NMSU bowl benefits precede uncertain future
Whether New Mexico State wins it's first bowl appearance since 1960 doesn’t matter because there’s a much bigger picture at stake.
The Aggies need two things to happen at their first bowl game in more than half a century:
1) a lot of fans to buy tickets
2) the team to be competitive
* Both could be critical to even have a chance at making future bowl games and, more importantly, impressing other conferences, regardless of the final score. *
NMSU could potentially make more than half a million dollars:
- $250k bowl bonus from the Sun Belt
- $150k in travel expenses from the Sun Belt
- $175k from ticket sales (half of the total revenue from every ticket sold on campus - a combined 8,000)
That’s a nice chunk of change for a university in a financial crisis at a pivotal moment, and not having to take charter planes to a bowl game much further away than Tucson may have saved the university nearly $200k.
Next year, NMSU Football will be without a conference. That means even if they were to win 7 games they aren’t guaranteed to be invited to a bowl, they'll have to hope to be invited rather than being locked-in as a member of a conference. Aggies director of athletics Mario Moccia says filling Arizona Stadium on December 29 could sway other Bowl Games’ & Conferences’ decisions next season.
“Every Saturday we go out there now we’re an independent," head coach Doug Martin said at a bowl press conference. "It’s us against the world. Every week is an audition for a new conference.”
“We went two months without having a home game," Moccia reasoned. "We were one of two teams to play 5 home games, and not have an FCS opponent, that’s bowl eligible. Let that sink in.”
Conferences like the Mountain West (a home NMSU has its sights set on) usually judge candidates on 3 major factors: football revenue, basketball revenue and geographical location. Until now, New Mexico State has always seemed to come up one check-mark short.