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Roses are red, Sugar is green

The 2011 Sugar Bowl provided Ohio State a sweet payday. The 2010 Rose Bowl was a financial thorn in OSU’s side.

University officials project OSU earned nearly $290,000 from participating in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.

According to documents The Lantern obtained, OSU lost nearly $80,000 from the 2010 Rose Bowl.

Pete Hagan, associate athletic director for finance, told The Lantern that OSU submitted a financial report to NCAA managing director of finance and operations Keith Martin in advance of a Feb. 28 deadline. The report indicates OSU actually earned about $288,000 from the Sugar Bowl.

OSU beat Arkansas, 31-26, in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4. An interception by defensive end Solomon Thomas ended a Razorbacks drive in Buckeye territory with less than a minute left, sealing the victory.

Officials in the business office of Arkansas’ athletic department did not return calls or e-mails.

Kathy Gaspard, director of business operations for the Sugar Bowl, told The Lantern that the Sugar Bowl paid the Bowl Championship Series a $6 million rights fee.

Gaspard said the Sugar Bowl’s fiscal year ends June 30. She said she should have a projection for how much the bowl earned by May.

The BCS pays the Big Ten directly. The conference then distributes evenly among the 11 Big Ten schools the difference between the bowl payouts and the bowl reimbursements.

According to a Jan. 25 release from the BCS, the Big Ten earned a total net revenue of $27.2 million, the same amount as the SEC and Big 12. Two teams from each of the three conferences played in BCS bowl games.

The Lantern attempted to reach BCS Director Bill Hancock, but was told Hancock is “out of the country.”

The Big Ten received an at-large net share of $6 million from the Sugar Bowl, said Big Ten director of media relations Scott Chipman.

By comparison, the Big Ten earned more than $4.5 million from Michigan State playing in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The Spartans lost to Alabama, 49-7.

The reimbursement figure for the Sugar Bowl — the amount allotted for OSU to spend on its week-long trip to New Orleans — was $2 million, the second-most of the eight Big Ten teams that played in a bowl game. Wisconsin, which lost to TCU, 21-19, in the Rose Bowl, had $2.25 million to spend.

OSU’s expenses totaled more than $1.7 million, including just more than $700,000 on meals and lodging and nearly $679,000 on transportation.

Lucia Dunn, an OSU professor who teaches a course in sports economics, said the limited revenues teams earn from bowl game appearances is a result of “taking a lot of people to the bowls.”

Costs covered the trip for 239 team and staff members, 283 band and cheerleading members and 136 faculty members and athletic department officials.

“When teams go to these bowl games, it’s expected that they’re going to drop a lot of money in the host city,” Dunn said. “If you look at what a school like OSU does, they pay for the whole marching band, there are a lot of important administrators who go full-ride.”

OSU spent $19,355 on entertainment for the team or for administrative events, Hagan said, and $3,900 on hotel security. The team stayed at the New Orleans Marriott, four blocks from Bourbon Street.

Aside from meals and lodging and transportation, the next largest cost resulted from unsold tickets. OSU absorbed the hit from 1,064 unsold tickets, ranging in price from $140-170 apiece. The university also incurred the cost of 609 tickets that the conference failed to sell, all of which cost $120.

In all, OSU incurred a cost of $222,410 from unsold tickets.

The University of Connecticut, which The Daily Campus, Connecticut’s student newspaper, reported lost nearly $1.8 million at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, absorbed more than 14,000 unsold tickets to a total cost of nearly $3 million.

Auburn University reported a loss of more than $614,000 at the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz., according to a report Thursday by The Birmingham News. The Tigers won the national title, beating Oregon, 25-22. Oregon also reported a deficit of more than $285,000.

OSU knows what it’s like being in the red following a BCS bowl game.

The Big Ten provided OSU with a $2.2 million expense allowance for the 2010 Rose Bowl. OSU incurred nearly $2.28 million in costs.

Transportation cost the school more than $997,000; meals and lodging cost the school more than $956,000. The university failed to sell 998 tickets, at $145 apiece, totaling a $144,710 hit.

The school brought fewer people to the Rose Bowl, toting 233 team and staff members, 284 band and cheerleading members and 124 faculty members and athletic department officials along for the trip.

OSU spent more than $55,000 on entertainment in Pasadena, Calif., nearly triple the amount the university doled out for the Sugar Bowl.

OSU also spent nearly $51,000 on “postage,” which Hagan said stemmed from the university having to send out tickets via FedEx because of a “short turn-around time.” OSU and Oregon were officially selected to play in the Rose Bowl on Dec. 6, 2009. The game took place on Jan. 1, 2010.

The team’s trip to Pasadena lasted eight days, while its stay in New Orleans lasted seven days.

The Buckeyes defeated Oregon, 26-17, in the 2010 Rose Bowl.

“It’s part of the whole deal,” Dunn said. “You want your team to get to the bowl, you want the prestige, you want everything else that comes your way, TV contracts, etc., from getting to that level.”


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