2016 Annual Report
Dear Supporters of Cal Baseball
As we close 2016 and enter the 2017 baseball season, we are continuing to work hard to secure the financial future of Cal Baseball, especially in light of the Chancellor’s directive in August 2016 to evaluate the size and scope of Cal’s athletics program.
The Foundation has taken several steps this year toward achieving its mission to ensure the permanent existence of a top-tier intercollegiate baseball program at the University of California, Berkeley.
The Foundation has submitted a report to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics, The Case for Cal Baseball, summarizing its work since the program’s reinstatement in 2011 and our financial plan to continue the program on a self-sustaining basis beyond the current term endowment. The full report can be downloaded here.
As a certified University Support Group, we are in regular communication with Cal Athletics to coordinate activities, review the program’s financial status, and monitor progress toward meeting the program’s annual budget goals. The Foundation has launched the silent phase of our 20-year/$15 million Endowment Campaign and we are in the process of securing multi-year commitments to the Annual Fund.
In addition to our annual fundraising events, the Cal Baseball Gala and Ralph Walker Cup, the Foundation seeks to minimize the annual draw from the term endowment fund by raising annual business and sponsorship revenue. The Foundation works closely with Cal Athletics to provide an exciting game-day experience that makes full use of the new lights and video scoreboard, offers affordable ticket pricing and concessions, and generates sponsorship advertising.
With deep appreciation for the generosity of donors and the commitment of an expanding base of volunteers, and in coordination with the Athletics Department, we look forward to a successful 2017 Baseball season and continued progress toward a secure financial future for Cal Baseball.
January – March 2016
University Support Group Re-Certification
The Foundation received its official recertification as a University of California Support Group for calendar year 2016.
For Love of the Game – Baseball Gala
The 2016 Gala was once again a sold-out event, raising over $130,000 from event sponsorships, dinner attendance, and auction. This year’s guest speaker was former Cal Baseball and Major League Baseball player, Jeff Kent. The Board concluded that, while the revenues continue to grow each year, the event has to raise more than $200,000 given the baseball program’s budget requirements. The Board decided to market the event as a fundraiser, including changes in ticket pricing and sponsor outreach strategy.
Donor Appreciation Banner at Evans Diamond
The Foundation sponsored the installation of a Donor Appreciation Banner at Evans Diamond that was unveiled during an Opening Night ceremony on February 26. The banner lists all donors to the Save Cal Baseball reinstatement campaign and the lights/scoreboard facilities project.
Bullpen Beer Garden Inaugural Season
The Foundation sponsored The Bullpen beer garden for each home Saturday game during the 2016 season. While the long-term goal is to generate revenue for the program, this first year’s operation was considered an experiment to see if the space, food and beer offerings could generate interest in alumni attendance as well as special events.
The Foundation secured donated beer so that revenues from beer sales to offset the cost of food if sales fell short of the vendor guarantee. With this arrangement, the first-year Bullpen expenses were $1,600 more than revenues collected, but the Board agreed that this was sufficient success to consider adding Sunday games in 2017.
Annual “Welcome Back Sunday” – East Bay Book Project
The 2016 version of “Fan Fest” was held in conjunction with the first Sunday home game on February 28 (“Welcome Back Sunday”). While previous years’ events were held the weekend before opening weekend, this year’s season schedule did not allow for the same approach. The in-game format meant fewer on-field activities, but Cal IA staff hosted a number of fan activities throughout the game. In addition, Cal baseball teamed up with East Bay Book Project for the second annual “Baseball for Books” donation event.
Community Outreach – De La Salle Academy
Cal Baseball established a relationship with De La Salle Academy, a middle school for boys of academic promise from low-income families. The team works with Academy students in their classrooms and at Cal, in an effort to ispire academic achievement and teamwork.
Donor Banner Program
The Foundation renewed five banner donors for the 2016 season, resulting in $35,000 for the baseball program. In addition to banners posted on the outfield fence, donors hosted game-day events, and were recognized in pre-game ceremonies and program announcements.
Foundation Newsletter – January Pre-season Issue
April – June 2016
Spring Semester Career and Business Network Event
The Foundation sponsored the third in a semi-annual series of Cal Baseball Career and Business Network events. The 2016 team and several young alumni heard from Andy Dolich and a representative of the Robert Half Career Search team about making the transition from baseball to the business world. Attendees gathered in small groups to discuss networking, resume preparation, and how to transfer their experiences as student-athletes into life-long career skills.
Locker Room Renovation Project Completed
The $85,000 locker room project was completed before the first home series and donor name plaques were installed before season end.
Bob Milano Night – April 23
The Foundation hosted a reception and ceremony honoring former Coach Bob Milano and accomplished the goal of re-engaging player alums in a very positive way. Over 150 of Bob’s former players, assistant coaches, family and friends honored Bob by launching the Milano Scholarship Fund at the event with a goal of reaching a $100,000 target in order to endow an annual player award in perpetuity.
