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December 17, 2009


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I've given you and this site a lot of crap in the last few months when I felt stories went astray/bias was too obvious, etc. But this is a particularly in depth examination of a phenomenon that many people probably expect is true, yet one for which most don't realize the full impact. Nicely done.


The bowls also keep the best seats for sponsors, vips and ticketmaster. This means the tickets in the school allocations are all the endzone and nose bleed seats. I have bought better tickets through tickmaster than I can get from my school.


what would be nice to see along with the tickets sold is the allotment each school was supposed to sell. For instance I see that Minnesota sold 3,000 tickets for last year's Insight Bowl, but how many were they required to sell? Did they meat their allotment or how short were they?

The Wiz


This is an excellent point and is something I tried to track down. Unfortunately, most of the bowls did not respond to my request — likely because they want to protect the gravy train. Here are some numbers:

The Poinsettia Bowl required sales of 6,000 tickets at $40 apiece. Boise State sold 4,572, meaning the school fell only 1,428 short. That's a loss of $57,120.

Other teams were not as fortunate.

The Emerald required the ACC team to sell 10,000 tickets and the Pac-10 team to sell 12,500. AT&T Park seats slightly over 40,000, so teams purchase about half the seats. Tickets for that game went for $50. If my math is correct, Miami, which sold 3,500, had to pony up $325,000 for unsold tickets.

The Sun Bowl required a purchase of 8,000 tickets at $40 each. Oregon State sold 1,200, meaning a loss of $272,000.

The Holiday Bowl required a purchase of 11,000 seats at $60 each. Oklahoma State and Oregon each sold about 6,500, so there is a loss of $272,000.



Really well-written article. I'm jealous I didn't think of the topic. But yeah, the bowl games are really for the big games... everything else is just another way to suck the blood out of these kids and samll universities. Kinda sad.

But if you ARE going to go and get tickets, you might as well find yourself the best deal. I found this really cool website when digging around for tix to my game:

They are great because they have all of the trusted vendors and help you compare deals between them.


Good post, J. You helped reinforce my argument with the guys in the "pub" who don't think there are too many bowl games. Only the bowl committees and ESPN are making any significant money on bowl games these days.


This is a very good article. It shows that not all Bowl situations are a financial gain for the universities. But sometimes tbe money isn't everything. WVU lost $1.069,000 in the Fiesta Bowl. But thrashing the Oklahoma Sooners was priceless.

Shawn Talbott

Solid article but the "X factor" is how the university does with merchandise, season tickets the next season; and most importantly: alumni donations and/or one time donations that build a new locker room or athletic building because their team made the Fiesta or Rose Bowl. This is the hidden agenda you won't hear university presidents or athletic directors talk about as they keep pushing academic standing as their focal point in the public arena.


John Franson

I think a lot of that shortfall is made up by the increased fundraising, enrollment and recruiting success that a bowl game brings, both in the short and long term.

John Franson

I can't edit my last comment, but the previous commenter made some good points. So bowl games lead to increased donations, enrollment, recruiting, merchandise sales, and ticket sales. It must be worth it or schools wouldn't participate in bowl games.

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