(Writer’s note: feel free to insert your own Cecil Newton one-liners liberally throughout this post as we will not be stooping to that level. Thanks in advance for your understanding in this matter.)
Unless you’re Cecil Newton, it would be very hard to put a price on what Auburn’s run to the BcS title meant to the school, the football program and the fan base. The Auburn athletic department, however, can put a price on what it cost for a trip to Glendale that ended with the hoisting of the crystal.
And they have.
Through an open-records request, the Birmingham News has learned that Auburn spent $2,901,706 for their football sojourn in the desert. That total was offset by an expense allowance of $2,287,600 given to the school by the SEC, meaning that Auburn “lost” just a little over $614,000.
For comparison’s sake, the News writes, Oregon reported having a final deficit of $285,437 from its Pac-10 allowance of $2,263,295 over 10 days. In other words, it “cost” Auburn in the neighborhood of $330,000 more than it did their title game opponents.
In reality, unsold tickets were the primary culprits in both schools being technically in the red.
The largest single-line expense item for both teams was unsold game tickets that get used for complimentary purposes to administrators, band members, cheerleaders and others.
Auburn absorbed a loss of $781,825 from 2,456 unsold tickets from its allotment of 17,400. Oregon lost $555,575 by withholding 1,761 of its 17,400 tickets.
Another factor in Auburn “losing” more money than Oregon was the size of the respective schools’ traveling parties. Oregon brought 493 people to the event, while Auburn nearly doubled that number with 938.
Of course, all of this talk of either school losing money based on the bowl expense report is simply a matter of fiddling with an incomplete set of financial numbers, as noted by the News.
Additional bowl revenue the schools receive through their conferences is not included in the NCAA reports. Counting the BCS payout and other SEC bowl money, Auburn will more than come out ahead.
Here’s guessing that Auburn would’ve been more than willing to go even deeper in the red if it meant they were able to hoist that crystal in the end.