Before spring break, the Dallas City Council was asked to OK giving ESPN $800,000 to pass along to college football teams to play in a bowl game that will be attended by tens of spectators. OK, OK. That’s not fair. According to official numbers I got my hands on this week, exactly 9,392 people went to last year’s Heart of Dallas Bowl to see Utah play West Virginia in the Cotton Bowl the day after Christmas. It only looked like 93 people …
The Hyatt Regency’s Fred Euler, who chairs the TPID’s board, told me there were some 1,300 rooms booked for the Heart of Dallas Bowl by Utah and West Virginia — about a 20th of what they estimate for the NRA convention. It was even worse the previous year, when the University of North Texas played in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. There were more people in the stands. But those were locals who didn’t need a hotel.
The HOD is one of the better bowls associated with CUSA. For North Texas, it is almost an ideal choice. The issue, as noted above, is that it does not make economic sense to bring UNT down from Denton as the some 200K alumni in the area are not necessarily going to spring for a hotel when they can simply drive over on game day.
The primary motivation for any bowl game is financial, and we all know that television is the most important client here. Still, I cannot imagine that ESPN enjoys broadcasting an event with empty stands makes them want to open up the checkbook. The simple fact is that the teams drawn by the HOD are not the hottest commodities. As Wilonsky goes on to say: the only way that will change is if the payout increases.
Hat tip gomeangreen.com