Cal Baseball Sponsorship Program
In order to better market sponsorship options for supporters of Foundation events and the Donor Banner program, The Foundation Board agreed to consolidate sponsor benefits into more cohesive packages. This effort simplifies choices for sponsors who are interested in supporting more than one event per year (e.g., Gala, Ralph Walker Cup and/or banner program) and clarifies the differences between donor benefits depending on the package selected. See here for more information.
Player Alumni Outreach
The Foundation engaged former Cal players in supporting the Cal Baseball program over the long term and identified Era Captains to take the lead to connect with their teammates and update contact information for each player. The Foundation hosted in-season events to encourage the return of large numbers of alums to celebrate the program and to connect with the current team.
July – September 2016
Foundation Newsletter Published – Post-Season Issue
Board Adopts Changes for 2017 Cal Baseball Gala
The Board adopted pricing changes for the 2017 Gala, noting that the event must become a more significant revenue generator for the program, and set a revenue goal of $200,000 for the 2017 Gala, including sponsorships, ticket sales and the live auction proceeds.
Board of Directors Membership Changes
The Foundation Board approved the roster of Board members for 2016-17. The Board welcomed Jay John, new representative to the Foundation Board from the Athletic Department, replacing Ash Puri. Jim Darby was elected to the Board to replace Dave Amoroso.
Plan to Increase Annual Revenues
The Board adopted a strategy to increase annual revenues and set targets for tickets, concessions, Annual Fund, sponsorships, Gala and Ralph Walker Cup revenues. The Board designated lead volunteers as the subject leads for each strategy.
The Foundation continued to plan for the Baseball Endowment Campaign and agreed to proceed with the Silent Phase despite the delay in securing a stronger financial commitment for Cal Baseball from the Athletics Department that would be helpful to convince potential donors to give to the new endowment. The Campaign has completed the outreach materials that can be customized for each major donor, as needed. The Board discussed the schedule for moving ahead in light of the need to focus in the near term on annual revenues and in anticipation of the recommendations of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics (see below).
October – December 2016
Report to the Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics – The Case for Cal Baseball
In light of a $150 million structural deficit on the Cal Campus, the Chancellor appointed a Task Force on Intercollegiate Athletics that will be responsible for making recommendations to the administration on how to reduce Cal IA’s expenses and address concerns about Title IX compliance. Cal IA has a $22 million department deficit, $18 million of which is due to interest payments for the renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Board sent a letter to the co-chairs of the Task Force to request an opportunity to present the Foundation’s successful financial model that has sustained the program since 2011 and submitted a report to the Task Force, “The Case for Cal Baseball”, that describes the program’s legacy of academic and athletic excellence and the financial plan to continue to sustain the program on a self-supporting basis. Several Board members also provided comments at the Town Hall meeting hosted by the Task Force in mid-December, consistent with the themes presented in the Foundation’s report.
Annual Fund/Bullpen Club — Make the Cut Campaign
The Board agreed to focus on raising annual revenues in the near-term to assure the Task Force that baseball expenses will be covered for the next 5 years, pending completion of the Endowment Campaign. The Foundation launched the Help Make the Cut Campaign to secure multi-year gift commitments to the Annual Fund from donors who gave to the term endowment, player alums, player families, etc. using the Foundation’s database of over 1,200 potential donors. The Board agreed to implement this effort before the end of the year so that results can be communicated to the Task Force, as needed. The Foundation will collect gift payments and transfer them to Cal IA when the University confirms that baseball will be retained for the long term.
Ralph Walker Cup
The 2016 Ralph Walker Cup, enjoyed strong attendance despite an increase in the cost of registration. Sponsorships were solid and the event brought in $65,000 with expenses of around $25,000.
2017 Game Ticket Pricing Changes
The Foundation concurred with a new ticket price schedule developed with the Cal IA Ticket Operations staff. The new schedule will help the program reach its goal to generate $140,000 in ticket sales, and to encourage pre-sale and group sales. The schedule continues the 50% discount for 20-game Flex Ticket Books vs. individual game tickets.
Fall Semester Career and Business Network Event
The November 9 career workshop for current players and young alumni was another great success. The evening was hosted by the 1991-92 alumni players, with several alumni traveling from Southern California to participate in the event. Several recent graduates have already benefited from the network and have expressed appreciation for the commitment of the player alumni to support graduates from the baseball program.
Consolidated Contact Database Completed
With the update of player alumni contact information gathered by the Era Captains, the Foundation completed the contact database that merges all of the separate contact lists maintained since 2011. The database, which includes over 4200 names, will be updated quarterly.