Sugar Bowl a financial loss, too


Falling to Charlie Strong and Louisville in New Orleans on Jan. 2 wasn’t the only loss the University of Florida took in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators also came out on the losing end financially because the school fell well short of selling its required allotment of 17,500 tickets.

It was revealed at the UAA’s annual budget meeting Wednesday that UF lost about $840,000 on the Sugar Bowl, mostly due to unsold tickets.

UF was one of several SEC schools that took a loss on bowl ticket sales this past year, something that the league addressed at its annual spring meetings in Destin last month. Commissioner Mike Slive said the SEC will be pushing for a lower minimum number of tickets that bowls can require league schools to purchase in the future.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, athletic director Jeremy Foley’s proposed $100.7 million budget for the 2013-14 academic year was approved by the UAA’s Board of Directors. The figure is a 3.5 percent increase from last year’s budget.

The UAA’s biggest source of revenue is the football program, which generates 67 percent of revenue and consumes only 16 percent of the operating budget.


  1. Two things caused the Sugar Bowl financial loss…

    1) From a managerial standpoint, Urban Meyer (as he said in his own words), left the UF football program “broken”. Our team was full of elitist, entitled players and a bus load of internal dissention and trouble-making players.

    2) The constant coaching staff upheavals and we saw during the last 3 – 4 years of the Meyer Era, where continuity and consistency was affected.

    3) Then finally, you had UF raising ticket price increases in a downward-spiraling economy while the fans weren’t even getting a quality product on the field. That resulted in the home sell out attendance streak ending the poor Sugar Bowl attendance,

  2. No doubt that winning matters — especially decisively. The economy matters too. But you’ve all probably experienced a situation where you’re watching the game at home and a friend at the game texts you asking what just happened on the last play. Why are they asking you, they’re they one at the game? They’re asking you because the television experience has far surpassed the live experience.

    While the rush of attending a loud stadium can be exhilarating, it’s not worth the trouble for some. The trend that began in movie theaters has now reached concerts and sporting venues. For years movie theaters have seen declining attendance and revenues, mostly due to competition from Netflix, RedBox, and television technology, not to mention concession and ticket prices.

    This is the golden age of television. People can now watch their team on 70″ high-definition televisions without spending money for travel, hotel, parking, concessions or dealing with the jerk sitting in front of them who cannot handle his alcohol. Television ratings have skyrocketed for both college and NFL games (and indeed television contracts are where the money is).

    College football venues could help their problem and respond with price reductions and perhaps some technology draws like better WiFi or interactive experiences. But most likely they’ll continue to witness declining attendance until it flattens out.

  3. When a program hits elite status, just making a bowl game (even a big bowl), is not enough to put fannies in the seats. It may have been better in better economic times, but the entire bowl system concept is starting to collapse on itself. We have seen this happening for years with thousands of empty seats at lesser bowl games. Now, it is starting to happen at bigger bowls. This is the ONLY reason a mini playoff has been established. DOLLARS!! The NCAA clowns may eventually realize that a bigger playoff format that allows for the major bowls to alternate having the final game and the lesser bowls to be playoff sites in the weeks leading up to the final. With this format, the bowl cities get to have their tradition continue and revenue will still come in. However, that revenue will be increased by the importance of each game. A sixteen team field will provide for 14 games before the final and take fours weeks. The existing “bowl season” stretches over that period already.

  4. Gregg is much more right than sour grapes Todd. The list of high draftees and NFL talent that was on this team since Meyer’s left, rivals some of the best talent we have ever had around here. An experienced coach with a clearly defined offensive identity, would have been able to exploit the depth and quality of talent Meyer left. If there has been any revolving coaching that has hurt the players, it has been under Muschamp. Hiring a short timer Weis as an OC to bring in one kind of offense, then hiring a completely different kind of an OC in Pease. The offense at Florida has always been what brings the fans out. We haven’t been able to move the ball and score points the last couple year. Gator fans were not going to follow a Driskell led Gator offense to a bowl game. As much as we love and appreciate our defense, it is explosive offense that moves the Gator Nation fans. Muschamp and Driskell have a lot to do with why fans would rather stay home, where the can grab their remote and tune in to a more exciting offense from time to time, while we watch this hot mess called Driskell.

  5. Perhaps UF would have sold more tickets if they offered some perks to go with them. No way I could afford to go considering the transportation, lodging and food costs, plus the fact that the game was not on a weekend. I probably would have gone if the school provided a bus for free or reduced cost. We could have done that without an overnight stay. I’m sure the school is not allowed to discount the ticket price itself. I still enjoy being at the home games – but there is something nice about sitting on my couch with the HDTV and AC blasting…

  6. If the colleges want to make money on bowl games aand even regular season games, thet are going to have to follow the NFL example: institute blackouts. I’ve watched or listened to every Gator game over the last forty years without ever buying a ticket. With developments in HD, big screens and surroundsound it makes more sense to beat the traffic, heat and humidity from ones AC living room.