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UNLV looking to raise $1.5M to recoup COVID-19 revenue losses

UNLV is looking for donations to help its athletics department keep momentum going amid financial stress created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The university kicked off the D5 Momentum Fund 2.0 on Friday, looking to raise $1.5 million for the athletic department by the end of the year.

Momentum had been building for football — one of the athletic department’s main revenue generators — with the completion of the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium and the addition of the on-campus Fertitta Football Complex. The pandemic halted that with the inaugural season at the 65,000-seat stadium postponed at least until the spring.

“These are difficult times but we, as Rebels, always rise in the face of a challenge,” UNLV Athletic Director Desiree Reed-Francois said in a statement. “The D5 Momentum Fund embodies this mantra, reflects our mission and represents our chance, during this time of need, to advance excellence through the success of our student-athletes.”

The school sold a record 7,460 season tickets for the 2020 football season and projected that football would generate $2.9 million in revenue for fiscal year 2020 and $3.1 million in FY 2021.

“We are building something special … on a path to preeminence with the pieces in place to emerge not simply as a Mountain West power, but a national player,” stated a release announcing the launch of the fundraiser. “We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine the progress made possible, in large part, by your generosity.”

Season ticket holders for UNLV’s 2020 football season can let their dues go toward the possible spring season, request a refund or donate the balance to the athletic department.

Discussions regarding winter sports, namely the 2020-21 Runnin’ Rebels basketball season — the school’s other moneymaker — are ongoing. If the Rebels’ Mountain West season is postponed, as other conferences have done, the financial impact would grow.

“Despite the COVID-19 challenge, we continue to build something special and support from the Rebel Athletic Fund membership is essential to our continued success,” Rebels men’s basketball coach T.J. Otzelberger said in a statement. “When you invest in the D5 Momentum Fund, you expand our margin of excellence so, together, we win in competition, in the classroom and across our amazing community.”

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