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Bowl Payouts Reveal Surprising Numbers
by Will Stewart,

An examination of the bowl payouts for 2004, which total over $160 million, reveals some surprising results in bowl payouts for the Big East and the ACC, in the first season post-ACC expansion. We'll take a look at what conferences earn the most, from a total payout standpoint and a per-team payout standpoint, and the numbers are thought-provoking.

There are 28 bowls this season, with a total payout, according to a table published in the Roanoke Times, of $160,874,000. Of that total, $132,094,000, or 82.1%, will go to the BCS conferences: the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, and SEC. That figure is usually over 90%, but the entry of Utah from the Mountain West into the BCS removes $11.78 million that the BCS conferences usually receive and spreads it amongst the Mountain West teams.

We'll get to the bowl payout info in a minute, but first, we need to explain the BCS Bowl payouts. BCS payouts to the conferences are anywhere from $11.78 million per conference to $14.67 million, depending upon the at-large entries.

Each BCS conference receives $11.78 million as a baseline for providing 6 conference champions to the 8-team BCS. That leaves 2 more payments of $11.78 million, and here's how they're distributed: each non-BCS team that gets into the BCS is paid $11.78 million. In 2004, Utah makes the BCS, so the Mountain West gets $11.78 million.

Any at-large invitations extended to a BCS conference team will result in that conference getting a payout of $6 million, and the remaining $5.78 million ($11.78 - $6 million) will be distributed evenly amongst the other BCS conferences. In this year's case, Texas is an at-large selection, so in addition to the $11.78 million the Big 12 gets for Oklahoma, they get an additional $6 million for Texas. The other five BCS conferences get $1.156 million each ($5.78 million / 5 = $1.156 million).

So here's the final tally for BCS payouts:

  • Utah/Mt. West: $11.78 million
  • Big 12: $17.78 million ($11.78 + $6 million)
  • ACC, Big East, SEC, Big Ten, Pac-10: $12.936 million ($11.78 + $5.78/4 million)
  • Total BCS Payout: $94.24 million

You can see why the BCS conferences don't want non-BCS schools crashing the party. Utah cost five of the BCS conferences $11.78 million, or $2.356 million per conference.

Of the 28 bowls, the conferences were able to meet all but 6 of their tie-ins. The following tie-ins (and revenue) were lost because conferences couldn't provide enough bowl eligible teams:

  • Big 12: Lost the Champs Sports Bowl ($850k) to Syracuse (Big East).
  • Big 12: Lost the Fort Worth Bowl ($750k) to Marshall (MAC).
  • Big Ten: Lost the Motor City Bowl ($750k) to UConn (Big East).
  • SEC: Lost the Houston Bowl ($1.1 million) to UTEP (WAC).
  • WAC: Lost the Silicon Valley Bowl ($750k) to Troy (Sun Belt).
  • Pac-10: Lost the Emerald Bowl ($750k) to Navy (independent).

Though I don't know the story, it looks like the WAC sent UTEP to fill the SEC's $1.1 million Houston Bowl slot, willingly giving up the $750k Silicon Valley Bowl slot to the Sun Belt in the process.

And Notre Dame, of course, took a bowl bid from the Big East (the Insight Bowl, at $750k).

When the dust settled, how did the conferences fare? Utah's entry into the BCS put the Mountain West Conference right up there with the big boys in terms of total bowl income.

Conference Total Income
from Bowl Payouts
Conference Total Payout
SEC  $  26,853,000
Big 12  $  26,630,000
Big Ten  $  24,703,000
ACC  $  19,086,000
Pac-10  $  17,936,000
Big East  $  16,886,000
Mt. West  $  14,630,000
CUSA  $    4,350,000
MAC  $    4,200,000
WAC  $    2,600,000
Sun Belt  $    1,500,000
Total  $ 159,374,000
Note: Independents Notre Dame and
Navy, with a total bowl income of
$1,500,000, are not included in the

The SEC narrowly edged the Big 12 in total bowl payouts. The Big 12 got two BCS bids (Oklahoma and Texas), but the SEC has some of the more lucrative non-BCS bowl payouts, like the $5 million Capital One Bowl and the $3 million Cotton Bowl.

But what happens when you look at per-team payouts in the conferences? To cut straight to the chase, the Big East gets the last laugh over the ACC, at least for 2004.

Conference Per-Team Income from Bowl Payouts
Conference Total Conf.
# of Teams
in Conf.
Bowl Payout
Big East  $  16,886,000 7  $      2,412,286
Big Ten  $  24,703,000 11  $      2,245,727
SEC  $  26,853,000 12  $      2,237,750
Big 12  $  26,630,000 12  $      2,219,167
Mt. West  $  14,630,000 8  $      1,828,750
Pac-10  $  17,936,000 10  $      1,793,600
ACC  $  19,086,000 11  $      1,735,091
CUSA  $    4,350,000 11  $        395,455
MAC  $    4,200,000 14  $        300,000
WAC  $    2,600,000 10  $        260,000
Sun Belt  $    1,500,000 9  $        166,667
Totals  $ 159,374,000 115  $      1,385,861
Note: Independents Notre Dame and Navy, with a total bowl income of
$1,500,000, are not included in the calculations.

