COMMODORES AND MIDSHIPMEN CONQUER ALLOTMENTS
According to Cornhusker fans, Nebraska has one of the most loyal and best traveling fan bases. Fans of Big Red might be surprised to find out that for each of the last three years Vanderbilt, a school with fewer than 12,000 students and less football tradition, has sold at least three times as many bowl tickets as Nebraska.
Meanwhile, in The Buckeye State, the top bowl game draw was not The Best Damn Band in the Land or The team that had won 24 of 25, but a three-loss team from the MAC returning to the place it had played just three weeks earlier. And among teams travelling to Florida, Louisville sold more tickets than any other team, including South Carolina, Iowa, Clemson, Ohio State, LSU, Nebraska, Georgia and Wisconsin. An accomplishment that may be even more impressive is that the Naval Academy sold out its bowl allotment for the 10th consecutive time. This year, Navy played in the Armed Forces Bowl in land-locked Fort Worth, Texas and sold out a 10,000 ticket allotment.
We mention some of these success stories that may seem unlikely, because in the near future, articles will start appearing that break down whether or not a particular school made a profit on its bowl game trip. The articles will question the economics of bowl games, and whether or not playing in a bowl game makes sense for schools. The articles will cite unsold tickets as the primary reason that schools lose money on bowl games. There will be quotes from an athletic director from a school that fared poorly selling tickets, and blame directed at the bowl system for making the schools buy too many tickets. Our purpose isn’t to belittle Ohio State, but to take a look and try to understand how 10-3 Bowling Green was able to sell more tickets to the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl than 12-1 Ohio State did to the Orange Bowl. It might be because it is an easy drive from Wood County to Detroit, but I think there is more to it than that. Bowling Green does something that no other school does, and that may have helped the Falcons bowl ticket sales take off. Keep in mind that there may also be specific reasons that a school does not sell out a ticket allotment by choice, such as only making tickets available to donors of a certain level.
There are other bright spots. When you review the table below, you’ll see the notice by how much Louisville was able to outsell schools like Wisconsin, Nebraska and Georgia that also traveled to Florida. That may seem like a surprise because it is a smaller school, from what’s perceived as a lesser conference,and also has a long drive, but selling more tickets was in the Cards this year. It may be due to a few things that Louisville does that other schools don’t, that might make a fan want to buy tickets from the school, rather than other sources. In the next few months, we’ll be researching and sharing those things with you.
Going forward, the bowls listened to athletic directors and conference officials, and ticket allotments will be dropping at most bowl games next year. For example, games that are in the College Football Playoff will have ticket allotments of 12,500 per school, down from at least 17,500. Several other bowls are seeing allotments drop to what seems to be an average of about 6,000 tickets per school. In the next few months, we’ll be taking a closer look at ticket allotments, and historical sales. We’ll share the best practices from several schools and we’ll be talking to secondary market sellers, athletic department officials, and bowl executives to let you know what they think will happen in the years to come.
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|Michigan State||BCS Rose Bowl||24,000||24,000|
|Stanford||BCS Rose Bowl||24,000||24,000|
|Ohio State||BCS Orange Bowl||17,500||7,000|
|Clemson||BCS Orange Bowl||17,500||8,750|
|Notre Dame||Pinstripe Bowl||10,440||10,440|
|Bowling Green||Pizza Bowl||10,000||10,000|
|Ole Miss||Music City||12,000||13,438|
|Fresno State||Royal Purple Las Vegas||11,000||8,900|
|South Carolina||Capital One||12,500||11,000|
|Utah State||Poinsettia Bowl||3,000||1,989|
|Northern Illinois||Poinsettia Bowl||3,000||1,200|
|Colorado State||New Mexico Bowl||5,105|
|San Diego State||Famous Idaho Potato||8,000||2,500|
Numbers gathered from several sources, and will be updated or confirmed with additional bowl games added in a future post.