Glory, adulation and a No. 1 national ranking will belong to the USC Trojans if they beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl Jan. 4.
The big-money payout will have to wait.
Both teams playing for the championship of college football the top prize in the controversial bowl championship series will receive $14.4 million each. But USC's take will be shared evenly by all members of the Pacific 10 Conference including lowly Washington, which finished the year with a 1-10 record (0-8 in the conference).
After USC's $1.3 million travel allowance, each of the 10 teams will be $1.3 million richer.
"We count on that money every year," said Paul King, Washington's senior associate athletic director for business and finance. "It's a significant piece of our budget. We're glad they are in the championship game. That's good for the conference."
The Trojans can expect other financial bumps from playing in the national championship, ranging from Orange Bowl sweatshirts to increased ticket sales next season. And the $1.3 million bowl payout will go a long way toward carrying the financial burden for a school in which football and men's basketball are the only two of 19 intercollegiate athletic teams that make money each year.
USC football turned a $10.8 million profit on revenues of $26.2 million during the 2003-04 school year, according to the USC Office of the General Counsel. All other USC athletic programs combined generated $20 million in revenues in the same period.
"Football is financing virtually the entire athletic department," said David Carter, founder of the Redondo Beach Sports Business Group consulting firm. "If USC continues its momentum on the field, it will certainly continue its momentum on the balance sheet."
Already, USC Bookstores has taken advantage of the game by posting on its Web site a line of merchandise sporting the Orange Bowl logo. The items went on sale Dec. 5, five minutes after the school was formally invited to the bowl, and the first truckloads arrived at 6 a.m. the next day.
Dan Stimmler, executive director of USC Bookstores, said he sold 2,000 T-shirts on Dec. 7 alone.
"We can't keep things on the shelves right now," he said. "People are driving in from all over to purchase this stuff and students are getting them before they leave to go home for the holidays."
Orange Bowl-emblazoned sweatshirts sell for $44 to $60, T-shirts for $17 to $22, caps for $18 to $22 and $100 for jackets. Those prices include the 10 percent royalty due the Orange Bowl Committee.
After all the ancillary items are tallied, a national championship can mean a lot of money to a school.
When the University of Oklahoma won the 2000 national title, it added momentum to its fundraising for a $71 million upgrade to Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. That included increasing the seating capacity to 82,112, from 72,765, as well as adding an additional stadium club and refurbishing the existing one.
"Any time any team wins a national championship, it's gratifying to alumni and supporters and it fuels an interest you don't otherwise get in a program," said Kenny Mossman, Oklahoma's associate athletic director for media relations.
USC also expects a bump in attendance. This year, the Trojans averaged 85,211 in six home games at the Coliseum, up from an average of 77,804 in 2003. The team lost only once but was left out of the national championship game because the BCS computer placed it in third.
"(Revenues) increased the prior year and should increase this year," said Steve Lopes, USC's senior associate athletic director. "It is a significant impact, there is no question about it. It's all tied to the success of the team."
There's also the benefit to the Pac-10, but that's not quite as robust as expected. By being left out of the top four match-ups in the BCS computer rankings losing out to the University of Texas at the last minute for a slot in the Rose Bowl the University of California, Berkeley, winds up in the less glamorous Holiday Bowl in San Diego on Dec. 30. The payout for that contest is a mere $2 million, to be divided among the Pac 10 teams, instead of the $4.5 million for the Rose Bowl.
"We're very disappointed," said Jim Muldoon, assistant commissioner of the Pac-10. "We thought (Cal) deserved to be in the Rose Bowl."
Meanwhile, USC's cross-town rival UCLA will score $575,000 for the conference by playing in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 23 against Wyoming.
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