Big score: College bowl game payouts surpass $500 million

Big score: College bowl game payouts surpass $500 million

Published Apr. 14, 2015 10:09 a.m. ET

Bowl games paid more than a half billion dollars to college football conferences and schools last season, the most ever and an increase of almost $200 million from the final season of the Bowl Championship Series to the first of the College Football Playoff.

According to an NCAA report to be released Tuesday, the 39 postseason FBS games distributed $505.9 million to the participating conferences and schools. The schools spent $100.2 million to take part in bowl games.

Total payouts from 35 postseason games from the 2013-14 season were $309.9 million while schools spent $97.8 million to participate. For the 2012-13 season, payouts were $300.8 million and expenses were $90.3 million.

The increase in payouts is due mostly to the increased value of media deals with the seven games -- six bowls and a national championship game -- that are part of the College Football Playoff.


The College Football Playoff replaced the BCS last season. The playoff matched the four top teams in the nation, as selected by a selection committee, in two semifinals with the winners playing for the national title a week later.

The BCS paired the top two teams in country chosen by polls and computer rating in a national championship game.

ESPN pays the FBS conferences and schools that run the College Football Playoff about $470 million a year for the media rights to the three playoff games and four other bowls. The final BCS TV deal was worth about $180 million per year to the conferences.