Benefits abound from turnaround
The re-emergence of Colorado football reaps plenty of benefits for the university beyond the financial windfall of representing the school and conference in a bowl game.
The notoriety and branding opportunities afforded to teams that make it to one of the premier bowl games benefit the entire campus. If the underdog Buffaloes beat the fourth-ranked Washington Huskies in the Pac12 championship game Friday night, Colorado (10-2) would quality for the Rose Bowl and perhaps be a longshot for a spot in a College Football Playoff semifinal.
Even if Colorado loses Friday, the school’s name and icon Buffs logo are back in the national spotlight. It is Colorado’s first conference title game since 2005 (Big 12), and it will be the first time since 2007 that CU is invited to a bowl game.
That alone makes recruiting top athletic talent much easier, say marketing and advertising experts. It also helps that Mike MacIntyre — who was hired in December 2012 after a similar, remarkable turnaround at San Jose State — on Thursday was named the Walter Camp 2016 coach of the year, which is selected by his fellow head coaches across the country.
“The athletic department is the front porch for a college or university and it’s an enormous recruitment tool,” Metropolitan State University of Denver marketing professor Darrin Duber-Smith said. “If you are a member of the alumni, you want to build an affinity for a school, and you usually don’t feel much affinity for the math department.”
“I think the fact that you are getting exposure, and that is always good,” added Duber-Smith. “The bigger the bowl, the bigger the audience, and that will help spread CU’s message.”
The CU athletic department gets plenty of financial help from the College Football Playoff. But so do other schools thanks to a revenue-distribution plan approved by university presidents and chancellors representing the 10 conferences that manage the system.
All bowl revenue — as well as money from television networks and rights — is collected by the Pac12 Conference and then distributed evenly to the schools in an annual payment, said David Plati, spokesman for CU athletics.
According to a report from CBS Sports this year, the Pac-12 gave each school an average of $25.1 million in the 2014-15 year from revenue and $21.2 million in 2013-14. The report said the conference gained $298.6 million from television rights fees and $80.1 million from postseason bowls in 201415 seasons.
The revenue CU receives is used within the athletic department.