BOWLING 4 DOLLAR$: College Playoff$, 2016

T – 1 College Bowl Payouts from 2004/5 to 2015/16


YEAR BOWLS Bowling Teams # of    D-1 Teams % of Teams Bowling PAYOUTS % Change from prior year
2004-05 28 56 117 47.80% $178,950,000 0.00%
2005-06 28 56 119 47.00% $199,254,000 11.35%
2006-07 32 64 119 53.70% $236,854,000 18.87%
2007-08 32 64 119 53.70% $249,250,000 5.23%
2008-09 34 68 119 57.00% $264,185,000 5.99%
2009-10 34 68 120 56.60% $264,185,000 0.00%
2010-11 35 70 120 58.30% $265,640,000 0.55%
2011-12 35 70 120 58.30% $281,800,000 6.08%
2012-13 35 70 124 56.50% $292,237,500 3.70%
2013-14 38 76 128 59.38% $339,362,500 16.13%
2014-15 39* 76 128 59.38% $376,090,000 10.82%
2015-2016 41* 80 128 62.50% $510,810,000 22.70%
*The creation of the playoff championship adds one more game without additional teams.


Since the 2004/5 college football bowl season, the number of college bowl$, the number of college teams “bowling” and the payout$ to those teams have been growing and growing and growing. (See T-1, please).  There were 28 bowls engaging 47.8% of Division 1’s 117 teams with a total payout of $179M. NOW, there are 41 bowls engaging 62.5% (of D-1’s 128 teams) that “go bowling” (with a total payout of $510.81M that includes the $2M each finalist gets for expenses). The major conferences in college football SPLIT their bowl payout money evenly among their conference teams. For the record since the 2004/05 college football season the # of D-1 schools has increased by 9.4%; the # of Bowling Teams has increased by 42.8%; and the Bowl Payout $$ have exploded by 185%. WOW! A major criticism of the # of bowls played is that 7 teams with losing records went bowling this yr. The Pure Bowl (12/19/15) actually featured 2 teams with losing records. (After all bowl travelling expenses are pd, each conf divides the remaining $$ equally among ALL conf teams w/o consideration of whether a team won or lost its bowl game.) 


This year is the 2nd yr with a College Football Playoff system. For this event 6 bowls (the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl) will be ROTATING each year for the 2 semifinal games. For this season those games were the Cotton & Orange Bowls. (Each team as a part of the Playoffs receives one equal share of the playoff revenue. The Playoff Revenue pool is as follows Playoff Revenue Pool: Each of the Big 5 conferences will receive an estimated $50 million, whether or not it qualifies a team for the playoffs. An estimated $6 million bonus will be paid for each team a conference sends to the semifinals, $4 million for participating in one of the “Big 6 Bowls”, but NO additional dollars for reaching the championship game where each school will receivedan estimated $2 M for expenses. Each of the “Group of 5” conferences (American, CUSA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt), received an estimated $18 M each, Notre Dame received an estimated $3.75 M, and remaining independents will bag roughly $1.85 M each. Big 6 bowls that don’t host a semifinal game, will split additional revenue with the participating teams/conferences. )


T – 2: The Conference Money Champion$hip: By Conference, # of Bowling Teams and Total Bowl Payout






Conference 15-16 Payouts 15-16 # of Bowl Participants  

Bowl Wins

Big 10 82,737,500 10 5
SEC 81,387,500 11 8
ACC 75,075,000 9 4
Big 12 73,887,500 7 3
Pac 12 71,943,750 9 6
American 26,787,500 8 2
Mountain West 22,068,750 8 4
MAC 21,837,500 7 3
C-USA 21,587,500 5 3
Sun Belt 20,700,000 4 2
Independent 12,800,000 2 0
Total $510,812,500 80  


*These bowl payout $ do not reflect Clemson and Alabama who will each receive $2M for participating in the Championship Game to pay for expenses.



Different sources have published different data. The College Football Payoff’s website ONLY discusses revenue sharing at the conf level, with the expenses detailed for semifinalist.


Table 2 presents our CONFERENCE MONEY CHAMPS (CMC) for the 2015-16 bowl season. As tabled, the BIG 10 wins the CMC championship with the SEC & ACC finishing #2 & #3. SEC had 11 teams that bowled followed by the Big 10 with 10. The ACC & Pac 10 each had 9. As for the most bowl wins, the SEC wins hands down with 8 followed by the Pac 12 with 6. Even if Clemson wins the Nat’L Champshp, that will only give the ACC 5 bowl wins.



Bowl Michigan School Payout Bowl Ohio School Payout
Popeyes Bahama Bowl Western MI (MAC) $1,950,000* GoDaddy Bowl Bowling Green (MAC) $2,250,000*
Quick Lane Bowl Central MI (MAC) $2,700,000* Hawaii Bowl Cincinnati (AAC) $5,150,000*
BWW Citrus Bowl Michigan (BIG10) $3,950,000* BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl OSU (BIG10) $7,500,000*
Cotton Bowl MSU (BIG10) $13,500,000* Marmot Boca Raton Bowl U of Toledo (MAC) $1,900,000*
      Raycom Media Camellia Bowl Ohio University (MAC) $1,600,000*
      Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Akron (MAC) $1,825,000
TOTAL   $22,100,000 TOTAL   $20,255,000
*If team receives an even split from the conference bonus.

T-3 Bowl Payouts for Michigan & Ohio Schools (2015-2016)

For you MI vs OH sadists, ONLY 4 MI teams went bowling vs 6 OH teams. 2 MI teams won & 2 lost. 3 OH teams won & 3 lost. In the payout category MI teams received $22.1M vs $20.2M for OH teams. ANYOTHERQUESTIONS?!

About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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