collected from football season ticket holders for this coming season.

The Pac-12 was the last of the Power Five conferences to announce a return to football this fall.

In July and August, the Big 12 released an abbreviated 9+1 schedule, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced an 11-game schedule and the Southeastern Conference put out a 10-game conference-only schedule.

The Big Ten announced last week it would resume football the weekend of Oct. 23-24 with an eight-game season planned.

Pac-12 men's and women's basketball will resume Nov. 25, which is consistent with the NCAA season dates.