Sporticast: The Economics of College Football’s Biggest Bowl Games

On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including the end of the college football season. The two playoff semifinals—the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl—will take place on Dec. 31, and the championship will be held on Jan. 9.

The show’s guest is Gary Stokan, president and CEO of the Peach Bowl in Atlanta. This year, that game features undefeated Georgia against fourth-ranked Ohio State. Stokan talks about the benefits of having the local giant playing in the Peach Bowl, plus the soaring demand for tickets. He says the game, with Georgia vying for a second straight title, is a hotter ticket than a Taylor Swift concert.

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He also talks about the economics for teams that play in the semifinal. Both participating conferences, in this case the Big Ten and SEC, will receive $6 million for the Peach Bowl this year, and the teams will also have their expenses covered. This may surprise some college football fans, but it nets out to less money than a team would make if it played in the Peach Bowl’s season-opening ‘kickoff’ game. Stokan was a pioneer in those games, which are essentially bowls at the start of the season, and they’ve become just as big, commercially, as the biggest year-end games.

Lastly, Stokan offers advice for the incoming NCAA president, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, who assumes the role early next year.

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