UA turns small profit at Sugar Bowl

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Sunday, March 6, 2011

— Arkansas’ athletic department put together a financial plan for its trip to the Sugar Bowl, then executed it to perfection to turn a small profit for the football program’s first Bowl Championship Series appearance.

Arkansas’ Institutional Bowl Expenses report, obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, showed the department made a net profit of $5,525 on its trip to New Orleans.

The Razorbacks were given an expense allowance of $1.951 million by the SEC and spent $1,945,475 on the trip.

“We went into this bowl trip fully planning to stay within our allowance from the conference,” said Clayton Hamilton, Arkansas’ associate athletic director for finance. “We knew what that number was, and we stayed within it.”

The trip will eventually be more profitable for the Razorbacks when SEC revenue distribution takes place in June. The $6 million earned for Arkansas’ appearance in the Sugar Bowl will be put in the SEC’s revenue-sharing pot. League schools pulled in $17.3 million each from the distribution last year and $11.1 million each the previous year.

Arkansas’ bowl profit was a contrast to the shortfall of more than $610,000 Auburn experienced for its trip to the BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz. According to a Birmingham News report, Auburn spent $2,901,706 on the bowl trip and had an allowance of $2,287,600 for a net loss of $614,106, more than doubling the deficit of $285,437 reported by Oregon, its national championship game counterpart.

Arkansas’ traveling party consisted of 208 team members and football staff for nine days, 400 band and cheerleaders for four days, and 102 members of the official party (faculty, athletic department officials, etc.) for four days.

Total travel costs were listed at $408,337. The total for meals and lodging for those parties came to $1.02 million.

“We certainly knew going down it was going to be an expensive trip,” Hamilton said, “with the minimum requirements for the hotel stay and the cost of rooms being significantly higher than the year before.

“We fully intended to go down and have a tremendous presence there. We were not going to skimp in areas. We brought the full band.”

Arkansas reported $342,980 in expenses on tickets absorbed, which consisted of tickets for the band, players’ complimentary tickets, and a small amount of tickets that were held out for students and went unused.

Sports, Pages 31 on 03/06/2011