Uconn Lost $1.8 Million By Accepting 2011 Fiesta Bowl Game; A Case Study For Playoff Reform

Uconn received $2,523,200 from the Big East for making the Fiesta Bowl. In the end, Connecticut incurred expenses of $4,280,998 to attend the Fiesta Bowl game in Phoenix. This comes to a nearly $1.8M net loss — all to get beat up by Oklahoma by 28 points.

The biggest expense for Uconn was the cost of tickets. The athletic department had to eat a bunch of them — 14,729 to be exact. That’s right, nearly 15,000 tickets that Uconn couldn’t sell. The university is forced to buy 17,500 tickets for a game that is over 2,500 miles away. There is no chance a Big East football program can sell all those tickets. This ended up costing the university $2,924,385.

As you can see, this is a large portion of their $4.28M expense total.

Apparently, the only two Connecticut fans in attendance in Phoenix.

Although I am loving the misery suffered by the University of Connecticut’s athletic program, it could be used as a great case study. It goes to show that there are often a large number of losers under the current BCS system.

There is no doubt in my mind, there is an agreeable way to facilitate post-season football without such extreme losses.

In 2010, NCAA football had  at least 13 schools spend more to play their single bowl game than their conferences received in compensation. To make a comparison; in ’02-03 only 13 of the 65 participating NCAA Tournament basketball teams reported net losses for the entire year.

The cost to attend bowl games for schools is clearly large. If someone with reform ideas can get the major universities on their side, the conferences could have no choice but to follow. If the conferences follow, then we have some potential for actionable change.

Enter Mark Cuban.

For some time now, I have had the same idea that Cuban seems to back currently. You add a playoff while keeping some bowl games. To that end, Cuban is open to keeping some aspects of the BCS, but wants to institute a playoff in addition to bowl games. Touching on the profitability point; he wants to make it more profitable for programs to qualify for his playoff than to participate in a bowl. He believes this is key. As he told ESPN Dallas:

“Say, ‘Look, I’m going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you’re picked for the playoff system, you’ll go.'”

Is it random, or odd to have Mark Cuban involved in this — sure. I am certain that the BCS executives hate it. But, really, that’s just what we need. Make the BCS people uncomfortable. That’s a good thing. If anyone can get this done, why not bet on Cuban?

[via The Daily Campus]

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  • Dave

    Seems like UConn should investigate where 4.8 million was spent. They must operate like the O administration and not buget their spending to the anticipated income!

    • Untcliff

      Try reading the entire article before taking a cheap shot at Obama and sticking your foot so far into your mouth that it comes out of your butt. If U Conn could have sold their ticket allotment, they would have made money. Do the math.

  • Soulman45

    Some people need to take a math. class.
    At less they know it was a lost now they got to know why.

    • Jack

      Some people need to take a spelling class.

      (Sorry, that one was too easy to take. Nothing serious, all in good fun.)

  • SteveZ

    That is a lot of money for UConn to lose!

    While I like Stanford's outcome on the field in the Orange Bowl vs. playing Ok. in a bowl for the 2nd straight year, I'll bet both Stanford and UConn would have done much better financially if they had swapped bowls to be much closer to home for their fans. Or better yet Stanford had played in the Rose Bowl. The thing that prevented that was the pre-determined order bowls got to pick what worked best for them (subject to the Rose Bowl having to take TCU). It's too bad the bowls couldn't work out a deal swap teams, perhaps with the Orange getting some credit for the next year for being cooperative (like trading down in exchange for a future draft pick.)

  • http://collegefootballhaven12.blogspot.com Scott

    As far as I understand, bowl payouts have two parts. The school in the bowl gets one part, and the second part is divided among the schools in the conference. So UConn got $2.5 million from the Big East, but don't they also have the $10 million (or whatever it is now) for playing in the Fiesta Bowl itself?

    • ows

      The Big Est gets ~$17M for Uconn\’s appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. That is split between all the team in the conference. Thus, Uconn got just over $2.5M.

      I hope that clarifies it for you.

  • rondomino

    I believe the Big East just solved this problem by adding TCU to the conference. They shouldn't have much trouble selling those seats each year after they crush the Big East.
    Best of luck to Mark Cuban! He's absolutely right about incorporating playoffs into a bowl system.