How much will Boise State's travel costs go up with move to the Big East?

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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Houston, South Florida,

Houston, South Florida, Louisville, Navy, Temple, etc....I'm drooling. Sure beats games against NMSU and SJSU.

Who will be carrying the games?

It is the only relevant issue here. I can't believe they posted all the crap they fly with and what it weighs. My dog weighs 73 pounds,can jump 61" high and is the best Frisbee catcher in South McCall. Who cares really.
Who is carrying the game?

Secret agents.


You fry wants with that?

But what about the fans

While the cost differential may be minor to the team, what about the fans? In the Big East, with the exception of San Diego, all the road games will require flying as opposed to being able to drive to most of the current Mountain West Schools. Colorado St, Wyoming, Fresno St, UNLV, Nevada and San Diego are all pretty much drivable making the trip often cheaper and whole lot more convenient.

It will be important ...

... for Boise State to schedule non-conference games closer to home, which is something the Broncos are doing with games at BYU, Utah State, Washington and Washington State.

-- murph

It will also be important...

... for BSU to show that it travels well. Despite the changes to the BCS, it would be good for BSU to be able to show that they are marketable to the other big bowls. Traveling once or twice across the country for special games like Va Tech is one thing, but being able to sustain it for a regular season and post season is another. The BSU fans I know are great and dedicated to their team and are willing to travel, but many are concerned about the cost of traveling to longer distance regular season games and then being able to afford post season travel.

Traveling well

Is not as important as filling the stands with fans that want to see the game. Any team that plays Boise State will have the stands filled, no matter who's side they're on!!!!!!!!!!

How about home games?

First lets see if you can sell out your 37,000 seat stadium for a full season, that's every game and then worry about traveling to Cincy.

Not a problem

The 2012 season will bring new teams to Bronco Stadium. New competition fills stadiums.

Not with the prices.


You fry wants with that?

Time for a Change

Guess what, you aren't playing Utah State anymore. Turns out real schools who have real fans who buy real tickets make it unnecessary to hope that a bunch of out of towners from Boise Iowa will show up and root for the road team. And cities like Cincinnati, Louisville, Philadelphia, Memphis, Tampa, Houston, etc... their economies are solid and the average person could care less that you are spending your out of town dollar. They get more pleasure out of squashing 10 silver bullets and spitting on your rental car.

It's a new and exciting era for Boise State football but things are going to be different. The Big East is not great but the Big East is a HUGE step up from the WAC & WAC 2.0. I expect BSU will more than hold their own on the field but fans will absolutely see a difference. Big improvement for fans at home... drop-off for fans on the road.

Quit drooling as you count the the benj's


You fry wants with that?

Good move scheduling.....

Think BSU has made the right move scheduling for future non conference games with Wash St, Wash, Ore St, BYU to bring travel fans to town. I also think if Utah St football program keeps improving they will prove to be good non conference team to bring travel fans.
The city should make some money off the football program also, havent really had the travel fans in the past in the WAC and MWC.

Holy Toledo

I traveled to Ohio last year for the BSU vs. Toledo game. The stadium was packed and the Blue and Orange was visible in large patches outside of the visiting ticket area. Of the Bronco fans near us that we talked with, many came from locations in the east (Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee...), Boise transplants or fans with no connection Idaho.

Good analysis B Murph! Scheduling Northwest non-conference games mitigate the added travel associated with the Big East.

Flights Are Generally cheaper

to bigger cities and major air travel hubs (Tampa, Orlando, NY, Houston, Dallas, etc.). This isn't just for charter planes but for regular air travel.

None of the opponents in the MWC are anywhere near Boise and unless you want to drive 8 hours minimum (to our closest MWC opponent which is Nevada) to go to an out of town game, you're looking at buying a plane tiket. If you do want to drive to the one of those games, you're looking at easily spending more on gas roundtrip (not to mention wear and tear on your vehicle) than you would airfare.

So it's really not that big of a difference as far as travel costs for the fans who want to travel, either.

you explain that to the airline.


You fry wants with that?

Another thing, Murph,

is that the AD for SDSU is making the Big East aware of the fact that they want to limit their travel to the East Coast to twice or three times a season, max. Coyle should be backing him up on that for scheduling and such. That said, even if it is a million a year in travel it should be considered like we do stadium expansion: as an investment and a reflection of our determination to continue to improve.


Any idea how the Big East will be divided? Rumor says its an East-West split, but I haven't heard anything.

I also want to know how this works for Conference games. Of course, we'll play the other 5 teams in our division, and 3 from the other division? How many of those other three games will be away?

If the Big East

is like every other conference that plays a balanced schedule (i.e., 8 conference games) BSU will have 4 home and 4 away conference games. To answer your question about the three games outside our division, every other year Boise will play 2 away and 1 at home. The next year it will be two at home and one away.

Hope that helps.

Regardless of the Big East schedule...

I want to see Boise State continue to try to schedule big name schools from the Big Ten, SEC, and maybe the Big-12. I doubt Oregon, Stanford, or USC will schedule us, but it would be nice.

Maybe Georgia wants a rematch? Or Arkansas or South Carolina, since they all seem to remember the other times we played them?

How about a one-and-done Michigan or Ohio State? Would Gorden Gee still consider us one of the "Little Sisters of the Poor" when we are in the Big East?

Considering the high Catholic population here, could we get a home-and-away with Notre Dame (especially for the tv exposure on CBS)?

