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Gators Lose Money On Sugar Bowl

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Maybe BCS bowls aren’t all they are cracked up to be.

In a recent report from CBSSports.com, budget reports revealed that the Florida Gators lost $854,000 by going to the Sugar Bowl. Unsold tickets were the biggest reason for this loss. While it is surprising that a big SEC program would have many unsold tickets to a storied bowl game like the Sugar Bowl, it is understandable.

Florida fans were riding high last season. The Gators climbed up to No. 2 in the rankings. Fans had talked themselves into a chance to play for the national title. Almost all of Gainesville tuned in to the Notre Dame-USC matchup, becoming Trojans fans for the night. When the upset didn’t happen, reality sank in for the Gators: They were not going to play for a championship.

Life is all about expectations. Once fans had their hearts set on the national championship, they didn’t want to watch the Sugar Bowl. From the surprising beat-down issued by Louisville, it didn’t look like the players wanted to be there either. This poor showing is an outlier and not indicative of the rabid Gators fan base.

The other interesting figure to show up in the recently released budget was Florida’s total budget topping out at more than $100 million. This is the first time in Florida history that the Gators’ athletic budget is more than $100 million. With burgeoning TV ratings, increasing ticket prices, and increasing sales, the athletic budget will probably not sink below $100 million again.

If there was any doubt before, this report has vanquished it. The University of Florida has arrived as a big-time athletic program. This means that fans can continue to expect top coaches, top assistants, top facilities, and most importantly, top teams. With a huge budget, the Gators can eat an $854k loss. But Florida would have never reached these heights were it not for the dedicated fans.