December 5th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

Usually, the teams that lose by going to bowl games are teams going to bowls like the Beef O'Brady Bowl in St Pete, which matches "Who is that" against "I don't give a fuck" pretty much every year.  Teams are saddled with ticket guarantees, but nobody wants to make the trip to see their team play in a terrible bowl game.  

Consequently, the schools not only have to pay for transportation and lodging for the entire program, but also have to "eat" a bunch of overpriced tickets.  This is the only instance where the bowls actually are "for the players;" they get a trip to Florida, a gift bag, and some great festivities, while the school overpays for it.

This, if anything, will be what stops the insane proliferation of bowls.  Money always talks, and it is tough for many schools to justify the loss of revenue to their trustees.  It would be really great if some schools started turning them down.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:21 AM ^

It seems like one of the big reasons why the school going to a BCS game would be failing to sell tickets.  I don't think that will be the case this year.  The program probably does a bit better with donations and stuff with a good showing in a BCS bowl too, though this is just speculation.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:22 AM ^

is yes it's possible and yes it's financially better to be IU during bowl season, especially in the Big 10 where it's basically an even split

ND Sux

December 5th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

in a LONG time, IIRC.  We also missed bowling for two years.  All the M fans sick of Outback, Cap One, Outback, Cap One (basically Florida) for so many years are hungry for a bowl, and at a different site. 

I think we sell ours out just fine. 


December 5th, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

I thought I remember something from the dark ages of our non-bowl participation that schools that don't go to bowl games often make out better financially than those that do.  I believe revenue from the BCS/bowls is shared equally within the conference, yet expenses of attendance are borne by the schools and, due to the large number of people making the trip, are quite significant.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:52 AM ^

Money from our game is split among conference but Michigan has to pay for the team to travel, has to buy their ticket allotment which they have to eat if they can't sell out, and has to pay bonuses to the coaching staff for making a BCS bowl. Indiana is making out like a bandit, but we're not exactly strapped for cash and The BCS bowls actually tend to work out net positive. Its when you're a team that isn't guaranteed to sell out tickets in a crummy bowl when things get dicey.


December 5th, 2011 at 11:02 AM ^

From a pure $$$ perspective, Indiana makes out well in the short term.  But no team wants to be in Indiana's shoes.  Teams who go to bowls, especially big bowls, are much more able to continue growing the fanbase and recruiting top talent.  Also, the AD will be able to sell Sugar Bowl shirts, etc. to make more money. 


December 5th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

They are also given an expense allowance, correct?  The allowance more than covers the basics for essential personnel (food, lodging, travel etc.), and there is enough left over to subsidize most of the tickets.  The financial trouble, as I understand it, is two things:

1. Many schools invite the world.  Schools pile up losses because they choose to bring a lot more people than are essential to playing the game. There are only one hundred and some-odd players, but over ten times that number might travel on the school's dime. Of course, giving loads of free tickets away to bigshots probably pays off in the long run in terms of donations, but it still goes down as an expense. 

2. Some schools can't sell more than a handful of tickets. There has to be some incentive for schools to try to aggressively sell their tickets, so this is somewhat of a necessary evil. This can be a substantial expense for regional schools that don't travel well.

In short, if M loses money, it's because they wanted to.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

Two things that are overlooked:

1. Donations to the athletic department go way up in years when the team does well.

2. Licensing fees from merchandise go way up in years when the team does well. 

No way do you want to be Indiana in bowl season as you are just creating apathetic donors and you are diminishing the brand.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:44 AM ^

The biggest problems exist when the tickets are so cheap on the secondary market that it makes no sense to buy them through the school. (This is almost always the case with the Orange Bowl). In that situation, even when fans still attend the game, the schools still end up eating a fair share of their allotment because their fans buy the $20 tix through stubhub rather than the $125 tix through the school. 

Wouldn't think this would be a problem this year for UM, as fan excitement seems pretty high and going through the UM ticket office is the easiest way to insure you have tickets. I would think the VA Tech sales might be slow given their disappointing season. And I have no idea how well the non-allocated tickets will sell.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:44 AM ^

If you're Northwestern and you're playing a bowl in Texas, you might not sell out your allotment.  If you're Michigan playing a BCS bowl in New Orleans, you damn well better be able to sell 17,500 tickets.


December 5th, 2011 at 10:54 AM ^

Weirdly enough, Northwestern rarely sells out Ryan Field (without the help of other fans) but almost always sells their bowl allotment. National alumni base? Around 10,000 die hard fans? Who knows, but they've never really had problems selling bowl tickets.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:49 PM ^

My guess would be that they both have a national alumni base and are a fringe bowl team in a lot of years, so while this particular year might be seen as a bit of a disappointment, generally going to a bowl is an indication of a successful season by Northwestern standards.

Look Up_See Blue

December 5th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

dont forsee a problem for Michigan in this case.  Our fanbase is bigger than VT and the resurgence of Michigan Football is in full force.  I would be very surprised if the athletic dept lost money here.  


December 5th, 2011 at 11:36 AM ^

Eff the BCS. Secondly, UM will sell out because they have a naitonal fanbase that will be close enough to not be affected by travel expenses. I know I would go if it were about half the trip and expenses.


December 5th, 2011 at 1:14 PM ^

It's true that the NYD bowl games are played on Monday when NY's Day is on a Sunday.  However, since the BCS wants to maximize ratings and not have their games compete with each other they string out their games.  The Rose and Fiesta is on the 2nd, the Sugar is on the 3rd and the Orange is on the 4th.


December 5th, 2011 at 12:19 PM ^

I'm doing my part, rallying the troops and heading down.  It's only a 17 hour drive from Ann Arbor.

Hey Cousins, I sat on my couch, but I'm still going to the sugar bowl!


December 5th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

I'm seeing a lot of misinformation in this thread, so let me clarify a few things. All bowl participants get a "participiation fee" for expenses. I think the payout for a BCS bowl is like $2 million, so that will cover the costs to travel the team down to the game. The conference also pools all of its bowl payouts and splits it for the member institutions, but the conference ALSO shares the losses in failed ticket sales. So a team like Indiana will lose some of their cut if a team fails to sell all its tickets as well. Other conferences place the burden of ticket sales on each school, but not the B1G. The revenue sharing is truly split in our conference, for better and for worse. 


Zone Left

December 5th, 2011 at 1:38 PM ^

You're right on the money for the Big 10.

The reason schools in the Big 10 lose money on bowls is because of the extra expenses they choose to incur for the game. Sending the players and band and entourage for a week ends up costing huge amounts of money--much more than flying into the city the day prior and flying out immediately after the game. Schools choose to lose money on this stuff.

What I don't understand is why the Big 10 or SEC or other power conference accepts ticket allotments. The schools have all the power. People don't go to the Sugar Bowl because it's the Sugar Bowl, they go for the matchup. If the conferences wanted to, they could force the BCS bowls to pay them an additional fee for each ticket sold by the school and then have the bowl assume responsibility for the remainder. The bowls know this, which is why they lobby so hard to keep the status quo.