BCS Teams Expected to Lose Money This Year

Submitted by Mhpangr on December 26th, 2011 at 11:47 AM

Over on Dr. Saturday he runs down some of the expenses for just the bands and it is ridiculous.  The current system is broken and it seems few make some cash while the rest just get the "priveledge" of playing in the games at a cost.  



 I guess it really is the "Million Dollar Band." Speaking of the current format: Alabama and LSU are expected to spend close to $1 million between them just to get their marching bands to the BCS Championship Game, a significant chunk of it due to colossal ticket prices. For its band, LSU is ponying up $185,150 to buy 529 tickets for $350 apiece — the highest face-value cost for a BCS ticket, due to the primo location near the field. Alabama's band will need approximately ten more seats, bringing its tab for tickets alone to $188,650.

"We want the band there, but they take up 500 tickets. We have to buy those tickets, and tickets for this game are unbelievably expensive," said LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, who told the Baton Rouge Advocate that the university has budgeted a little over $2 million to cover all expenses related to the game. "If we spend more [than their share of the payout from the SEC], it's our fault. If we spend less, we make money. But in a lot of bowl games, it's a losing deal."



 See also… Clemson, which expects to lose $185,000 on its trip to the Orange Bowl. The two major expenses? Tickets ($390,070) and lodging ($576,696), both purchased at face value as part of the university's contract with the bowl game, whether it's able to sell them or not. (Hint: It's not.) As of late last week, Clemson had sold roughly half of its 17,500 tickets from the Orange Bowl, and will have to pick up the tab for the rest.

"There is a perception problem; it's not a windfall," said athletic director Terry Don Phillips after Clemson cleared a whopping $26,986 from last year's trip to the Meineke Car Care Bwol. "You just want to be able to break even. Sometimes you don't even break even. But there are significant benefits. You get some extra practice time. And anytime you can get on national television, it continues exposure for your program, which is very significant value."




December 26th, 2011 at 11:53 AM ^

for their tickets. That hardly seems fair. They get really good seats, too.

At some point, this system is going to crash of it's own weight. I won't pretend to have a solution, but this is only going to get worse.


December 26th, 2011 at 12:21 PM ^

How do they need 529 and 539 seats for their bands? The drumline probably would need more than one seat per person for them to have room to play. I don't know how much our band is taking, I would guess a little over 300 seats because not all of them travel? Their whole band must travel. I really don't know, but over 500 seems like a lot. 

EDIT--Quick research:
-We have around 375 members, 275 in performance block that will go + some extra members that will come on the trip as well.
-LSU has 325 members
-Alabama's Million Dollar Band website says it has has 400 members, wikipedia says 425.

If Alabama only requires 10 more seats and has 100 more people, maybe LSU bought too many or the 325 doesn't count colorguard or something. I don't know, it still seems like a lot.

MMB 82

December 26th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

The board of regents of a University would make the decision regarding whether they would let their team participate in a bowl game. I think it actually happened at Ohio that they were invited to a bowl and the regents decided not to let the team participate. Unless the prestige and secondary benefits significantly outweigh the costs, I think we will start seeing this again, especially with the more marginal bowls.


December 26th, 2011 at 2:04 PM ^

was in 1961; it was the OSUfaculty senate, and in paricular, Jack Fullen, secretary of the OSU Alumni Association, nemesis of Woody Hayes and of big-time college football, who kaboshed OSU's rematch with UCLA in the 1962 Rose Bowl (Minny subbed).

Fullen was eventually retired in 1967; I don't know if any AD's or presidents, let alone faculty senates, remain who can break the hold of the bowl system's web of bribery and psychological terrorism.


December 26th, 2011 at 4:16 PM ^

.....and then Hayes immediately went apeshit (for about the 45th time that season), and I don't think any major university has comtemplated something like that since.


December 26th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

Question then, if a school does manage to sell out of the tickets that they are forced to purchase at face value where does the profit even come from? Clothing and other things purchased bowl related?

It is nice to have the national exposure for all of these schools but at what cost is it really worth it to some of the smaller schools?


December 26th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

Main problem is secondary ticket markets. While great for fans the schools get raped by the bowl suits. No way most schools can sell their tickets when fans get them for half price on stub hub. 10 years ago or more this problem did not exist, now it's basically extortion.


December 26th, 2011 at 12:16 PM ^

The Clemson AD basically made this out to be an investment opportunity more than anything, a chance to get the name out there, and I would think that's how a lot of ADs either see it or  force themselves to see it, at least for a few weeks. Still, I can see a time where costs start to force schools to decline invitations, and at that point, losses beget losses for the bowl committees unless the Plan B "at large" is more financially able than the original choice (and even then, that school may lose money, but perhaps they could afford to do so). 

It's a marketing opportunity for the schools in general expressed as a football game, but it  seems to me that either costs need to moderate or the BCS bowls will have trouble filling stadiums and even getting teams to come in the near future. I could see a scenario where a clearly undeserving team  is in  a bowl because they can afford to go instead of the original pick (and not because of the selection process itself). 


December 26th, 2011 at 2:23 PM ^

I think that there might be a missing in the middle of your sentence.

But for real now: Consider this: If a school breaks even on a bowl game and gets some national exposure, that school will still elect to go to the bowl game. Even losing a little money is OK as long as it's outweighed by publicity benefits. So the system is broken, and horribly so, but the bowls treat the universities just well enough where they don't decide to forego a bowl game. And they line their pockets with cash.


