Huskies expect to cash in at Soldier Field
DeKALB – Northern Illinois athletic director Jeff Compher was pleased with how last year’s football game at Soldier Field between the Huskies and Wisconsin turned out financially.
NIU received about $850,000 in revenue from that contest. This season, when the Huskies take on Iowa at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 at Solider Field, Compher said the school should come out even better revenue-wise.
Last season, NIU paid Wisconsin $1 million to play at Soldier Field, with the Badgers not receiving any ticket revenue.
This year, NIU will get the first $1 million in ticket revenue from the Solider Field contest. Iowa will get the second million, while the remaining money will be split evenly between the schools.
“We still believe that it was a profitable and a great opportunity for our fans to go to Soldier Field (in 2011), and we certainly made a lot of money last year, but the upside for this game is even more,” Compher told the Daily Chronicle. “... We certainly plan to make our million, and then beyond that we’re just waiting to see what the final results are for our tickets.”
Compher said one reason NIU was able to negotiate the current deal was the fact Iowa wanted to help market the game, thinking it would be able to benefit and earn more revenue. Iowa and NIU worked together in setting ticket prices, where tickets will be, and deadlines for buying them, Compher said.
NIU also received the first million in revenue when the Huskies played Iowa in 2007.
“I think there’s a greater upside,” Compher said. “We’re able to partner better with Iowa and market the game better with a school that understands that it can benefit them on the back end of this thing as well.”
Last season, Compher said Wisconsin wanted the contest to be more of a guarantee game, and didn’t go to the same level Iowa has in terms of marketing.
“They didn’t want to market the game,” he said. “They did market the game a little bit, but they didn’t want the responsibility of selling the tickets and marketing the game in the same level that obviously Iowa has as more of a partnership.”
As part of the agreement, SMG, which operates facilities at Soldier Field, keeps revenue from concessions, programs, souvenirs, parking, as well as suite and club rentals. Compher said
NIU pays for personnel and services associated with the contest, as well as cleanup.
Officials from the game will be from the Big Ten Conference. However, Compher said Big Ten and Mid-American Conference officials are drawn from the same pool of officials.
“It’s kind of good in that way. We’re familiar with the Big Ten officials and they’re familiar with the MAC,” Compher said. “I don’t really feel like there’s going to be any bias anyway. From our perspective, that’s fine.”
HAWKEYES VS. HUSKIES GAME FACTS
– Ticket prices are $60 for upper level seats, $70 for lower level and midfield and $80 for club seats. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com
– NIU's seating will be on the south side of Soldier field, including the south end zone. Iowa's seating will be on the north side, including the north end zone. In 2007, seating was split east-west. Last year, NIU controlled stadium seating, designating where it wanted fans with Wisconsin fans filling in.
– The game will be televised on ESPNU
– Both schools will negotiate with SMG when it comes to field markings, including names and logos in each end zone, as well as any on-field sponsorship
– NIU and Iowa will be limited to 5,000 student tickets each
– NIU's band will sit in section 122 and 124, while Iowa's band will be in section 151