MSU officials have yet to determine if the school will take a financial hit for participating in the Silicon Valley Football Classic in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 31.
In conjunction with MSUs acceptance of the bowl bid Sunday, the university agreed to pay $550,000 to cover the corporate sponsorship fees and tickets.
About $300,000 will be set aside for the sponsorship fees and the rest will go to cover MSUs ticket allotment, said John Lewandowski, MSUs assistant athletics director.
Theres also a chance the Big Ten could help foot the bill, because it has done so for past bowl games.
If history is any indication of MSUs success in making a profit on bowl games, then all signs point to another significant financial loss.
In 1997, a year in which the Spartans also finished the regular season 6-5, MSU lost $310,000 at the Jeep Aloha Bowl and didnt even have to pay a bowl fee.
Expenses totaled more than $835,000 for the trip, the university also had to repay the Aloha Bowl about $225,000 for approximately 8,000 tickets left unsold, boosting the total expenses to $1.06 million. MSU was paid $750,000 for its appearance.
But Lewandowski said the Silicon Valley Football Classics $750,000 payoff for MSUs bowl appearance, plus the money generated by five other conference teams in bowl games, could make a significant difference this year.
A portion of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue and Iowas payoffs - along with MSUs - will be awarded to each Big Ten team.
Lewandowski said its too early to tell whether MSU will end up with a net loss or gain from the bowl trip.
We have officials out at the bowl site looking into what our costs are going to be, Lewandowski said. The team hasnt made a final determination on travel parties.
MSU Trustee Joel Ferguson said there are more advantages to MSU going to the bowl game than to stay home because of costs.
The most successful recruits come to the school the following year (after the bowl game), Ferguson said. If you dont go to the bowl games, youre not going to get those blue-chip recruits.
Its not about the money, its much more.
NCAA spokesman Wallace Renfro said its not uncommon for bowl games - especially smaller ones - to charge hefty fees for tickets and sponsorship.
San Jose States Spartan Stadium, the site of the Silicon Valley Football Classic, holds about 30,000 fans.
There are some bowls subsidized by the teams in particular bowls, Renfro said. Teams are willing to do that (to participate in the game).
Although fees are fairly common for bowl games, Renfro doesnt believe it will escalate much more.
I dont think its a growing trend, Renfro said. The NCAA has nothing to do with the bowls other than that we sanction them.
MSUs fan base has responded well since Sundays bowl announcement, despite having to travel 2,365 miles to watch the Spartans play their last game of 2001.
The MSU Athletic Ticket Office reported 1,000 of the schools 5,000-ticket allotment have been sold since Monday - the first day they were available.
Prices range from $30 for end zone seats to $60 for sideline tickets. MSU has 1,000 end zone tickets and 4,000 sideline tickets.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets can call (517) 355-1610 or 1-800-GO-STATE for more information.
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