SBD/December 16, 2013/Colleges

UCF Struggling To Sell Off Fiesta Bowl Ticket Allotment, On The Hook For Over $5M

UCF officials remain confident the school won't take a financial hit from the game
UCF so far has sold just 5,000 tickets for its Jan. 1 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl matchup against Baylor, "less than one-third" of the school's 17,500 ticket allotment it is "required to purchase for the bowl game," according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The figure "includes band members and player and team compensatory tickets -- meaning fewer than 5,000 tickets have been sold." The tickets sales could "have a significant impact on the financial implications of the bowl trip." UCF is "on the hook" for about $5.3M in expenses, including $3.4M for its ticket allotment and about $1.9M in travel and other expenses. The program received $2.4M "from the American Athletic Conference for its Fiesta Bowl appearance." The school has "made a push to sell tickets, including an open letter to fans from UCF President John Hitt." UCF Athletics Association CFO Brad Stricklin earlier this month said that the school will "need to sell at least 13,000 tickets to break even financially." He added that the school also will "receive the majority" of a $1M pot "set aside by the conference to offset ticket losses by its bowl-eligible schools." UCF AD Todd Stansbury said that he was "confident UCF would not take a substantial financial hit from the bowl game" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/16).

YOU SAY POTATO: In San Diego, Stefanie Loh noted San Diego State "won't sell anywhere near the number of tickets" for the Dec. 21 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Buffalo that SDSU "managed in its two Poinsettia Bowl appearances" in the past three seasons. However, the school is a week into ticket sales and has "at least already surpassed the dismal sales numbers they put up ... when they traveled to the New Orleans Bowl" in '11. SDSU Associate AD Steve Schnall on Friday said that the school has "already exceeded the 1,200 tickets they sold for the New Orleans Bowl but declined to release the exact number sold thus far because he’s waiting for the SDSU football players and coaches to submit their ticket requests." SDSU's initial allotment of Potato Bowl tickets is 8,000, and the school is "required to purchase those tickets up front and absorb any unsold tickets." Potato Bowl officials said that they have "sold about 27,000 tickets so far" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/15).

HEADING SOUTH: In St. Paul, Marcus Fuller reported Minnesota is "ahead of last year's pace in terms of ticket sales" for the Dec. 27 Texas Bowl against Syracuse. But UM Deputy AD David Benedict on Friday said that the school only has "a week left to surpass last year's total of 3,200 tickets sold" for the same game. UM traditionally has a "history of poor fan turnout when they return to the same bowl games." Texas Bowl officials said that they are "expecting a crowd of at least 50,000" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/14).

ROSES ARE GREEN: Michigan State AD Mark Hollis yesterday confirmed that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "helped find about 200 more tickets" for the school's Rose Bowl matchup against Stanford. MSU Associate AD/Ticket Operations Wendy Brown said that the new-found tickets "along with cancellations means all MSU donors at the Honorary Coaches level -- those who give between $2,000 and $4,999 annually -- will now get four tickets if they requested them" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/16).
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