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Intersting article: Cost of luring non-conference games on the rise...


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Cost of luring non-conference games on the rise

By Randy Riggs

AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Florida Atlantic University's football team will return to Boca Raton after its Aug. 30 game against Texas with more than memories of its first matchup against the Longhorns.

The Owls also will take home a check for $900,000.

That's what it cost Texas to lure Florida Atlantic to Austin. In the business of college athletics, it's called a "buy" game, and in the current economic climate buying such non-conference contests has never cost more.

"It's part of business; it's the marketplace," said Butch Worley, UT's senior associate athletics director who oversees football scheduling. "It's kind of supply and demand, and it gets pretty competitive."

The $900,000 UT is paying Florida Atlantic is the most the Longhorns have ever cut to get an opponent to visit Austin. FAU will receive another $900,000 for a 2010 game at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

Texas can afford it, though. With the expansion of the stadium to 94,113 seats this season, UT expects to gross about $5 million for each home game.

Nevertheless, the cost of luring opponents from smaller NCAA Division I-A or Division I-AA schools is escalating. That's especially true after the NCAA went to a 12-game regular season in 2006, and teams needed to find extra opponents.

The cost of almost all commodities is rising these days. That, however, doesn't make the buy-game markup any less breathtaking to those writing the checks.

Worley remembers when he began negotiating for UT football opponents in the late 1980s. The first no-return game he booked was with North Texas for the 1992 season. UNT accepted a $175,000 guarantee.

Good luck getting a deal like that now.

"It's absolutely amazing," said Texas A&M's John Thornton, Worley's football-scheduling counterpart for the Aggies.

"We understand why they're doing it because they have an opportunity to make a large part of their (athletic department) budget," Thornton said. "But at the same time, it's mind-boggling to think how a decade ago these games cost around $200,000."

Schedule makers have no idea what the financial ceiling is for buy games, or even if there is one — "I don't have a crystal ball to see how it's going to change," Worley said — but they believe seven-digit payouts are inevitable and perhaps already here.

Ohio State will pay Cincinnati $1 million to play a 2012 game in the Buckeyes' home stadium, but there are extenuating circumstances.

Originally the game was scheduled for Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati as the opener of a home-and-home series. Ohio State exercised an contractual option to pull out of the 2012 game, but Cincinnati renegotiated to play the game in Columbus for $1 million. The Bearcats will receive $375,000 for the previously contracted 2014 game.

A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, declining to cite specifics, said small schools had leveraged contracts with up to three BCS teams for games on the same day.

"They bid them against each other," Byrne said.

Some potential opponents have approached A&M hoping for $1 million for a future date at Kyle Field.

"They're asking," Byrne said, "but we're not paying."

The most the Aggies have paid for a one-time non-conference visit has been $850,000. This season they will pay Army $750,000. Last year the Cadets paid A&M $150,000 to move their game from the military academy's home stadium to San Antonio's Alamodome.

A&M plans to reap a financial windfall from its annual series against Arkansas at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium that begins in 2009. Both teams will earn a $5 million payday from each game, Byrne said.

The increased cost of buy games has caused the Aggies, who gross about $3.5 million per home game, to examine their scheduling philosophy, Byrne added.

"It means we're always going to have a I-AA (team) on the schedule because you can get them for $300,000," he said. "Everybody is doing it, and fiscally we've got to do it as well."

Well, not everyone plans to do it.

"We did it with Sam Houston State two years ago because we were really in a bind for that 12th game," UT's Worley said, "but philosophically, we said we're not going to do that again."

With its 52,700-seat stadium, Texas Tech simply can't afford huge payouts because its gross per home game ranges from $800,000 to $3 million depending on the opponent.

The Red Raiders' most expensive buy game comes this season — $450,000 to Eastern Washington. It was costly because Tech needed a last-minute replacement for Tulsa, which in January pulled out of a home-and-home series to accept a more lucrative offer to be Arkansas' homecoming foe in Fayetteville.

