University of Hawaii Uses Indiegogo to Support Athletics Travel

University of Hawaii SportsOnce you think about it – its quite obvious. The University of Hawaii has the highest cost in the nation for their collegiate sport teams.  While it may be great to lives someplace with blue skies and warm weather year round (not to mention great surfing) its cost a pretty penny to get there.  If you are a sport team looking to compete with other universities – shipping your team around starts to add up.  Not only does UH have to pay for their own team – but they also pick up the expenses of teams that must travel to Hawaii. Explain that one to me.

To help subsidize these exorbitant expenses, UH has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $10,000. A pretty tiny amount when you check out the facts posted on their campaign page:

  • University of Hawai‘i Athletics has the highest travel costs in the country because we have to fly everywhere.
  • UH Athletics spends approximately $5.6 million per year on travel (approximately 18% of the total Athletics operating budget)
  • When the University of Hawai‘i brings other teams here to compete, we pay for their airfare, hotel and meals. This is a unique situation for the NCAA. Last year we spent $2.2M on travel subsidies and guarantees.
  • The high costs of travel also impact recruitment. Bringing sterling athletes and their parents to Hawai‘i for recruitment, costs an average of $7,000.
  • Last year the men’s basketball team spent $235,000 on 9 trips and spent 40 days on the road. Total air miles traveled: 46,000.

In an article posted on Ka Leo O Hawaii, the student newspaper at the University of Hawaii, Janet Bullard, UH Foundation Vice President for Marketing & Communications discussed their initiative;

“A lot of universities are actually doing it – and doing it amazingly well,” she said, listing off Cornell University, University of Utah and Arizona State University as schools that have found success with the USeed platform. Bullard said UH chose to use Indiegogo as its base because it was simple and did not require a large financial commitment.

UH set a $10,000 goal for the campaign, a “drop in the bucket,” according to Jay, of UH’s $5.6 million yearly travel expenses. Any money raised here will pay for upcoming coach recruiting trips to the mainland.

“When we first put it out, everyone said, ‘Why is it so low?’ We’re just experimenting with this. We want to give it a try, put it out there, see what happens with it and provide people with the information,” Bullard said.

University of Hawaii AthletesThere have been plenty of university crowdfunding campaigns but the fundraising strategy is still in its infancy.  Once UH figures out what works (and what does not) perhaps we will see more from this island based university.


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