Sunday, March 9 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-03-10 00:35:58 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- An appearance in a BCS bowl game brings money, fame, and excitement to the University of Louisville. WDRB News has uncovered something else it can mean -- a deficit.
A clutch kick and a nail bitter win secured a BCS birth for the University of Louisville, and on U of L's campus a day later some Cards fans often needed only one word to express their feelings:
"Excited!" "Awesome!" "One word -- victory!"
It looks as if the university will either be invited to the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. Either way, U of L receives $2.4 million just for playing in the football game.
But that big-time BCS bonus is a bit of a myth, as U of L Athletic Director Tom Jurich explains: "Actually, I'm not sure if we broke even on the Orange Bowl last time."
The university is on the hook to sell 17, 500 tickets. That's like getting half of Cardinal Stadium to go to Florida or New Orleans just after the holidays. And that's put other universities in the red.
UConn lost $1.7 million on the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. Virginia Tech lost $421,000 the same year.
NCAA reports say between 2006 and 2011, universities lost on average $333,000 from their allotments on bowl games. Jurich sites several reasons: "The dollar figures for the hotels are so much higher. It's mandated where you stay, the band stays for a week with you, all those expenses come out of it so it's very difficult."
Linebacker Michael Addesa experienced lavish treatment during the Cards' last bowl appearance. He says, "It's fun, you get treated like a top dog football player." He's out this season with an injury, but will still attend the game with the rest of the team.
The real win is not direct revenue, but rather indirect -- national exposure, increased donor dollars, and mega merchandise sales.
The Cards have made a habit out of proving people wrong this season. U of L freshman Benjamin Whiteley says, "I hope we can beat up on our ACC competition before we even get there."
Perhaps rabid fans can buck the trend. Some travel agencies are taking pre-registration online for U of L bowl packages. Prices aren't set yet because the location is pending.
But if you include travel, tickets, pre-game parties, and hotel accommodations, you could be looking at $2,000.