At Troy University in Alabama, the 2008-09 athletic department budget is approximately $11 million. About $1.5 million of it will come from sending the Trojans' football team to Ohio State and LSU. Troy also will visit Oklahoma State in a $300,000 return game for the Cowboys' visit in 2007.

The Trojans, who play in the Sun Belt Conference, are renowned for their nonconference schedule. Over the past five years, their opponents have included Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida State, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State and Virginia.

Troy's scheduling philosophy means a vicious gauntlet facing its team, but athletic director Steve Dennis said the money earned "is definitely needed. We rely on it for a lot of our revenue."

And they hope to be making even more in the future.

"One million (dollars) will be the situation we'll be looking for," said Dennis, who admitted it's a figure he had not dreamed was possible only a few years ago.

"But I also never thought I'd see the day when the NFL would pay a college kid $30 million who's never played a snap or watch a guy win a golf tournament on a torn ACL," Dennis said.

"It's just the times."

Link...


One of the important parts...

"It means we're always going to have a I-AA (team) on the schedule because you can get them for $300,000," [Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne] said. "Everybody is doing it, and fiscally we've got to do it as well."

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fiscally we've got to do it

:o

They gross $5 Million a game !

Thanx for posting this Jim ... each year we may get some to understand.

Go BULLS !!!

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fiscally we've got to do it

:o

They gross $5 Million a game !

Thanx for posting this Jim ... each year we may get some to understand.

Go BULLS !!!

Y/W ET...

Texas grosses $5 million... A&M grosses about $3.5, and that is the AD who is quoted as having a I-AA team on the schedule every year...

For comparison... USF grosses about $1.7 million per game if we sell out Ray Jay...

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Also explains the 1-1 deals.

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I wonder what kind of a deal FAMU got playing @Miami in 2009 and 2010.

Miami Herald

Aug. 06, 2008

UM filled its 2009 and 2010 schedule openings by booking two home games against Florida A&M. Other nonconference games in 2009: Oklahoma, at UCF, at USF. Also in 2010: USF, at Ohio State, at Pittsburgh.

I forget what we are getting for playing two games @UF. I seem to recall that there was some USF concern that the going rate would be a lot higher when we actually played and that UF agreed to adjust it in some way. However, those games have been pushed further and further back by USF, so I don't expect UF to actually pay the then current going rate. Their lawyers can't be that stupid. LOL

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Maybe Greg knows all the details of our games with Florida. That might have significance as to whether we end up playing them the second game. It might make more sense to buyout the second game, if it's cheap enough.

This is what he reported about our recent deal with ND:

USF to get big payday for 2011 Notre Dame game

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

Published January 24, 2008

The Bulls have agreed to play at Notre Dame on Nov. 19, 2011, traveling to South Bend, Ind., for a meeting of one of college football's youngest programs with perhaps its most historic. The Fighting Irish, who have won 11 national titles, will pay USF $850,000; the Big East will pay USF $125,000 from its television revenues.

"There's a platform for our football program and for the university," Woolard said. "To me, it's about an opportunity that I know our players will enjoy. Our players and fans really deserve these kinds of games."

Notre Dame has made a commitment to play three Big East teams each year starting in 2011 and had extended an open invitation to all eight conference programs to play in South Bend. While the Bulls have signed only home-and-home agreements since joining the Big East, they'll make an exception here. While Notre Dame's lucrative TV contract with NBC expires in 2010, there's a good chance this game will give the Bulls a national network TV audience, something they had for the first time last month on CBS in the Sun Bowl.

The $850,000 is easily the most USF has received to play a football game. The Bulls got $650,000 in the fall to play at Auburn. USF will be allotted 5,000 tickets for the Notre Dame game, which will be made available first to Bulls Club members and season-ticket holders.

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975,000 to beat the Irish!  talk about a win/win

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Maybe smazza could read this.  I'm tired of the whining about our opponent for the first home game every year

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Maybe smazza could read this.  I'm tired of the whining about our opponent for the first home game every year

There have been several other articles very similar to this one which have been posted here over the past year and those didn't sway him, so I seriously doubt this one will either. LOL

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