Florida State may have claimed its first ACC title in a decade last season, but it came with a hit to the athletic department’s bottom line.
According to a very detailed and excellent report from WarChant.com with information gleaned through a public records request, FSU suffered a net loss of nearly $480,000 for their appearance in the ACC championship game against Georgia Tech. Specifically, the school’s income statement shows a net loss of $478,964.20 as a result of the trip to Charlotte.
The vast majority of the financial loss incurred by FSU — in the neighborhood — stemmed from ticket sales, or lack thereof. The ACC gave both participants in the title game 10,000 tickets; FSU was only able to sell just over 2,000 of them, thanks in large part to the matchup against the 6-6 Yellow Jackets. While the conference helped absorb some of the financial burden, it wasn’t nearly enough as the website explained:
The form shows that Florida State was 100 percent responsible for selling the first 6,000 tickets. The ACC then covered 50 percent of the expense for the first 1,000 unsold tickets after 6,000, 75 percent of the next 1,000 tickets and 100 percent of the final 2,000 unsold tickets.
All told, the face value of the 10,000 allotted tickets was $774,190. After FSU’s $185,210 in revenue on the 2,033 tickets sold, $3,594 in various ticket fees and the ACC’s assistance on the final 4,000 unsold tickets ($144,895), FSU was left with a $440,491 loss on tickets. The net loss for the trip was $478,954.20.
The game wasn’t just a tough sell on FSU’s end, either, as the game was far from a sellout, with the website noting that “Bank of America Stadium never reached half-capacity during FSU’s 21-15 win” despite an announced crowd of over 64,000.
In response to the financial dousing taken by FSU — we’ve reached out to Tech officials for some confirmation as to how they fared fiscally — a conference spokesperson told the Rivals site “that ACC commissioner John Swofford has already initiated internal talks about a plan to assure that no school participating in the league’s championship game suffer any financial loss because of an appearance.”
As well they should. The only loss a team playing in a conference’s championship game should suffer is on the field, not to the athletic department’s bottom line. Especially when over 90 percent of that loss was due to unsold tickets that shouldn’t