The Price of Doing Business in Non-Conference Scheduling

The Price of Doing Business in Non-Conference Scheduling

North Dakota State will pay the University of North Alabama $230,000 for making the trip from Florence, Ala., to Fargo this weekend. UNA will gladly take the check and the charter trip as experience for what they hope is a successful transition from Division II to FCS. That paycheck may seem like it’s high when you think about it, since UNA is brand new to Division I, but when you’re NDSU and need home games, the Lions had the advantage in negotiating power.

I’ve compiled the amounts NDSU has paid to get non-conference games at the Fargodome over the last six seasons and the next two seasons upcoming. There are teams not on this list — Montana, Eastern Washington, Weber State and Delaware — but those games are straight home-and-home contracts with no money exchanging.

  • Prairie View A&M (2012)     –  $200K
  • Delaware State (2013)         –   $200K
  • Ferris State (2013)              –   $180K
  • The Incarnate Word (2014) –  $190K
  • North Dakota (2015)          –   $125K
  • Charleston Southern (2016) –  $300K (highest paid game to date)
  • Mississippi Valley State (2017) – $240K
  • Robert Morris (2017)           –   $185K
  • Cal Poly (2018)                     –   $250K
  • North Alabama (2018)         –   $230K
  • Butler (2019)                         –  $185K (Twins are now paying this, NDSU getting at least $600K based on attendance at Target Field)
  • North Dakota (2019)             –  $140K
  • UC Davis (2019)                    –  $240K
  • Drake (2020)                         –  $230K

Total payouts for non-conference games since 2012: $2.71 million.

View Comments (11)


  1. John S

    September 12, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    UND took only $125K for that game and if they would have scheduled a patsy they would have finished 8-3 and made the playoffs. Good job Bubba!

    • Dom's Agent

      September 13, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Then NDSU would have rolled them in the playoffs.

  2. David

    September 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    How much does NDSU bring in from a game – I wonder what an estimated net income ends up being.

    • Life Long

      September 12, 2018 at 6:39 pm

      David’s question is a very good one. All of the ‘yahoos’ who want NDSU to go FBS need to understand that our cozy little Dome does not generate enough $$ to fund a big-time program. Dom & Jeff, can you SWAG the total revenue stream that comes out of a sold-out game at the Dome?

      • bisonbill

        September 12, 2018 at 9:20 pm

        Before Jeff and Dom answer this, I would make an educated guess that NDSU recovers about 1/3 of the payouts to the visitors. This probably happens across the board for most D1 teams on payouts to visitors. Otherwise, this would not be standard practice. Home games make up for any losses, yes?

        • AZ Bison

          September 13, 2018 at 10:12 am

          Bison Bill – I may have miss read your comment but are you suggesting that NDSU takes a loss on these non conference games? I know there are other expenses but the ticket revenue has to be in excess of $750,000 and total revenue is more than likely $1,000,000 plus

          • bisonbill

            September 13, 2018 at 6:18 pm

            No, I am making an assumption (!) that they recover the expenses, 1/3 of the bottom line, and they still come out ahead. I would like to see the books!

  3. bisonfan

    September 13, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Didn’t ESPN pay for the Charleston Southern game to happen so they could air it as the FCS Kickoff that year?

    • Dom Izzo

      September 13, 2018 at 11:46 pm

      No, ESPN did not pick any of the tab for the Charleston Southern game. That was all NDSU.

  4. bisonfan

    September 13, 2018 at 11:43 am

    My guess is NDSU makes a minimum of $750K per home game. I was told that a home game makes NDSU way more money then a payout from a P5 school. Of course you also have to factor in the publicity and exposure from those type of games. But NDSU is making very good money from 6-7 home games every year.

  5. MarkyMark

    September 13, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    If NDSU is getting at least 600k from the Twins for moving the Butler game to Target Field it’s a good bet that they anticipated netting at least 600k if the game remained in Fargo.

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