The University of Michigan took a loss in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, losing to Kansas State by a score of 31-14. It turns out that loss came at a price. As reported by MLive.com, citing financial documents obtained through a public records request, Michigan spent a total of $2.01 million on the trip to Tempe for the bowl game. The game left Michigan at a loss of $132,000.
This does not account for the money received by Michigan through the Big Ten’s bowl revenue share, so the loss may not be a cause for alarm. As reported, Michigan received a bowl share of $11.78 million the previous year. When millions are coming in from the conference’s bowl share, a loss of $132,000 almost seems insignificant. And in a sense, it is because schools operate knowing a healthy bowl share is coming as well as long as the school is not on any probation or postseason ban. For example, Penn State will not receive a bowl share from the Bg Ten, for example, because it is ineligible for postseason play. Instead, Penn State’s share will be donated to charities within the Big Ten community.
The breakdown of Michigan’s expenses reported saw $1.15 million used for travel costs, $664,595 for food, and $68,295 for absorbed tickets to the game. Absorbing tickets has been an issue with bowl games and expenses to schools over the years, but is something the Big Ten has addressed moving forward with new bowl arrangements. As noted by MLive.com, the Big Ten has negotiated smaller ticket requirements with new bowl partners and bowl contracts beginning this season. The travel expenses, on the other hand, will remain a concern for Big Ten teams as the reach of the Big Ten’s new bowl partnerships will begin spreading out.
“With our new bowl arrangement, the Big Ten is going to have relationships with bowls in Northern California, Southern California, Texas — the bowl picture is really spreading out,” Michigan AD Dave Brandon said to MLive.com. “That’s smart, but we all have to be really sensitive to the fact our practices — (at Michigan), when we go to a bowl game, we’re taking a lot of people. We take our band. We take our spirit squads. When you’re chartering jumbo jets and filling them up with people, and filling up hotels, it gets expensive.”
Of course, there are alternatives to cutting back on expenses, like taking cheaper flights and staying in cheaper hotels where available. But who wants to do that?