Agree wholeheartedly,

Notre Dame if it could happen would be tremendous. Also, a mid-tier Pac 12 team like California might accept a game because they have something to win image-wise if they beat us. Their top-tier teams will want nothing to do with us, however. And, we will still need two tough out-of-conference games to get that SOS competitive once the playoffs are here.

they will ruin the EC and the Euro


You fry wants with that?

If I could wave a magic wand...

I would have an OOC scedule consisting of a combination of any of these teams:

Either Michigan State or Ohio State or Michigan or Wisconsin for my Big Ten team.
Arkansas or South Carolina or Florida from the SEC (Alabama and LSU would refuse)
California or UCLA or Washington from the Pac-2 (USC and Oregon would refuse); I'd also consider Washington State ONLY because our last game was a loss.
ANY from the Big-12 (although Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State would refuse)
ANY team from the Big East
ANY team from the ACC

But, this is just a dream. No way any of these teams will take the risk playing us. A loss to the Broncos, and their season is ruined. A win, and they "played an overrated team". There is no up-side for them. On the other hand, if we lose, it'll give us another standard to set our game. We learned from the first Georgia game. We will learn from another loss.

Even if we did schedule and beat these teams, we'll get criticized for playing in the MWC/BE. Nothing will ever be good until we play a "gauntlet", even though NO TEAM in the country plays a gauntlet. The SEC likes to boast the "week in, week out" tough schedule. It's all crap! Even Alabama follows up a tough LSU with an Ole Miss or Kentucky. I want somebody show me ONE school that played and beat top competition a MINIMUM of three straight weeks (not games, but weeks). Schools like Idaho playing 3 straight Top Ten schools don't count, because they won't win any of them.

And, playing "ranked" opponents doesn't mean jacks**t when that opponent sucks. A few SEC teams like to hang their SoS on overrated teams like Texas A&M or Auburn or Mississippi State. All three of those teams started off ranked, but were horrible. Early rankings are garbage because they give a false sense of how good a team is.

How much credibility would be given if New Mexico State was ranked #5 to start the season? Should their first few opponents be able to boast about beating a ranked team?

I was going to ask....

when was the last time ND played an away game in front of less than 40,000 fans.
But it appears that would be: last year against Wake Forest!
Maybe there is a small chance for a home & home series (probably would be spread out like Michigan State with ten years between!) but they seem to be fond of playing the Big East. Just like you don't need to be Catholic to appreciate ND, you don't need to be from Idaho to appreciate BSU. I know of fans in many parts of the nation that would go to a BSU game in their area (and given the crowds drawn in Toledo and Miami(Ohio), it appears that we do have quite a few fans outside the Gem State). Despite what some trolls here would have you believe, BSU has arrived on the nation's consciousness.
Go Broncos!

Just freakin' bazillions


You fry wants with that?

National Exposure

I live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and have been following the Broncos since their Fiest Bowl win over Oklahoma some years ago. As a South Florida native I can tell you that there are quitte a number of Boise State fans down here. They may be sparse but there are Bronco clothing items such as Jerseys and T-Shirts being sold in Department stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Once a football team has their brand being sold on the oppositie side of the country, they know they've made it. I cannot wait for BSU to travel to Tampa to play USF or Orland to play UCF. I will be right their with my Orange Boise State hoodie on. And I can guarantee you I wont be the only Florida native rooting for the non-Florida team! GO BRONCOS!!!

"What channel is the game on honey?"

Who really cares? I mean the REAL question is what communication system will these games be on? Directv? Dishnet?
Cableone? Will we know before 2 WEEKS of the first game so we can change our system or keep what we have? This is the real issue. We all know all their gear gets there,gets the job done and gets back to Boise. Along with the players of course.


For the price of a Craigslist hookup. Cable weasels ain't what they used to be.


You fry wants with that?

Calling it a 'communications system'...

Implies it's both communications and a system.


You fry wants with that?

The Tether's of Tomorrow....

Inflation is at hand cause of drought in Corn Production areas....Corn syrup used many ways, including soda at cfb games....

Silver not legal tender, yet?

Mr Murph has good comment on $30M budget....

Broncos gross revenue less than $30M, so how do they pay bills?

America is a credit consumer....

If going to games, pay bills first and then enjoy the Broncos !!!!

Hopefully the Broncos dont spend more than they make in Big East....


You are always good for a laugh...

§ tfunk

Check your email, would ya?

§ The silversmith's tether

"Mike Pitts, Republican for South Carolina introduced a currency proposal of which any gold or silver coin could be used as payment for debts based on its weight and size. Pitts and 12 other so-sponsors [sic, s/b co-sponsors] believe that this move will protect their state from 'an economic crisis of severe magnitude.'

Washington State, Iowa, Minnesota, Georgia and Idaho have followed suit and are basing their legal tender values on metal standards as reflected on the market."


thanks for info....

§ Where this stands "currency"

in Idaho, I don't know. Interesting, though, that Idaho may just be one of the leaders in this movement.

Just imagine putting down a $20 piece of silver for popcorn and soda at a BSU game. The attendant/barkeep wouldn't know what to do. "Sir, would you like change in zinc, copper, shekels, euros, or pounds?"

There's an app opportunity right there.


Actually, how the system works is you deposit the silver or gold and you get issued a card that has the amount in it. When spent, you throw card away (recycle bin for the greenies)....

The system is needed....the greenback is deflating and dying....after $1.5T of QE3, the dollar will quickly become toasted....

Utah is actually the leader in this....hopefully Idaho quickly follows, especially with all the silver, big economy boost potential for our great State....

The answer is:

four bazillion and the lives of two drug cartel hostages.


You fry wants with that?