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Bronco Nation well-represented at Fiesta Bowl; why this is good news and bad news for Boise State

Boise State fans filled the Fiesta Bowl on Monday, which is both good and bad. Bronco Nation's traveling reputation got a big boost, but ticket sales told a different story. Join me after the jump for a look at what the good turnout will mean going forward, and discuss why the school failed in selling to its fanbase.

Bronco fans pack the Fiesta Bowl; Boise State loses money on ticket sales

Strange but true, the above headline is no oxymoron. Despite a majority of fans in the stands, Boise State still found itself upside down with the bottom line. What does this mean for the university? First, let's get to the facts.

The announced attendance at Monday's Fiesta Bowl was 73,227, which bowl organizers have to consider a success. The choice of Boise State and TCU was at least partially based on what schools could fill the stadium, and neither school disappointed.

Boise State may have had the upper hand on TCU fans, though. Watching the game on TV, the crowd noise was noticeably in the Broncos' favor, and wide shots of the stands showed a large amount of blue and orange.

Media reports agree. Tom Scott referenced prior to the game that walking around the city and the stadium there was an 8-to-1 ratio of Bronco fans to TCU fans. The Statesman reported a 60-40 split of the crowd inside the stadium.

Boise State had a definite crowd advantage at the Fiesta Bowl. I estimated it was 55-45 in favor of blue and orange, but it could have been closer to 60-40. Boise State fans were also, undoubtedly, louder — and their noise made an impact on the game, according to TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.

"They had a lot of fans and they were really loud. We had to go on a silent snap count, which we hadn't practiced the whole time because we didn't think we'd have to use it," Dalton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Even SI columnist Stewart Mandel thought the Broncos had the upperhand with the crowd.


If multiple reports claim a 60-40 split in favor of the Broncos, then I think it is safe to assume that you could estimate the Bronco fans in the stands at 44,000 (roughly 60 percent of the 73,227 in attendance).

So why could the Boise State athletic department not sell its allotment of 19,000 tickets?

Per Chadd Cripe, the final figures from the athletic department were 18,200 tickets sold, 500 donated to the military, and 300 unsold as of 24 hours prior to the game.

That leaves the school with 300 tickets to try to sell Monday. The school also has about 1,000 parking passes remaining. Combining the leftover tickets, the donated tickets and the leftover parking passes, Boise State stands to lose about $130,000 of its $3 million payout.

I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.

But wait! I have good news!

Of course, the good news from all of this is that Bronco Nation travels in huge numbers - a fact that should be considered for all future bowl appearances by the team. Bronco fans made a statement by filling up the Fiesta Bowl, and with national media outlets taking notice, a turnout like this can only further support Boise State's credibility on the national stage. This team has the support of tens of thousands of people, and they are people who travel to big games. That fact alone separates the Broncos from much of the non-BCS. 

Bronco fans affected the game with crowd noise, they uplifted an inspired football team, and they made an impression on the Fiesta Bowl, the national audience, and the BCS. This feat should not go unnoticed.

And I have bad news

So where did 26,000 people buy their tickets?

Despite an encouraging turnout, it appears that Boise State had to pay back for tickets it did not sell. There certainly wasn't a shortage of demand. In the midst of the Broncos' ticket push, I posted about BSU's ticket troubles, and there was a bit of insight from the comments. No doubt a couple of these factors played a role.

I would have purchased my tickets through the school; problem is, you have no idea where your sitting untill you get there. - ruffneck

BSU has things backwards no doubt about it. I got 4 tickets, guaranteed seating, and not to mention they were actually below face value. - KsigBronco

In short, there were better places to buy tickets.

Throw in the fact that some packages included extra fees, parking passes, and mandatory tailgate ticket, it makes sense that a cheaper way to go would be going your own way. Was Boise State required to add all the extra bells and whistles to their ticket price?

I understand that Bleymaier was put in a tough position to take the extra ticket allotment. I get that times are tough and fans will take the cheaper alternative if there is one. But if you have 44,000 of your team's fans attend a game and you cannot sell even 19,000 of the tickets, I think there is something wrong with that. Either the bowl system needs to change its ticket rules or Boise State needs to get better at reaching its demographic.

And then there's this: 44,000 fans arrived at the Fiesta Bowl to cheer on the Broncos. Boise State sold out two of its home games in a 33,000-seat stadium. The issue of home sellouts is a touchy one, and there is no shortage of suggestions on how to fix it (the newest one I heard last week was to put all locally televised games on tape delay). However, a showing like Bronco Nation had at the Fiesta Bowl only serves to magnify the disconnect that home games have with the fanbase.

What do you make of all this?

Are you excited out of your mind about Boise State's traveling reputation? Are you mad that the Broncos have to pay back money for not selling tickets? Where did you buy your Fiesta Bowl tickets? I'd love to know what you think. See you in the comments.