Vols could get $4.3 million for Bristol game against Virginia Tech

Confetti is fired into the sky during a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Bristol, Tenn.,  where it was announced that Tennessee and Virginia Tech will play a football game at the speedway in 2016. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Confetti is fired into the sky during a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway Monday, Oct. 14, 2013, in Bristol, Tenn., where it was announced that Tennessee and Virginia Tech will play a football game at the speedway in 2016. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tennessee could earn up to $4.3 million from ticket sales and bonuses if its 2016 football game against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway is a sellout.

The agreement between the Vols, Virginia Tech and the track was released by UT on Monday in response to an open-records request by the News Sentinel.

Each school will be provided with 40,000 tickets to sell to fans from which they can earn up to $4 million. If the game is a sellout, each team will receive $300,000 in bonuses. Smaller bonuses can be earned for meeting the 125,000 or 132,500 mark.

The speedway will cover all costs normally associated with staging a college football game, but will receive all parking revenue, including passes sold by the team, and reserves the right to sell sponsorships -- including a “title sponsor” -- for the game.

Montage from announcement of Tennessee-Virginia Tech game at Bristol Motor Speedway

Bristol agreed to purchase insurance in the event the game is canceled. UT and Tech would each receive $4 million if the game is canceled prior to kickoff, although a portion would be withheld if the postponement was due to “acts of God” or a natural disaster.

Other notes from the contract:

* Tennessee will be officially designated as the home team and will wear orange.

* Officials from the Big 10 will staff the game.

* Five thousand tickets of the teams’ 40,000 allotment must be priced at $40 or less.

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments » 1

johnlg00 writes:

I seem to recall that the first time this idea came up 10 or 15 years ago, the expected payout was said to be about $20mil per team. I didn't really see how that would work, but the figure of $4mil is still pretty hard to make.

If each team gets 40,000 tickets and 5000 have to be priced at $40 or less, equaling $200,000 at most, the rest of the tickets would have to be priced at about $125-$150 to get to $4mil even if the game is a complete sellout. One would have to wonder if it WOULD be a complete sellout at that price, which it likely wouldn't be unless both teams were pre-season top-10 picks.

I have argued in favor of this game on every previous article about it and still think it is a good idea, but it is hard for me to figure how the expected payoff could be generated from ticket sales alone. Maybe it could work if some of the proceeds from titling and TV rights were shared with the teams.

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