Very interesting stuff. Not only does the Big East come out on top on a per-team payout basis, but the ACC lags behind every other BCS conference in per-team payouts. And next year, the ACC's take will be spread even thinner, 12 ways instead of 11.

This speaks to two important requirements for the ACC: (1) Get two teams into the BCS; and (2) get more lucrative bowl tie-ins. While expansion was good for the bottom line on football TV contracts, the ACC needs to roll up its sleeves with regards to bowl tie-ins, squeezing more out of the tie-ins they've got (the Gator and Continental Tire Bowls, both very successful bowls, look like prime candidates for increased payouts) and looking for new tie-ins.

Editor's Note: Bowl tie-in info from; payout info from the Roanoke Times "Guide to the Bowls," 12/16/04 (not online) Click here to download our Excel spreadsheet with the teams, conferences, and payouts.. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week

2005 VT Recruiting War Room #8
by Chris Horne, 12/17/04, 11:45 am
A big weekend starts today for Virginia Tech, which hosts 5-star defensive end Melvin Alaeze and Washington Post first-team all-Metro selection offensive line prospect Jon Walko and 3-star in-state linebacker Darryl Gresham. 5-star cornerback/running back Victor “Macho” Harris was scheduled to take an official visit but will reschedule his visit for January (according to Highland Springs head coach Scott Burton) because of an accident at his home earlier this week. Macho suffered 3rd degree burns on his arms and minor burns on his face in putting out a kitchen fire.Harris is expected to make a full recovery.
in TSL Pass Recruiting Report Archive, 12/16/04 (MP3 Audio)
by, 12/17/04, 10:45 am
Mike Harris and Will Stewart talk about the burn injuries suffered by Macho Harris during a kitchen fire, plus they discuss Jahre Cheeseman's commitment and the strength of VT's recruiting class coming down the stretch. (Time: 22:47 minutes, Size: 5.4 MB)
in TSL Pass

Miles to Go
by Jim Alderson, 12/16/04, 4:50 pm
These are high times for Virginia Tech football. Deserved ACC and national accolades are showered on Frank Beamer and Bryan Randall, Tech revels in the demonstration that undisputed ACC football championships can be won in a somewhat shorter conference membership timeframe than the fifty-one years [and counting] it is taking the Hoos, and the Hokie Nation prepares to descend on New Orleans like the Red Army on Berlin. Good times, indeed. There is even more news at hand for Tech’s legions of followers: Virginia Tech’s basketball season opens Sunday.
in TSL Pass

Tech Talk Tuesday Archive for 12/14/04 (Streaming Audio)
by, 12/16/04, 3:35 pm
Tech Talk Tuesday speaks with TSL recruiting analyst Chris Horne about the commitment of Jahre Cheeseman, which happened just before TTT went on the air Tuesday. Also, there's more talk about the upcoming Sugar Bowl, as Phillip Marshall from the Huntsville Times (in Alabama) comes on to preview Auburn.
in TSL Pass

Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/13/04
by Wayne Clevenger, 12/15/04, 3:00 pm
On Monday night's Hokie Hotline show, Seth Greenberg came on to talk about Hokie hoops, followed by offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring and defensive coordinator Bud Foster.
in Hotline Notes

For an Embattled Coaching Staff, a Season of Redemption
by Will Stewart,, 12/14/04, 4:15 pm
A little less than a year ago, in the wake of the bowl loss to California, it looked like the Hokie coaching staff was losing their touch. Frank Beamer had lost control of a team full of star players, Bryan Stinespring was being exposed for the overworked, inexperienced offensive coordinator that he was, and Bud Foster, one of the top defensive coordinators in the country for a long time, was clinging to an outdated defensive system that was being abused by modern offenses. Almost a year later, things look much different, and we're left to reflect upon what changed and what we, the observers of the program, can learn from it.
in TSL Pass

Gym Rat's Notebook: Sending Out an S.O.S.
by Elijah Kyle, 12/13/04, 1:15 am
I’m not sure at all whether Seth Greenberg is an avid follower of The Police, or even the tantric man himself, Sting. But do excuse Greenberg if he has become familiar with those words from "Message in A Bottle" and is thinking himself of attaching a note in a bottle and sending out an S.O.S., especially if it delivers him some yuletide cheer in the form of a legitimate inside post presence for the Hokies.
in TSL Pass

Hokies Get Back on Track with Win Over JMU
by Will Stewart,, 12/13/04, 12:55 am
Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech outrebounded an opponent for the first time this season and used a big 20-3 first-half run to take control and beat James Madison 77-53 Saturday night in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies were led in scoring by Carlos Dixon with 19 points, and freshman Deron Washington pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the effort on the boards.
in Men's Basketball Recruiting Report Archive, 12/9/04 (MP3 Audio)
by, 12/9/04, 2:30 pm
Mike Harris and Chris Horne talk VT football recruiting, including the list of visitors for this weekend, comments about the latest commitment -- Sergio Render -- and more. (Time: 30 minutes).
in TSL Pass

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