Bowls Aren’t All About The Benjamins
Bowl Season – the magical time of year when we get extra football, graciously sprinkled around the traditional holidays of Winter. The schools must be happy too, after all, for their respective teams merely have to finish with a winning record in order to get a lucrative bowl payout. The only problem is that in order to make a bowl berth official, the school must buy a specified number of tickets. From there, it’s up to the University to put butts in the seats – if they don’t, they’re eating the loss in profits.
Check out this quote from a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article:
When it comes to playing in bowl games, Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia athletic directors said major-college football programs aren’t looking to make money but to avoid accruing losses.
“None of us view the expense money for going to a bowl game as profit, but we do figure it in our budget,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “The finances of all these games are tight, so there’s no great windfall going to any one school. The way we’re allocated expense money, you hope you cover your expenses.”
Even earning a BCS bid doesn’t guarantee covering the costs.
If that doesn’t sound right, it’s because, logically, it isn’t. But here we are, supporting the system that brings us the majesty of the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. There is something to be said in the indirect profits – Bowl berths provide a higher national profile, which can lead to increases in things like application rates and merchandise sales – but what about the less successful programs? Is it worth it to go to, say, Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl? Financially speaking, it’s unlikely.
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