December 26th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

may be incommodious getting the band on and off the field.

If that's not a consideration, you could always put them in the parking lot outside the field, or have their performance close-circuit-broadcasted in from their practice field back home.


December 26th, 2011 at 5:48 PM ^

they should just accept the bid conditional on not having to bring the band unless their tickets are comped. i'd like to see a bowl turn a team down for that. seems like the mere threat would qualify as extortion.

snarling wolverine

December 26th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

Boy, this is nuts.  There are some things I like about the bowls.  I like that it's kind of a vacation for the players at the end of a long, grinding seaon, and in a way it's nice that you get 30-some happy teams at the end of the year (the ones that won their bowl) instead of just one in a playoff system.  But the finances are just scandalous.  They need reform.


December 26th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

the bowl money (or lack thereof) is chump change.

The value comes from selling more seats (at higher prices) during the season, attracting larger TV revenue and market share, and donations.

Zone Left

December 26th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

Anyone who thinks the schools are really upset about bowl finances is probably wrong. The conferences, particularly the Big 10 and SEC hold all the power in bowl contract negotiations and they're willing to accept the arrangements. The Big 10 and SEC could easily refuse to have a tie-in with any bowl that forced ticket blocks on the schools or that charged for band seating. The bowls would have no choice but to capitulate, because the matchups make the bowls.

If the SEC and Big 10 decided to match each conference's champ in Boise every year, that game would immediately become the most lucrative game. Conferences choose to pay for ridiculous ticket blocks, they aren't being forced into anything.


December 26th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

This is just more of the same crap we have seen for years. The WSJ article was right; the bowls are extracting money from the general funds of the schools and putting it in the pockets of "insiders."

I'm still trying to figure out how students benefit from this.


December 26th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

Now imagine we go to the popularly propose playoff system. How much money would be lost then?
<br>I myself prefer the pre BCS era. I know no clear 1 v 2 game, but how that match up hasn't been without controversy.


December 26th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

Actually, even the conference commissioners who foist this sad system on everyone admit a playoff would be far more profitable than the current system. There are many excuses that the BCS Public Relations people use for why we have no playoff, but money isn't one of them.

Which is why the current system's days are numbered.


December 26th, 2011 at 7:35 PM ^

The bowls really have no power. Even if the TV rights are pre-sold, SOMEONE would pick up the game if LSU and Bama decided to hell with the bowl, let's play the game in a neutral SEC stadium. And if you were a voting poll member no way you wouldn't recognise the winner of an 'unsanctioned' bowl.

Which gets me thinking, would a TV station have grounds to sue an LSU or a Bama if they didn't turn up to the said bowl? I'd think that they take whoever gets there without guarantees.

Anyway the whole thing reeks of burning Paris, get your licks in before the whole thing comes tumblin down...hope the bands love dem bowls!


December 26th, 2011 at 11:42 PM ^

Actually, even the conference commissioners who foist this sad system on everyone admit a playoff would be far more profitable than the current system.

I'd sure be interested in hearing where and when they've said this. Do you have a link? It strains credulity, the idea that the conference commissioners are a bunch of money-hungry grubbers that are against the idea of making more money.


December 26th, 2011 at 2:58 PM ^

According to financial statements that were submitted by bowl committees back in 2008-2009 it seems like the bowls were not making that much money. I think the original post was commenting on the fact that it can cost a school quit a bit of money to participate in bowl games, not so much a "conspiracy theory" of bowl committees profiting from the kids.



Bowl Game Revenue ($mil) Expenses ($mil) Profit ($mil)
Advocare 100 Independence 0.8 0.8 -0.1
Allstate Sugar 12.8 13.2 -0.5
at&t Cotton 11.3 9.8 1.4
AutoZone Liberty 6.1 6.1 0.0
Bridgepoint Holiday/Credit Union Poinsettia 7.0 6.7 0.3
Capital One 11.9 11.7 0.2
Champs Sports 5.9 5.7 0.2
Chick-fil-A 17.3 15.3 2.0
Discover Orange 40.8 34.4 6.4
Franklin American Music City 5.2 5.4 -0.2
Go Daddy 3.3 3.2 0.1
Hyundai Sun 5.6 5.9 -0.3
Insight 5.2 5.1 0.1
Kraft Fight Hunger 3.6 3.4 0.2
Military 2.3 2.1 0.2
Outback 10.0 10.0 0.0
Progressive Gator 10.9 9.9 1.1
R+L Carriers New Orleans 2.1 2.0 0.1
Rose presented by Vizio 50.6 50.9 -0.3
Tostitos Fiesta 17.6 15.8 1.8
uDrove Humanitarian 1.9 1.9 0.0
Valero Alamo 7.6 6.7 0.9
Totals 239.6 226.0 13.7
Averages 10.9 10.3 0.6


Zone Left

December 26th, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

The Sugar Bowl Financial Statements are a pretty interesting read. The bowl has $32+ million in investments, which they lost $3.5+ million net during the 2008-09 year (read: mortgage-backed securities blew up on them), which was the primary reason it lost money. 

Regardless, their listed expenses were about $9.5 million, so I'm not sure where the additional $3.7 million you listed came from.