LAS CRUCES — Bowl games are rarely money-making enterprises for college football programs lucky enough to win six games and extend their seasons.
New Mexico State’s 2017 Arizona Bowl Game was somewhat of a perfect storm that resulted in a $130,000 profit. Not only was there a historical aspect, breaking the nation’s longest bowl drought of 57 years, but the game’s proximity to Las Cruces created a ticket sales bonanza.
This week’s trip to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit to cap off Jerry Kill’s first season as head football coach won’t produce that kind of return, at least in the athletic department’s bottom line. NM State plays Bowling Green on Monday in a nationally televised game.
more:Three keys to Aggies Quick Lane Bowl victory over Bowling Green
“I think there are a ton of ancillary benefits,” said Mario Moccia, NM State athletics director. “From a football perspective, you get three weeks of practice with young guys. There’s positive publicity for the football program. Playing on ESPN is huge for the school and we’re the only college game that day. It’s fun for the kids.” Very good exposure.Institution.Players get a chance to play in an NFL stadium and all this will build momentum and springboard us into Conference USA.
NM State, playing as an independent for the past five years, joins C-USA next season.
Moxia said there are “significant costs” of playing Quick Lane Bowl, but “we would love to break even with a lot of the intangible benefits.”
The maximum revenue the school can receive is $417,000, which would require the state of NM to sell all 4,000 allotted tickets. According to the contract, the Quick Lane Bowl payout is $150,000 and the school keeps 100 percent of the first 2,000 tickets (tickets are $89) and 50 percent of the next 2,000 tickets sold.
Quick Lane Bowl would not comment on whether the Mid-American Conference or Bowling Green would receive the same guaranteed ticket revenue split as the Aggies. Use of the Ford Field facilities for Aggie practices this week was free, but NMSU is “responsible for all of its bowl game expenses, including all costs, fees and expenses for travel, lodging, supplies, equipment or other expenses.” are,” according to the bowl game contract.
By comparison, the Arizona Bowl paid NM State $250,000 and the school provided $164,582 in ticket revenue (50 percent of ticket sales) and the Sun Belt provided $33,000 in travel expenses.
The most significant cost was $213,000 for the team travel to the Arizona Bowl.
Airfare for two team planes and a band plane to Detroit is already $556,500, according to NM state officials, with an estimated cost of the bowl trip ending up between $800,000 and $1 million.
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Moccia points fans to an online campaign to purchase tickets through Caringcent.org, where even if fans do not plan to attend, tickets will be donated to Detroit youth and fans will receive a commemorative ticket, as well NM state apparel depending on how many tickets they buy. By Christmas, the school had made $97,533 in sales through the site.
“We will continue the program through bowl games,” Moxia said. “We’re working with the bowl to distribute tickets to youth in Detroit. They’ve done this before so they’re handling it for us.”
Moccia also said that the NMSU Foundation is underwriting the school band’s cost to travel, which is between $200,000 and $250,000.
“The foundation is going to help underwrite our bowl efforts,” Moxia said. “They’re going to give us a check to help with the expenses and help the band and the spirit squad go to the bowl and make it a great experience for the student athletes.”
watch/listen to the game
The Quick Lane Bowl is being played on Monday, December 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff will be at 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time and will be broadcast on ESPN.
The New Mexico State Aggies (6-6) play the Bowling Green Falcons (6-6). Bowling Green is a 3.5-point favorite.
NM State’s Official Clock Party in Las Cruces Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q, 1020 N. Will be at Telshore Blvd.
The game will also be shown at the Cineport 10 Movie Theater inside Mesilla Valley Mall, 700 S. Telshor Blvd. There is no charge to watch the game inside the theater but the number of seating is limited.
Hear The Game On 99.5-FM