Football playoffs could bring in publicity over revenue

By Gus Bode

75 percent of ticket sales to pay for tournament bid

The University has placed its bid for the first round of the NCAA football play-offs Nov. 29, but if SIUC wins the bid, they will receive more publicity than revenue.

To host the NCAA football game, a university must submit a minimum bid of $30,000 for the first round, increasing in increments of $10,000 for each additional round. According to SIUC Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk, ticket sales pay for this bid. After paying for the costs of game management, the NCAA will take 75 percent of ticket sales to supplement the bid.

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“We’re really not in it to make money. That’s a long shot at best,” Kowalczyk said. “We want home field advantage. We want to have the opportunity to win the national championship, and playing at home is the easiest way to get there.”

Mike Trude, SIUC athletics marketing director, said it would be wonderful if the University broke even on the way to the national championship.

“There’s a chance to be on ESPN three times,” said Trude. “The publicity that it generates, you can’t pay for.”

Harking back to the basketball’s NCAA run in the Sweet Sixteen in 2002, Trude said the resulting positive buzz raised people’s views of the University.

Trude said after the Sweet Sixteen game in 2002, Papa John’s collaborated with the University’s Collegiate License Company to create a commemorative pennant that was sold at the first game of the next season.

The licensing opportunities created by a national championship would dwarf the efforts of the 2002 basketball season.

“This university doesn’t have enough money saved up in 15 years to pay for the full-page spread we got in USA Today,” said Trude. “There’s just no telling what it can do for the University image-wise, enrollment-wise and just everything.”

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Trude said licensing royalties for commemorative items would help offset costs, if the University lost money by hosting the tournament games.

“If we happened to lose money off the three games, it would definitely help to offset some of those [bid] loses,” said Trude.

Trude said merchandising and advertising play no role in paying for the NCAA bid.

“We can’t advertising anything that is not an NCAA sponsor, which is nobody in this area,” said Trude. “We plan to supplement the cost of fees with ticket sales. That’s the only way you can make money, is with ticket sales.”

Trude said he anticipates 8,000 to 10,000 in attendance for the first-round game, depending on the weather and the turnout of the Southern Illinois community.

Local season ticket holders are contributing to student turnout. With SIUC Chancellor Walter Wendler and the SIU Foundation and local businesses donating student tickets, there is a community-wide effort to bring fans into McAndrew Stadium.

Mark Prince, of Prince Law Firm, bought a block of 50 tickets to donate to students.

“I want to make sure that the students have every opportunity to be there and root for their team,” said Prince.

“Right now, our main focus is on marketing, ticket sales and trying to get people into the stadium,” said Kowalczyk.

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