Road Games Ring the MAC's Cash Registers Print E-mail
Written by Dave Ruthenberg   
Wednesday, October 15 2008
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Western Michigan earned $800,000 for its trip to Nebraska
Per a recent report by the Des Moines Register, non-conference road games continue to represent a significant income source for schools across the Mid-American Conference, providing many of the schools with more income from one or two road trips than most will realize through a season's worth of home games.

The report, encompassing all 120 FBS schools, listed both pay-outs by teams to visiting schools and income received from road trips.
The MAC, which this season will play more games against teams from BCS conferences than any other collegiate conference, averaged nearly $500,000 in net proceeds from its non-conference games.
Leading the way among the cash kings in the MAC this season is two-time defending champion Central Michigan which will realize a net gain of $1.025 million in its four non-conference games.
The Chippewas are the only team in the MAC this season to play three road games at BCS schools with their largest payment coming from Georgia which paid the Chips $750,000 for their September 6 contest which was won by the Bulldogs, 56-17. CMU earned $300,000 for its game at Purdue on September 20 and will receive $200,000 when it travels to Indiana later this season. The Chips' lone pay-out was $225,000 to FCS member Eastern Illinois, which was CMU's opening night opponent.
The largest single-game payment came from Western Michigan's opening season contest at Nebraska for which the Broncos were paid $800,000 while the lowest BCS payout came from long-time rival Cincinnati which paid Miami $40,000 for its September 20 game however this is part of a long-term deal that was signed prior to Cincinnati's joining the Big East Conference and becoming a BCS member.

The average BCS payment to visiting MAC schools was slightly over $400K while non-BCS teams paid an average of approximately $140K per contest to their MAC visitors, the largest such payout being a $200,000 payday for Bowling Green in their contest September 13 at Boise State.
In terms of payouts by MAC teams, the average payout to visiting BCS teams was slightly over $188k, paced by Western Michigan's $300,000 payout to Illinois for a game scheduled to be played at Detroit's Ford Field on November 8.
The MAC's average payout to its non-BCS visitors was $150K with Charleston Southern doubling the average payout by taking home $300,000 for its game at Miami on September 13, while the average payout to FCS teams was $227K, topped by a $300,000 payday earned by Tennessee Tech for its visit to Western Michigan.

The only MAC teams to not realize a net profit this season, strictly in terms of payments and pay-outs, were Kent State which broke even with its four non-conference games, and Ball State which showed a loss of $90,000 in the net payout equation.
The MAC's average home attendance through October 11 stands at 18,038. Assuming an average ticket price of $15 and a five-game home schedule, the average gross take from ticket sales for the season for each MAC school would be approximately $1.35 million, equal to about two trips to top tier BCS teams.
But an important caveat must be stated and that is that while the pay-outs received from traveling to take on some of the premiere BCS teams is substantial, these figures do not include the cost of travel and related expenses which substantially eat away at the gross payout amounts.
Regardless of the costs involved however, there can be little argument as to the benefit of making such trips for cash-strapped athletic programs. It not only provides some much need revenue, but gives the school a chance to garner some high-profile publicity in the event of a victory.
Toledo after all is receiving more than $500,000 worth of positive press from its recent upset of Michigan.
Here is a breakdown by MAC school of each school's payouts and income received for its non-conference games.

Central Michigan
Eastern Illinois - $225,000
Georgia - $750,000
Purdue - 300,000
Indiana -200,000
Cincinnati - 150,000
Wisconsin - 650,000
Syracuse - 300,000
Army - 150,000
VMI - 240,000
Ohio State - 700,000
Northwestern - 300,000
Wyoming - 125,000
Northern Illinois
Navy - 150,000
Tennessee - 750,000
Indiana State - 80,000
Minnesota - 175,000
Eastern Michigan
Indiana State - 225,000
Michigan State - 475,000
Maryland - 300,000
Army - 100,000
Army - 150,000
Missouri - 600,000
UTEP - 100,000
Pittsburgh - 150,000
Fresno State - 250,000
Michigan - 500,000
Florida Int'l - 100,000
Arizona - 300,000
Bowling Green
Minnesota - 200,000
Pittsburgh - 250,000
Boise State - 200,000
Wyoming - 150,000
Western Michigan
Illinois - 300,000
Nebraska - 800,000
Tennessee Tech - 300,000
Idaho - 150,000
Charleston So. - 300,000
Michigan - 475,000
Vanderbilt - 130,000
Cincinnati - 40,000
Kent State
Delaware State - 275,000
Iowa State - 275,000
Boston College - 150,000
Louisiana-Lafayette - 150,000
Ball State
Northeastern - 175,000
Indiana - 150,000
Navy - 150,000
Western Kentucky - 85,000
Connecticut - 200,000
Penn State - NA
Navy - NA
Army - NA
Source: Des Moines Register
***Figures from Temple were not available at the time of the Des Moines Register's report. MAC Report Online is awaiting a response to its request.
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