For all the bowl apologists, there’s usually a go-to defense line.
“Yeah, but it makes the school money.”
In theory, that’s usually true. For Indiana, however, that proved not to be the case.
According to a report from the Bloomington Herald-Times, the Hoosiers sold just 672 of their 7,000-ticket allotment for the game. IU only earned $2,212,500 for playing in the game but it racked up $2,500,000 in expenses.
Fortunately for IU, the conference reportedly intervened and covered the difference. The Herald-Times reported that it was actually the second year in a row that IU lost money on its bowl game.
Last year, the Hoosiers sold less than 3,500 of its 7,500 tickets allotted for the Pinstripe Bowl in New York. IU reportedly paid for 950 of the unsold tickets ($84,000) while the B1G was stuck covering for 3,369 unsold tickets ($345,000).
It wasn’t just IU fans who didn’t travel to the Foster Farms Bowl. The game attendance was just over 27,600, which could’ve also been hurt by the fact that it was a late-afternoon kickoff in Santa Clara. The game itself only drew 2,628,000 million TV viewers (Awful Announcing) on Fox, which was nearly half of what the Russell Athletic Bowl drew that night on ESPN.
Oddly enough, IU’s two non-profitable bowls were actually two of the more entertaining postseason games in the last two seasons. And from a branding standpoint, there’s not a direct dollar amount associated with IU making consecutive bowl games for the first time in 25 years.
But if the Hoosiers keep having lackluster postseason support, it’ll only strengthen the argument to finally reduce the amount of bowl games.