College Football Bowl Season Is Upon Us


It's the most meaningless season of the year.  The college football bowl season is getting out of hand.  Excluding the college football playoff games, there are now 38 bowl games.   Ranging from the Celebration Bowl and the Dollar General Bowl, to the prestigious Citrus Bowl and Orange Bowl.  That means that 80 out of a total of 128 teams get to play in a postseason bowl game.  In previous seasons its been a struggle
for bowls to even find enough eligible teams to invite.  The number of games is seemingly increasing every year.  I understand wanting to give the athletes something to play for when their season would otherwise be over, but some of these bowl games are just a waste of time and money for the schools and players.  Not to mention, attendance at some of these games is laughable.  From 2015 to 2016, attendance decreased 20 out of 40 bowl games.  Then when you watch some of these games on TV they never seem to show the entire stadium, highlighting the fact that they are trying to hide the dreadful attendance numbers.

Then theres the other issue, aside from attendance, these bowl games usually cost schools more than what they make, regardless of the outcome of the game.  When a school accepts an invite to a bowl game, they are allotted (forced to purchase) a certain number of tickets.  The problem is that even if all of the those tickets aren't purchased by fans, the school will still foot the bill for the rest.  According to a 2013 Huffington Post article by Leigh Steinberg, Northern Illinois and Florida State were both forced to purchase 17,500 tickets each for the Orange Bowl that year (Steinberg, 2013).  The issue with that, however, was that Northern Illinois only averaged around 15,500 in attendance for home games that season, which is around 2,000 less than their required ticket purchase.  In the end Northern Illinois only sold 3,000 tickets and had to donate the rest of them, losing money on the other 14,500 tickets, which ranged anywhere from $75 to $225 apiece.  Steinberg also mentioned that Connecticut lost $1.8 million in tickets at the 2011 Fiesta Bowl (Steinberg, 2013).

Sure, playing in a bowl game can lead to tremendous exposure for a school as seemingly every game is on ESPN these days, but at what cost does that exposure come?  With ticket expenses, travel expenses, and any other expense that may come up, do the teams really come out ahead in these games?  Does a postseason bowl game at times feel like just another game for certain teams?  Unless you're the likes of Alabama, USC, Ohio State, and Clemson among others, is a postseason bowl game really worth it?  I don't think it is.

Is the Cost of Making a Bowl Game Worth It?
Leigh Steinberg -