ESPN Events has taken over bowl ownership from many non-profit organizations in recent years as the majority of revenue can be made from "eyeballs on screens and not so much butts in stadium seats," according to Brent Schrotenboer of USA TODAY. ESPN's acquisition of so many bowls has altered the "complexion and business model of an industry that previously was exclusively run by local non-profit civic organizations." Of the 40 bowls this season, a "record 17 of them owned by larger for-profit businesses," including three pro teams. ESPN Events now owns 13 after as recently as '05 owning "just three of the 28 bowl games" that season. ESPN earlier this year bought the Miami Beach Bowl from the AAC and moved it to Frisco, Texas, a move that "underscores why ESPN values these lower-tier games." While a small crowd for last year's Miami Beach Bowl was "bad news for a small non-profit that relies on ticket sales and corporate sponsorships," attendance "doesn’t matter as much to a deep-pocketed media network." ESPN "wants live television programming during the holiday season to draw viewers, sell advertising and beat the competition." Even though the Miami Beach Bowl was the "least watched bowl game of the season, it was still a ratings win for ESPN," with the net "trouncing other channels" on a Monday afternoon. Meanwhile, The CFP National Championship is owned by the CFP Administration, a "for-profit entity whose members are the 10 major college football conferences and Notre Dame." Overall, smaller crowds "don’t mean the overall bowl industry is in trouble." Schrotenboer: "Far from it. The business model is just shifting" (USA TODAY, 12/13).
GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL: In Oklahoma City, Ryan Aber notes demand for this year's Rose Bowl (Oklahoma-Georgia in the CFP semifinal) has "steadily grown." As of last night, tickets "started at $285 each" on Vivid Seats and tickets on StubHub "were available for just under $300." There were still tickets "available on the primary market, though not without an additional hospitality package that raised the price well above face value." Less than 200 tickets "remained through Ticketmaster, starting at $528 each" (OKLAHOMAN, 12/13).