CHAPEL HILL – Nearly $300 million will be paid out to schools competing in this year’s bowl games, and North Carolina will take nearly four million for its appearance in the Belk Bowl on December 28 in Charlotte.
“The ACC brings in all the bowl money, and that becomes part of the conference distribution,” says UNC senior associate athletic director, Rick Steinbacher. “So, eventually we get 1/14th of all the bowl receipts that the ACC gets.”
All 14 of the ACC member institutions will receive an equal share of the bowl payouts, and thanks to ten teams participating this year, the schools are sharing $54.74 million. Carolina is contributed $1.7 million when it accepted its invitation to the Belk Bowl.
A portion of that money will also go to travel expenses for the team.
“There’s a lot of expense in going to a bowl game,” Steinbacher says. “Our team will get there on December 23 and stay through the game on December 28.”
Steinbacher says Carolina is finalizing its plans and doesn’t yet know how much it will cost, but he says part of the bowl payout will go toward covering that cost.
The week leading up to the game, the team will be practicing and fulfilling media requests, but the players will also be taking part in a few events set up for them while they’re there.
“They’ll get to go to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and ride around in a car on the racetrack,” Steinbacher says. “The entire team is going to visit the Levine Children’s Hospital down in Charlotte and do some other kind of community outreach events. So, it’s really a unique experience.”
Since Belk is the title sponsor of the bowl, it is also giving Carolina football players a shopping spree. Each bowl is allowed by NCAA rules to give a gift for participating in the bowl game. This year the gift allotment is $550. Every year, Belk gives most of that away in the form of a Belk gift card for a shopping spree.
Executive vice president for sales, promotion, and ecommerce at Belk, Jon Pollack says this year Belk is giving each player $450.
“In some cases, we’ve experienced with some players that this is their first chance ever to have the means to buy Christmas presents for their family,” Pollack says. “We had one of the big offensive linemen from one of the teams last year showed up at the register with a Cuisinart and a pair of pink slippers. We knew the pink slippers weren’t for him. He just said, ‘this is great; this is the first time I’ve had a chance to buy a Christmas present for my mother’.”
The overall payout for bowl games is up compared to two years ago because of a boost to the BCS bowls and the national championship. The last two years, the big five games netted $86 million in payouts; this year, ten teams will walk away with a combined $94 million.
However, some of the other bowls aren’t giving out what they used to. The New Mexico Bowl gave out $1.5 million to its two schools two years ago, but last year and this year it’s totaling less than $912,500. The Idaho Potato Bowl was also giving $1.5 million, but in each of the last two years it’s given only $650,000.
A couple bowls have also given slight increases like the Military Bowl, which has increased from $1.725 million to $2 million.
The Belk Bowl has stayed consistent at $1.7 million per school.
Steinbacher says this is all in response to the turnout the bowls produce over the years.
“The bowls are funded by—for the most part—tourism dollars in whatever market they’re in,” Steinbacher says. “So, the amount of eceonomic impact that a particular bowl game brings to that particular city is over the course of time eventually going to determine how much those payouts are.”
The VIZIO BCS National Championship is being played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California this year. Florida State and Auburn will each walk away from the game with $22 million for the ACC and SEC, regardless of the outcome.