Indiana spent $2.5 million to play in the Foster Farms Bowl last December, but only a handful of their fans made the trip to California for the game. According to a report by The Herald-Times’ Michael Reschke, sold only 672 tickets out of their allotment of 7,000. (That’s under 10 percent.)
The Hoosiers ate a little under $100,000 in unsold tickets and dumped the vast majority of the cost on the Big Ten, which picked up a $407,557 tab for about 5,300 tickets.
Thanks to the Big Ten’s contribution, the Hoosiers bowl trip won’t be a financial negative. The school will net about $100,000. From The Herald-Times:
The official payout for 2016 Foster Farms Bowl participants IU and the University of Utah was $2,212,500 each. However, IU doesn’t get that money directly.
Payouts for Big Ten institutions participating in bowl games go to the conference. Each official payout is only a portion of what the conference receives, and the Big Ten does not publicly disclose financial details of bowl game participation.
It cost IU more than $2.5 million to participate in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. That’s about $350,000 more than IU’s official payout. But when the Big Ten’s contribution for unsold tickets is factored in, IU actually received a payout of more than $2.6 million.
This is becoming a regular problem for Indiana. Last season, well over half of their ticket allotment for the Pinstripe Bowl went unsold. Via The Herald-Times:
This is the second year in a row the conference has helped IU cover the cost of unsold bowl game tickets. More than 4,000 of the 7,500 tickets allotted to IU for the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl went unsold. IU only absorbed 950 of those unsold tickets, at a cost of about $84,000. The conference paid about $345,000 to cover the cost of 3,369 unsold tickets.
But sure, keep adding more bowl games.
In general, there wasn’t much interest in the Foster Farms Bowl. Even though it was one of the most thrilling bowl games last season with Utah winning on a field goal with 1:24 left, the game received disappointing ratings on FOX primetime. But that might speak more to ESPN’s complete dominance over bowl season.