IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa’s first trip to the Rose Bowl in a quarter century resulted in its largest bowl-related deficit in recent history — with expenses climbing $228,445 above the Big Ten allotment of $2.5 million.
That $2.5 million represented the university’s highest-ever allocation for a bowl game, and the UI athletics department absorbed the overage.
But, UI Athletic Director Gary Barta said, it was worth it.
“We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to return to the Rose Bowl after 25 years,” Barta said in a statement to The Gazette. “The cost of heading West was significant, but the value provided our student-athletes, coaches, fans, and the program was priceless.”
In total, the university spent about $2.7 million on its 16-45 loss to Stanford University for things like air travel, lodging and meals, and complimentary tickets for those with the athletics department, marching band, or university. The nearly $230,000 deficit was the most in recent history, topping the last UI bowl-related deficit of $188,790 for the 2014 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
UI athletics officials said this year’s bowl location — in Pasadena, Calif. — played a role in the expenses increase.
Charter flight costs rose nearly 30 percent, or $226,174, from the UI’s appearance in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., according to data provided to The Gazette. Lodging and meal expenses soared 71 percent, or $485,505, from 2015. And the department’s cost for complementary tickets more than doubled this year from last — hitting $197,955, compared with $99,415 last year.
University officials stressed that athletic department funds covered the deficit.
“No university or state funds are spent on bowl trips,” according to Steve Roe, director of UI Athletic Communications.
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In 2014, when the last recent UI bowl deficit occurred, UI officials blamed high charter air travel expenses for going over the $1.825 million allotted by the Big Ten Conference for that year’s Outback Bowl appearance. Following the UI’s appearance in the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl, the athletics department reported a $146,593 surplus, with total expenses reaching $1.85 million — below the $2 million provided for that game.
The Big Ten’s $2.5 million allotment for the Rose Bowl was the university’s highest ever, with the conference — per its policy — providing the university $2 million for the 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl, $1.825 million for the 2014 Outback Bowl, and $1.825 million for the 2011 Insight Bowl.
The university amassed its biggest bowl-game surplus in recent history for its 2010 trip to the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, when it kept $382,500 of its $1.8 million allotment. When the Hawkeyes went to the same bowl the following year, the university again reported a relatively large surplus of $292,928.
Even though the university this year reported spending more on its bowl experience than it received from the Big Ten, the university still profited from its Rose Bowl appearance via other revenue sources — like trademark and licensing revenue and national exposure.
The Gazette last month reported the university brought in nearly $1.63 million in royalties for invoiced sales of items bearing UI trademarks between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. That was more than twice the $727,374 in royalties the university collected during the same period the previous year. And it was 61 percent above the $1 million in royalties the university reported at the end of 2011 — the next best year for royalty revenue since at least 2008, according to UI records.
And, according to Roe, “One obvious advantage of playing in such a bowl game is the media coverage and program exposure on a national scale.”
2016 Rose Bowl totals:
• $1.9 million for athletics department team and staff members
• $663,509 for marching band-related expenses
• $165,815 on expenses for UI administrators and officials
• Some of the biggest line-item increases year-over-year include lodging and meal costs for the marching band, which more than tripled from $56,086 to $176,590; and athletics department complementary tickets, which doubled from $95,290 to $190,000
• The $165,815 in total expenses paid for UI administrators and officials was twice as high as last year, when the university spent $80,000 on that group