OSU to Qwest = more economic sense for Cougs

WASHINGTON STATE'S announcement today that it will play Oregon State at Qwest Field next football season is just the latest in a series of positive economic news for WSU athletics. By playing the Beavers, who will bring a ton of fans with them, rather than the standard non-conference foe, WSU figures to generate roughly $500,000 MORE in revenue from their Seattle game than they otherwise would.

With a sellout or near sellout of Qwest Field, which the WSU-OSU game should produce, WSU figures to generate roughly $500,000 MORE in revenue from their annual game at Qwest.

Indeed, the math add ups quickly. The revenue increase that comes from drawing 55,000 fans to Qwest instead of the standard 45,000 that the Cougs usually get with non-conference opponent is $300,000. If the Cougs could draw 60,000 fans to Qwest instead of 45,000, we're talking nearly half-a-million-dollars more in revenue.

For perspective on how notable that is, considerable that the annual budget for all of WSU athletics is currently $30 million. Simply by upgrading the Qwest Field opponent to a Pac-10 school that can bring a ton of fans with them will reap huge dividends.

The 2011 game against Oregon State will be played Oct. 22, and effectively replaces the Sept. 10 game against UNLV that had been slated for Qwest. That game will now be in Pullman.

"Ideally we will fill Qwest Field with a sea of crimson but if not, the proximity to Corvallis and the Oregon State fan base should lend itself to a full venue," Moos continued. "This would greatly benefit Cougar athletics in regards to scholarship opportunities and facility enhancements."

WSU fans in Spokane and Pullman will no doubt squawk at the notion of losing a conference home game at Martin Stadium, but two things make those complaints hollow. First, the Cougs will still be playing five games at Martin in 2011. And second, the economics of the Cougs and Beavs in Seattle are absolutely too good to pass up at a time when major facility investments are needed.

THIS IS THE THIRD bit of good economic news for WSU athletics in recent weeks. The new formula for splitting TV revenue among Pac-12 schools, coupled with a pending new conference TV contract, could generate $12 million per year for WSU vs. the current $4 million the school now gets from TV. In addition, WSU recently signed a new cooperative marketing agreement with ISP Sports that will generate $35.6 million for Cougar athletics over the next 10 years.

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