Relief appears on the way for UCF as it deals with lagging Fiesta Bowl ticket sales.
The American Athletic Conference has a contractual provision to help offset a portion of unsold tickets for its bowl-eligible teams, according to two league sources. The AAC can use this provision on the Knights, who stand to use an estimated $2 million for its appearance in the Jan. 1 game against Baylor.
The Knights have had discussions with the American Athletic Conference about the funds, according to a UCF spokesman. UCF returned 10,000 of its 17,500 allotment, according to the Orlando Sentinel. UCF gets a portion of the American's BCS payout for its role in the Fiesta Bowl, as do other member schools. The Knights pay for travel expenses.
The exact relief amount is uncertain, but a league athletic director says the formula, proposed by USF AD Doug Woolard in the spring, is designed to help all bowl-eligible league teams that don't sell half their ticket allotment. Rutgers sold out its Pinstripe Bowl allotment, Louisville sold most of its Russell Athletic share and Cincinnati hit the 50 percent mark for the Belk Bowl. Houston plays Vanderbilt in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4.
The less help those other teams need, the more refunds UCF could get.
Bowl ticket sales are a problem for several schools. Storied programs such as Ohio State, LSU and Michigan reportedly have had trouble selling their allotment.
These are tickets sold through the school ticket offices, so students or alumni can find tickets elsewhere if they choose.
UCF is in a unique position because the Knight probably would have traveled well to the Sugar or Orange Bowl as a regional destination.
Kansas State AD John Currie said the timing of the bowl announcements – Dec. 8 this year – could affect sales because fans have minimal time to plan ahead for long trips.
“We have to continue to consider our fans as we try to figure out the matchups,” Currie said. “After a huge high last year, maybe this is the year they'll go skiing.”