Peabody High School faces decline in revenue due to pandemic

TRENTON, Tenn. — Peabody High School is now all virtual, leaving both their hallways and their sports fields empty.

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For Athletic Director Shane Jacobs, the past few weeks have been a vastly different experience.

“Where we’re dressing, how we’re practicing, even all the way down to how we drink water, how we watch film. Every single facet of our program has been altered,” Jacobs said.

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the biggest sports, as well as football.

In hopes of not having a missing opponent on the schedule, the Golden Tide have been forced to go on the road three times to start the season.

“For us, we’ve already lost one home game. We’re anticipating the potential to lose another home game,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs says that a typical home football game at Peabody brings up to $20,000 for the school. The problem is — with COVID-19 restricting some ticket sales and seat availability — that number could be cut in half.

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“A smaller gate for us is between six to eight thousand. Right now, it’s looking like — with the capacity we have — that’s really all we’re able to bring in,” Jacobs said.

Assuming a five game home schedule, that means Peabody could make $60,000 less this year, compared to a regular year.

It’s a similar story at other schools, where football is often the biggest source of revenue and supports other programs.

But Jacobs is adamant they will not cut any sports, even if they lose that much.

“We would not cut sports here. We would find any way we could. We think that extracurricular activities are very important here at getting kids involved. I think that we would see a downturn academically if we even entertained the thought of cutting extracurricular activities,” he said.

As long as COVID-19 continues to impact the region, they won’t be able to operate a normal budget.

“You’re talking about losing potentially tens of thousands of dollars over the season,” Jacobs said.

Peabody’s next scheduled football game will be at McKenzie against the Rebels.

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