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UNC may avoid losing money to Belk Bowl

Even after reducing student ticket prices by two-thirds for last month’s Belk Bowl in Charlotte, UNC’s athletic department likely won’t lose money on costs of the game.

The University sold about 1,000 of its allotted tickets to students at $25 per ticket — compared to the $75 face value. The reduction in price left UNC with about $50,000 in student ticket expenses to pay back to the bowl, said Rick Steinbacher, senior associate athletic director for external communications.

“We made the decision to discount tickets for students, so that’s an expense, but it was something we were happy to do,” he said.

Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations Tim Sabo said 12,500 tickets were allocated to each school with a team in the bowl, while the Belk Bowl was responsible for selling the remaining tickets.

Of the tickets allotted to UNC from the Belk Bowl, the University sold about 10,000 total to students and nonstudents, Steinbacher said.

UNC had to sell only about 7,000 tickets to reach its ticket obligation with the bowl.

Steinbacher said about 46,000 fans attended the game. That was significantly lower than the bowl’s average attendance of 58,000 fans, according to the Belk Bowl website.

“It was a little softer compared to previous years,” Sabo said.

Jon Jackson, a spokesman for Duke University’s athletic department, said he could not disclose ticket figures for the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, in which Duke lost to Texas A&M University, but that their sales for bowl game tickets were high this year and last.

“In the past two years, generous donors have purchased an allotment of bowl tickets so that Duke students can attend the games free of charge,” Jackson said.

Overall, the 2013 football postseason bowl series was a record-breaking year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, said Jeff Elliott, the Senior Associate Commissioner for Finance and Administration for the conference.

“We had 11 (teams in bowls),” Elliott said. “No conference has ever had that many before.”

These numbers also mean more overall revenue for teams in the ACC — which will help UNC pay for its Belk Bowl expenses.

Elliott said the ACC collected payouts from the 11 participating teams and distributed the monies evenly to all 14 conference teams.

The conference is expected to receive about $25 million from the Bowl Championship Series.

As for bowl games not part of the BCS, Elliott said there will be some small additional monies coming from those games.

Those numbers won’t be known until the end of March, he said, leaving the possibility open that UNC will break even with its expenses.

“The tickets we receive are the individual school’s responsibility,” Elliott said. “Our goal is to have all of our schools sell their ticket allotment, but that’s getting more and more difficult.”

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