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Inside the Business of Bowls - A Money Loser for Some

Besides the game, the University of Missouri lost money on their trip to Houston's Texas Bowl this past season.

For the second year in a row, a bowl trip will leave Missouri’s athletic department in the red, making Thursday’s Texas Bowl a losing endeavor in more ways than one.

When the last of MU’s travel and hotel expenses are paid, Missouri projects a deficit of $10,000 to $20,000 for its trip to Houston, Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said.

That’s a modest loss for playing in one of the league’s least lucrative bowls, but it comes on top of the damage suffered in the game itself, a stunning 35-13 defeat to Navy.

“When it’s all said and done, that’s not a huge deficit,” Alnutt said. “Our goal was to break even, but given the economic indicators and what we’re dealing with by going to a Tier 3 bowl, I think we did a tremendous job trying to get that number even.”

Missouri lost $30,000 on last year’s Alamo Bowl trip and broke even on the Cotton Bowl two years ago.

To my knowlesge, the accounting losses don't measure the marginal effect on such things as donations, subsequent year ticket sales, and whatever advertising value there might be among other things.

The article makes one thing clear: if a team's fans don't travel to bowl games, they are going to be knocked down in the bowl selection pecking order (as Missouri has been each of the past three years).