UT spent $1.25M on Taxpayer Bowl; hotel bill $53K for team, $157K for staff

The University of Tennessee has reported a profit of $164,811 from the Vol football team’s participation in the January Taxslayer Bowl — $1,418,880 revenue through SEC allowances and ticket income and $1,254,059 in expenses. The News Sentinel today looks at some of the spending in an article that begins thusly:

A bus company in Florida is $50,000 richer because Tennessee played in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

The Sawgrass Marriott in Jacksonville made $300,000 for housing and feeding the Vols. Latitude 360, a restaurant/entertainment complex, made nearly $10,000 for hosting Tennessee’s welcome party. Sol Republic, an Oregon-based headphones-and-speakers company, made almost $9,500 for making the headphones Tennessee bought for its players as a bowl gift.

…Some information that came from the receipts was either obvious or presumable considering the size of a major college football team, but still striking when considered in detail.

The Vols weren’t comparatively big spenders. Iowa, their opponent in the TaxSlayer Bowl, spent $1,853,407 for the event in Jacksonville, Fla. Alabama spent $2.6 million on its Sugar Bowl trip, and Ohio State’s trips to New Orleans and Dallas for Sugar Bowl and the College Football Playoff National Championship Game cost $4.4 million.

Still, Tennessee spent $1.25 million for one football game, and more if you consider the deductions the TaxSlayer Bowl made to the bowl payout that goes to the SEC. Here’s how that happened.

…The Vols’ official travel list for the bowl game is five pages long and totaled 334 people, though it is uncertain how many of them actually made the trip. There were 103 players on the trip and 25 people listed as “administrators,” a group that included school president Joe DiPietro and chancellor Jimmy Cheek and their wives, plus athletic director Dave Hart, his wife and several other associate and assistant athletic directors and their spouses.

…The travel party stayed at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort. Each member of the travel party was charged $176 per night, which comes out to $1,056 for a six-night stay. The players’ rooms cost a combined $52,800 for room, tax and incidentals. The staff rooms cost a combined $156,944.10.

The Vols had almost all of their meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks — catered at the hotel. The total catering bill from the hotel was $142,530.14, an average of $71.12 per person per day.