Rose Bowl opponent could cost Big Ten serious revenue

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IOWA CITY — If a Big Ten football team competes against a non-Pac-10 school in the Jan. 1, 2011 Rose Bowl, it potentially could cost the league's schools thousands of dollars in unused ticket sales.

This year, the Rose Bowl is required to accept unbeaten Texas Christian — the highest-ranked, non-automatic-qualifying BCS school — if either the Pac-10 or Big Ten champion qualifies for the BCS title game. Pac-10 champion Oregon ranks No. 1 in BCS standings and should qualify for the BCS title game if it beats Oregon State this weekend.

If TCU earns a Rose Bowl nod, there's a sizable difference in ticket distribution, according to the league's agreement with the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten competing team, likely Wisconsin, is financially responsible for "around 25,000" tickets when the school competes against a Pac-10 team, according to Big Ten Associate Commissioner for Communications Scott Chipman. However if the Big Ten champ competes against a non-Pac-10 school, that number soars to "around 36,000," according to Chipman.

That 11,000-ticket increase could become costly for the Big Ten and its member schools. Rose Bowl tickets cost $145 apiece so even 5,000 unused tickets could trim the Big Ten's bowl revenue by $725,000.

The Big Ten expects to earn $44.525 million in bowl revenue, according to league and BCS reports. The league's eight bowl-qualifying football teams will receive a participation fee from the league office budgeted to cover their bowl expenses. Those fees are slated to cost around $14 million, depending if the league receives a second BCS team and where it will compete.

For teams competing in the Outback, Capital One or Gator bowls, the participation fee is $1.75 million. For the Insight Bowl, it's $1.8 million, followed by the Texas Bowl ($1.5 million) and the TicketCity Bowl ($1.2 million). Participation fees for a BCS bowl — Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta — range from $2 million to $2.25 million.

Following those deductions, the Big Ten's 11 schools and the league office share all revenue and expenses from bowl games, including from unused tickets. Last year, for instance, each Big Ten school lost $36,080 in unused Big Ten bowl tickets last year, according to the University of Iowa.

Ohio State was financially responsible for 25,138  tickets to the Rose Bowl last year. Had the Buckeyes played a non-Pac-10 team, those ticket numbers would have escalated to 34,346. The Pac-10 is responsible for around 40,000 Rose Bowl tickets each year when it has a team participating in the Rose Bowl.

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