About two weeks ago the University of Connecticut Huskies were celebrating their first BCS berth with an invite to the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. Today the administration stands questioning how they’re going to be able to afford to go.
To date UConn has sold 4,000 tickets to the New Years Day bowl, practically cementing the honor fewest in BCS history (Held by WVU who sold only 10,000 tickets to the Fiesta Bowl in 2007). That’s right, the school’s first “big” bowl game. The first time they’ve probably had an exclusive broadcast on national television. And they’ve only sold 4,000 tickets. If it holds the people of Connecticut will be required to potentially front a bill of about $2.5 million to cover the cost of UConn’s trip.
It’s as simple as this. Every BCS Bowl gives the schools 17,500 tickets (except the Rose, but I’m not getting into the logistics) to spread to their fans, staff, players, band, etc. The prices vary, but average around $160 or so for a ticket (Someone has to pay the $35 Million in payouts to the schools)
Blame the price, blame the location, blame whatever, UConn is a glaring example why a conference shouldn’t just be allowed to just send a team to a BCS Bowl because they were given an auto-bid. They should have to qualify for it beyond winning a conference. I agree, it’s hard to get excited when your team lost to Temple and limped into the berth after a terrible performance (that still ended with a “W”) at South Florida. Michigan State, on the other hand is heading to Orlando because of the arcane BCS rules that only allow two teams per conference, even though there is ZERO doubt who is more deserving to be in Glendale. Besides, do you really think the Spartans wouldn’t have sold out their share of the tickets by now?
But why stop with UConn? Virginia Tech, who has been a regular in Miami over the years have sold just 7,500 tickets to their game against Stanford. But this isn’t their first rodeo. Fans have been there, done that with the Hokies, they’ve proven they can travel time and time again, and I’m sure when all is said and done there will be 20,000 Hokies invading South Beach. On the other hand UConn is really throwing the already endangered Big East further into a pit. what value does a conference hold to the BCS if they can’t make the system any money?