That’s just over half the cost of the team’s trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl the previous season, although this year’s figure did not include staff bonuses, which typically have appeared on bowl expense forms in the past.
Subtract the $552,913 listed for bonuses on the Sugar Bowl report and the Russell Athletic Bowl trip to Orlando cost about $1 million less than the trip to New Orleans.
The figure still exceeds the $1.1 million bowl allowance the Hokies got to travel to the game, although Virginia Tech expects to come out well in the black once it receives additional bowl revenue from the league not included in the report.
The Hokies took a travel party of 661 to Orlando — 185 team and staff for seven days, 383 band members and cheerleaders for four days and 93 faculty members or athletic department officials for four days — at a transportation cost of $331,332.
Meals, lodging and per diems for that group cost another $362,459.
But the primary cost again was unsold tickets, which amounted to $769,000, a burden that is split between Virginia Tech and the ACC.
Virginia Tech sold only 2,820 of its ticket allotment of 13,500. However, the ACC takes responsibility for half of those tickets, leaving the Hokies with 3,930 unsold tickets to absorb at a cost of $282,384. In the past, the league has begun helping cover costs once a school reaches 6,000 tickets sold.
The ACC absorbed 6,750 unsold tickets at a cost of $486,000. That cost is taken out of the league’s bowl revenue, splitting the cost among the conference’s 12 members.
This season’s ticket figure is the lowest Virginia Tech has reported in recent years. The Hokies sold 9.877 tickets through the school for the 2012 Sugar Bowl and 7,000 for the 2011 Orange Bowl.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said last week that the league will look into possibly revamping its ticket allotment policy, a setup that has drawn widespread scrutiny.
The Hokies sold tickets to the Russell Athletic Bowl at two different prices through the school — $72 and $77 — although fans were able to get seats for as low as $4 through the secondary market on sites like StubHub.com. The announced crowd at the game was 48,127, although there appeared to be far less than that in the 65,000-seat Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.
Payouts from the six bowl games ACC teams participated in last season amounted to $28.6 million. Bowl allowances are taken off the top of that to help cover costs of the teams playing in the postseason. The remaining revenue, minus the shared cost of absorbing unsold tickets and other expenses, is distributed evenly among the league’s 12 schools.
Virginia Tech and the league’s other 11 current members receive payouts from the ACC throughout the year, taking in money from bowl games, the league’s football television contract with ESPN, the ACC and NCAA men’s basketball tournament and other sources.
The league’s TV payout is not released by the ACC, although it has been widely reported that the league signed a 15-year, $3.6 billion contract with ESPN last spring, which amounts to $17.1 million per school per year. The deal could be enhanced with the part-time addition of Notre Dame.
Here’s a breakdown of the Hokies’ Russell Athletic Bowl expenses:
- Team and staff $152,243
- Band and cheerleaders: $74,679
- Official party (faculty, athletics dept, etc.): $104,411
Meals, lodging, per diem
- Team and staff: $210,176
- Band and cheerleaders: $104,885
- Official party: $47,398
- Promotion: $14,527
- Awards: $53,910
- Equipment and supplies: $73,849
- Administrative: $6,805
- Other (instrument repairs, laundry, video and computer supplies): $24,200
- Absorbed by school: 283,000
- Absorbed by ACC: $486,000
Total cost: $1,636,083