Football, the biggest cash cow on college campuses for generations, almost outgrew the corral when Frito-Lay hooked up with the Fiesta Bowl.
The Jan. 2, 1996, game between teams the bowl alliance hopes will be ranked Nos. 1 and 2 will pay each more than $8.5 million, with another $9 million left over for a revenue pool shared by the Sugar and Orange bowls."The payment from the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl next year will be the single largest payment in bowl history and, we think, the single largest payment - from any research we've been able do - from any single event in world history," Fiesta Bowl president John Junker said.
His sweeping statement summed up the festive mood at the bowl headquarters in suburban Tempe, site of a news conference to announce the richest postseason game in college history.
Junker said all of the $26 million payout would go to the alliance, which hasn't settled on the amount for the Fiesta teams.
"I think the alliance members are still meeting on that issue, and we'll be pleased to follow their direction," he said, noting that $17 million for the participating teams was a ballpark figure.
The Fiesta must make the payment regardless of whether the game decides the national championship.
In its news release, the Fiesta Bowl said each team would receive $13 million. But alliance officials later explained that about a third of the total would go into the alliance's revenue-sharing pool.
Starting this season, the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls will rotate as sites of a possible national championship game. The Fiesta hosts the top alliance game this season.