The bowls’ business as usual

Skipping the crap about the Fiesta Bowl’s sleaziness and the faux concern over the players’ “bowl experience”  (not that there isn’t one, just that I doubt most of the people running the bowls give a rat’s ass about it), there is one issue they bring up as the Great BCS Rejiggering moves along that should factor into the equation:

Playing semifinal games at existing bowl sites would likely resuscitate games like the Orange Bowl, which has seen drastic drops in attendance and TV ratings in recent years. However, if the commissioners opt to play the semifinals at on-campus or new neutral sites (like, say, Indianapolis), the bowl business would likely feel the trickle down.

“That means two more teams have been taken outside the potential pool for our bowls,” said Gary Cavalli, executive director of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. “That affects everybody. The entire bowl system takes a minor hit.”

The scenario that makes the BCS bowls particularly nervous is the possibility of not only precluding the bowls from hosting semifinals, but bidding out the championship game to any U.S. city. “The championship game would not be branded as a bowl game even if a bowl organization serves as host,” reads the description in the aforementioned BCS document.

Should that happen, “It changes our financial model considerably,” said Shelton. Since the BCS’ 1998 inception, the Fiesta Bowl has counted on the revenue from its turn hosting the championship game every four years to help fund team payouts for both its regular game and the Insight Bowl, which is run by the same organization. (That game will have a new name this year after Insight let its contract expire.)

“Would we still host the Fiesta Bowl? Of course we would,” said Shelton. “But the intake and the outflow would be different. … [The Insight Bowl] would have to run with a much lower payout and a much different set of teams.”

Now I happen to think that playing the semis at on-campus sites is better for the fans and provides some incentive for a program to win its games and play a respectable schedule and I also suspect that Jerry Jones has already been whispering in somebody’s ear that the schools and conferences don’t have to worry about a drop in bowl revenue because he’s good for it and then some, but until you see those final numbers, it’s hard to say.

I do think the bowls have something to worry about, though.  Lip service doesn’t pay the bills.

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11 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

11 responses to “The bowls’ business as usual

  1. Governor Milledge

    Do any bowls explicitly have charities as their primary beneficiaries anymore? I think there would be a lot more angst if the local hospital or the Boy Scouts suddenly lost several million per year in funding, if the bowl system was somehow bypassed.

    Besides the local Chamber of Commerce, the bowl committee itself, and hotdog vendors, I really wonder who benefits financially in a community from the bowl system anymore.

  2. TomReagan

    A minor trickle down effect? Ask the NIT if a national championship tournament had a minor trickle down effect on it.

  3. heyberto

    I’m not saying this would be the remedy, but the biggest problem I’ve had with the BCS bowls are the crappy matchups. Seems like when you solve that problem, you’d get better attendance. Not saying you’d get sellouts, mind you.

    Whenever I think about UGA v. Hawaii, I think about how I’d never want to see that kind of matchup if it isn’t my team playing it. Wouldn’t surprise me if people who just want to go see a good football game steer clear of those gross mismatches, or opt to just catch it on TV so they can switch it off if it isn’t any good.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I may be in the minority here but I am not plunking down my benjamins to travel to a bowl game to watch somebody else’s team play. No matter how good the match up.

    • Governor Milledge

      We could line up against the Little Sisters of the Poor in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, and I’m sure UGA would still get an easy sellout. New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl sell themselves.

      Granted, the TV ratings would be worse than a local PBS station for the game, but we’re talking about attendance. The lower-tiered bowls have to play the matchup angle a lot more in order to get the attendance and ratings (see Gator Bowl, OSU v FL)

  4. Smitty

    Crappy matchups and playing on a Tuesday or Wednesday night after the holidays do not help.

  5. Cojones

    I don’t understand. Why would you go to a bowl game to watch other teams? You go to watch your team play someone. I’ve proposed before and will again: Run the bowl games with the best teams matched in the major 4 bowls with champions chosen from the top 6 conferences, plus, add two minor/major bowls (Capital City, Outback, Gator, Cotton, Chic-fil-a) and additionally select the highest ranked champions from two more conferences. This permits highest ranking teams to compete in the bowl system for 8 playoff spots and would allow more than one team from a conference to play if ranked sufficiently.

    The next step (1st playoff games) would split the 4 games (8 teams) between repeat of two bowl locations and two additional designated cities that bid for them like the Olympics (Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, SF, etc) depending upon the location of the playoff teams permitting attendance maximum, or two campus sites capable of above 90k attendance that would be filled by competing schools. This gives a method to measure feasibility of returning the game more into the individual college venues at the semifinals stage and final NC Game in the future. It isn’t that complicated, yields higest attendance and money and allows as close as possible, equitable playoff scenarios to teams , Universities and fans. The possible boon to local economies would help drive national attention to the matter that transcends the NCAA. Let’em eat cake!

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    How about the two highest-ranked teams in the polls, the champion of the conference that makes the most money per program, and the team from the program that makes the most money individually? If it’s all about the money, then it might as well be half the playoff criteria.

    Plus, think about how many jerseys SEC fans would buy to put their team over the top. The B1G could start an indignant web site demanding that the formula include library donations and point bonuses for awarding scholarships to walk-ons. This could be huge.

  7. Macallanlover

    They will screw this up, just watch. An 8 team playoff is like being dealt 13 Spades in Bridge, you have to be pretty dumb to screw it up. 2nd round (semis) could be held at two of the current BCS bowl sites in early January. The championship game should be at one of the mid-continent domes to make it convenient for fans to travel on short notice. Tickets and available rooms should be guaranteed for fans of the two schools involved, say 30K tickets each. Stop the usual local hoarding of tickets at bowl games.

  8. Aligator

    The bowls are a joke these days, we live in a totally different time than when they were relevant/ It used to be a big deal to travel to a place you have never been in most cases or ever dream of going and getting a chance to play and get the swag. But now it is a joke for a 6-6 season. If they bump it up to 7-5, then half of the bowls or so would dissapear. These bastards are greedy and selfish. Yes there are some good top teir bowls and yes we should have a top four playoff that is home and home until the championship game. If they did that and kept the top teir bowls then it would make everyone happy except these bowl douchebags…..

  9. Bulldog Joe

    The solution for the Orange Bowl is to move it back to New Years night.

    That, and dump the ACC tie-in.