Independence Bowl appearance carries hefty price tag

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Expenses for the Ohio football team’s six-day trip to the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl in December totaled almost $16,000 more than those for this past year’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, according to a report released by Ohio Athletics on Thursday.

Of $502,445.30 in total Independence Bowl expenses, Ohio University’s out-of-pocket cost is $78,569, which is paid from the Post Season Opportunity Fund — a $120,000 slice of the General Fee set aside annually for Athletics.
Only $9,722.43 in student fees was used to cover the Bobcats’ Potato Bowl trip in December 2011.

Dan Hauser, Ohio senior associate Athletics director for external operations, said the more significant dent in the Post Season Opportunity Fund stems from a smaller bowl payout collected because of the Bobcats’ at-large Independence Bowl agreement.

The Mid-American Conference has an automatic tie-in to the Potato Bowl.
“When you’re going for an at-large bowl, in some elements there’s negotiating between the bowl and MAC,” he said. “The bowl game has leverage on their side. If they can’t come to terms with you, (they can say), ‘Fine, we’ll go over here and sign this school.’ ”

Athletics received $400,000 in bowl revenue distribution, $75,000 less than this past season’s Potato Bowl sum.

It also brought in $23,876 in ticket sales — a source of revenue that was virtually untapped in 2011 because of the game’s location in Boise, Idaho. Ohio Athletics received $1,960 in ticket revenue in 2011.

Much of the difference in cost between the two bowls is because of factors largely outside of Ohio Athletics’ control, such as a smaller payout, pricier hotels and on-campus costs this season, Hauser said.

Some of the most drastic cost differences between the Potato and Independence Bowl can be contributed to the date of the game itself. The Potato Bowl was on Dec. 17, 2011, while the Independence Bowl was played on Dec. 28, 2012.

Because of the extended timeframe in preparation for this season’s bowl, Ohio dedicated $4,322 to advertising, as opposed to forgoing an ad campaign in 2011. It also added $12,835 to its on-campus food costs, which can be attributed in part to OU’s dining halls being closed during Winter Intersession. The Bobcats’ meals had to be catered this season.

Ohio also paid $84,019.52 for lodging in Shreveport, La., the site of this year’s bowl. That figure represents an increase of almost $16,000 from the Bobcats’ Potato Bowl total.

Hotel accommodations are outside Ohio’s control, Hauser said.
“There’s a home hotel and visiting hotel, and as a participant, you don’t get to pick the best (rate) in town,” he said. “It’s, ‘By the way, here’s the place and here’s the room rate.’ ”

Ohio still stands to reap some rewards of the MAC’s 2012-13 bowl showing, as conference funds from Northern Illinois’ Orange Bowl berth have yet to be distributed.

Hauser could not ballpark when Ohio will receive its share of the Huskies’ BCS bowl funds and how handsome of a sum it would pocket.

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