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Big Ten to earn $47 million from bowls, schools could net more than $2 million


This news story was published on December 20, 2011.
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Scott Dochterman, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

IOWA CITY — The Big Ten is set to earn nearly $47 million in payouts from a league-record 10 bowl appearances this year that could net each school more than $2 million after expenses.

More than half of those earnings come from the Bowl Championship Series. The Big Ten qualified a second team for the seventh straight season, boosting the league’s total BCS payout to about $28.4 million. Wisconsin earned the league’s automatic Rose Bowl bid, which comes with a $22.3 million payout. Michigan was selected as an at-large to the Sugar Bowl, giving the Big Ten an extra $6.1 million.

The Big Ten’s payouts from its non-BCS bowl agreements are $17.7 million. The league receives $750,000 for Illinois’ participation in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which is not part of the Big Ten regular bowl lineup.

All bowl revenue is sent directly to the league, which in turn provides each school with an allowance to cover bowl expenses. The Big Ten’s bowl budgets for its 10 schools total $15.55 million.

Every school qualifying for a bowl receives a pre-negotiated allotment of tickets. The school is responsible for selling them, but the cost of unused tickets is syndicated and not incurred directly by the school itself.

Last year the league sent eight schools to bowl games. Six schools reported a combined $1.83 million lost in unsold tickets, according to documents supplied from the schools to SourceMedia Group via the Freedom of Information Act. Two schools — Penn State and Northwestern — did not release those documents based on state law (Penn State) or private school status (Northwestern).

After budgets and unsold tickets are subtracted from the total payouts, each school and the league office receives 1/13th of the net profits. After expenses (combining unsold tickets and budgets) the Big Ten likely would disperse around $28 million (give or take a few million) to each school and the league office, with each school’s take ranging from $1.8 million to possibly $2.5 million.

Here’s a look at the schools, bowls, their budgets, payouts and ticket allotment for the upcoming bowl season:

SCHOOLS BOWL BUDGET PAYOUT TICKETS:
–Wisconsin Rose $2.3 million $22.3 million 25,138
–Michigan Sugar $2.05 million $6.1 million 17,500
–Nebraska Capital One $1.775 million $4.6 million 12,500
–Michigan State Outback $1.775 million $3.5 million 11,500
–Iowa Insight $1.825 million $3.35 million 11,000
–Ohio State Gator $1.775 million $2.7 million 12,750
–Northwestern Meineke $1.5 million $1.7 million 12,000
–Penn State TicketCity $1.2 million $1.1 million 6,000
–Purdue Little Caesar’s $600,000 $750,000 5,000
–Illinois Kraft $750,000 $750,000 8,000
–TOTALS: $15,550,000 $46,850,000 121,388
SOURCES: Big Ten, BCS, Associated Press

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