1:42 PM UPDATE: Via e-mail, the AD's office at Boston College says that the $900,000 guarantee payment pays for Georgia Tech's travel, lodging and meals. The money comes from the larger pot of money from game sponsors, which BC is indeed receiving "the lion's share" of as the home team, though what "the lion's share" means is unclear.
Buried in the Globe's article about BC declining to host UConn at Fenway next year were a few small tidbits about next season's scheduled BC-Georgia Tech game in Dublin.
Now, you know us. When it's at all possible, we're Mr., Mr., Mr., Mr. and Ms. Sunshine, and we try not to read in to every decision made by the school as some sort of problem.
But... apparently, as the hosts, Boston College is paying Georgia Tech $900,000 to participate in the Ireland game. Is there any way this makes any sense? Maybe BC is getting the lion's share of gate revenue even from neutral tickets sold, since the Eagles are the home team?
Because otherwise, it doesn't make much sense. Georgia Tech is an ACC opponent who was on the calendar anyway, so it's not like this was an opponent BC had to pay to get on the schedule. Dropping an extra $900,000 for the privilege of shuttling your pre-existing home game across the Atlantic Ocean doesn't seem to be worthwhile.
The other tidbit about Ireland in the Globe story is that ticket sales are falling short of expectations, which is not really surprising. BC initially thought they could sell 10,000 tickets, but that seems pretty optimistic to me, given that attendance at home was in the 30,000 range last season. It stands to reason that the set of people interested in spending thousands of dollars to go watch BC play is just a subset of those willing to actually go to home games.
The other problem BC's facing - aside from the fact that they sucked last year, so interest in spending big money to fly across the ocean to watch them play is pretty low - is that your older, more financially established alumni who are more likely to have the money and flexibility to travel already had the chance to do this in the 80s, so it's not a once-in-a-lifetime novelty for them. Younger alums might be interested in making their first trip to the Emerald Isle (waves!) but might be less likely to have the money or time to drop.
According to the Globe, BC has sold about 5,000 tickets so far, with projections now looking to be more in the 7,500 range. That would have been a more reasonable estimate from the beginning.