By Brian Murphy
Boise State is planning to move its football program to the Big East in 2013, a move the Broncos confirmed Saturday when they officially withdrew from the Mountain West (effective June 30, 2013).
Here is a copy of the Broncos' withdrawal letter. The letter from Boise State President Bob Kustra to Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson is brief and to the point.
The reasons for (and against) the move have been debated over and over. But I wanted to examine one specific talking point in this post: travel costs.
The State Board of Education recently approved Boise State's contract with Frontier Airlines for charter flights for the 2012 season. Frontier also served as the school's airline in 2010 and 2011. The one-year agreement with Frontier includes school options to renew the contract for up to four one-year terms.
In 2010, Boise State $400,781 for six regular-season charter flights. That year, the Broncos played road games in in Washington, D.C. (Virginia Tech); Laramie, Wyo.; Las Cruces, N.M. (New Mexico State); San Jose (San Jose State); Moscow, Idaho; and Reno, Nev.
In 2011, Boise State paid $512,596 for six regular-season charter flights The breakdown: Georgia, $123,569; Toledo, $107,123; Fresno State, $72,570; Colorado State (Fort Collins), $62,100; UNLV, $69,429; San Diego State, $77,805. The increase was attributed to destination changes and an increase in fuel costs.
In 2012, Boise State will pay $494,062 for five regular-season games. The Hawaii game will be contract separately. The per-game cost has increased approximately 15% from 2011 due to fuel prices, according to the State Board agenda. The contract includes a fuel cost escalator cause.
Here is the breakdown:
Opponent (City flying to): Cost
Michigan State (Lansing): $128,171
New Mexico (Albuquerque): $82,328
Southern Miss (Hattiesburg): $130,851
Wyoming (Laramie): $72,963
Nevada (Reno): $79,749
In future Big East seasons, Boise State will need flights to San Diego, Houston, Dallas (SMU), Tampa (South Florida), Orlando (Central Florida), the New York City area (Rutgers), Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, the Baltimore area (Navy), Philadelphia (Temple) and Connecticut.
Let's assume that a flight to any of those destinations and Hawaii cost $130,851 — the same as a flight to Hattiesburg, the most expensive trip on Boise State's schedule this year.
(It will likely to be cheaper to get to major Eastern cities than it is to get to Hattiesburg, but stick with me here.)
If all six flights (four Big East road games plus non-conference games) cost $130,851, Boise State would pay $785,106 for charter flights.
This season — again assuming the Hawaii flight is the same as a flight to Hattiesburg — Boise State will spend $624,913 in charter flights.
The difference: $160,193.
That's a pretty insignificant amount for an athletic department with a budget of more than $30 million and one that is expecting a significant increase in conference television revenue by joining the Big East.
And the difference would be less if:
a.) It is cheaper to fly to larger Eastern cities than it is to fly to Hattiesburg, Miss.
b.) It is more expensive to fly to Hawaii than it it is to fly to Hattiesberg, Miss.
c.) Boise State has nearby non-conference games, which the Broncos do. Boise State has future non-conference games scheduled with BYU, Utah State, Washington and Washington State.
What Boise State carries with it
Boise State carries approximately 6,006 pounds of equipment with it for charter flights.
Here is the breakdown:
65 players' bags (28 pounds each)
1 equipment trunk (250 pounds)
1 equipment trunk (240 pounds)
1 pound equipment trunk (175 pounds)
1 kicking net (45 pounds)
1 bag of footballs (30 pounds)
1 tool kit (50 pounds)
4 trainer equipment bags (35 pounds each)
2 trainer equipment trunks (150 pounds each)
2 trainer kits (45 pounds each)
1 trainer ice chest (20 pounds)
2 trainer water coolers (20 pounds each)
1 headset trunk (250 pounds)
1 headset trunk (200 pounds)
1 headset trunk (125 pounds)
1 video/VCR case (111 pounds)
1 DVD/case (80 pounds)
1 DVD/case (50 pounds)
3 camera cases (150 pounds total)
2 tripod cases (40 pounds total)
Misc. items (50 pounds)
Total cargo weight: 4,206 pounds
120 players' carry on bags (15 pounds each)
Total weight: 6,006 pounds
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