Auburn's Bowl Championship Series title came at a deep cost.
The university reported a loss of $614,106 for its nine-day trip to Glendale, Ariz. The Tigers weren't alone. Oregon, Auburn's opponent in the game, reported a deficit of $285,437 for its 10-day stay.
Ticket-allotment issues were once again at the center of the financial setbacks.
Auburn lost $781,825 because it withheld 2,456 tickets from its allotment of 17,400. Oregon, according to the Birmingham News, lost $555,575 because it withheld 1,761 of its 17,400 tickets.
Schools withhold tickets and keep them from public sale in order to meet demands of staff, the families of players and coaches and the band. Thus, the tickets become an expense for the university.
Auburn and Oregon were not alone in losing money. Kentucky reported a loss of $253,396 for its trip to the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. The school was required to purchase 10,000 tickets and sold only 4,460. That led to a loss of $276,740 in unsold tickets.
Pittsburgh, the Wildcats' opponent in Birmingham, declined to provide its report. The school did say it distributed approximately 2,500 of its 10,000 tickets.
It was reported earlier this week that Connecticut lost nearly $1.8 million on its trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
The practice of requiring participating teams to purchase tickets has been boom to bowl games. In 1996-97, there were only 18 bowls. Last season there were a record 35.
Although teams often struggle to sell tickets, they blindly look past the allotment issue because the losses are passed up to the conference office, which pools all the postseason monies and distributes it to league teams, thus easing the financial burden.
According to a story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the 68 teams playing in bowls in the 2008-09 season ran up more than $80 million in expenses. That total included $15.53 million in unsold tickets.
Who's getting rich? Many bowl game directors have cashed in. Jim McVay, the president/CEO of the Outback Bowl, had his compensation increase from $374,681 in 2001 to $808,032 in 2010.
Paul Hoolahan, CEO of the Sugar Bowl, had his salary rise from $227,515 in 2001 to $645,386. Gary Stokan, president/CEO of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, got boost from $90,425 in 2001 to $505,444.
Of the 23 bowls with available financial data, there were 20 executives making at least $200,000. The Orange and Chick-fil-A each had three employees topping $200,000.