TCU’s 2013 season opener against Louisiana State University will be “the largest payout by far” from any regular-season football game in school history, Jack Hesselbrock, TCU’s associate athletic director, said.
Hesselbrock, who is the primary handler of TCU’s football scheduling, said the university will receive $3 million dollars for their participation in the 2013 Cowboys Classic. He also said that next to TCU’s two BCS appearances, the Aug. 31 contest is the largest payout for any TCU football game the Horned Frogs have ever played.
The $3 million dollars is part of the athletic budget’s projected revenue, but the university's finance and business office gets to have the biggest oversight on the revenue, Hesselbrock said.
“We don’t necessarily keep it all,” he said. “This is TCU, not just TCU football. It is the university’s team.”
Hesselbrock said the athletic department will use some of the money to cover some athletic expenses, such as travel costs, but other parts of the revenue will be spent by the TCU finance and business office for other university projects.
Regardless of the amount that stays with the athletic department, Hesselbrock said, the deal was a “win-win” for the university, as both the university and the athletic department have more money to manage different budgets. He said he was proud of how revenue from games has increased over the past decade, and said the money will help project a better budget than previous years.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said that while he is excited that the program generates more revenue for major out-of-conference games, he said he’s more proud of the quality of opponents TCU plays in the marquee matchups.
“These are nationally staged games in which we can put our brand in the national spotlight, coast to coast, in prime time,” Del Conte said. “The exposure our program receives for that game increases with a high-end opponent every time we play [in Cowboys Stadium].”
In 2010, ESPN arranged a game between TCU and Oregon State at the stadium, and in 2011, TCU played BYU in Arlington.
Hesselbrock said TCU and Oregon State received $1 million each for the 2010 game. He also said the BYU game gave TCU a total of $900,000 for the contest. Numbers for BYU’s payout were unavailable.
Additional details behind the contracts
According to LSU’s 2013 contract with Cowboys Stadium LP, which was also acquired by a TCU 360 public records request, LSU will also receive $3 million for the 2013 game.
In 2005, TCU finalized on an arrangement for a home-and-home matchup with LSU for 2013 and 2014. Each home team would spend $500,000 for its respective home game, Hesselbrock said.
A public records request of the original contract from LSU by TCU 360 confirmed the payment plan. It also revealed in the original contract that TCU was to “make best efforts to play the 2014 game in the new Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium.”
After the renegotiation process with Cowboys Stadium LP and ESPN, the series became a one-time game for 2013 in Cowboys Stadium.
Additional information from the LSU-Cowboys Stadium LP contract reveals ESPN will hold all broadcasting rights to the game and Cowboys Stadium LP gets the final say on how much tickets will cost.
Alcohol sales will be permitted at the stadium until the end of the third quarter, according to Section 8 of LSU’s contract.
According to the contract and an interview with Hesselbrock, LSU will be designated as the visiting team, but get the Dallas Cowboys’ home locker. TCU will be in the visitors’ locker room.
Del Conte said the negotiations were “a part of the conversation” in securing a neutral-site game and that TCU did not want to “have a hidden agenda” as the university renegotiated from the original home-and-home matchup with LSU.
The rest of the two contracts with LSU (both the original 2005 document and the 2013 document) are available below. TCU, as a private institution, is not subject to public records requests, and thus, no records are currently available.