WVU FOOTBALL: Mountaineers get $2.5M guarantee for FedEx Field matchup vs. Hokies in 2017
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia has added a game to the revived series against Virginia Tech.
The two schools announced Tuesday they will open the 2017 season against one another at FedEx Field, home of the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Last July, the Mountaineers and Hokies agreed to a home-and-home series with the 2021 game in Morgantown and the 2022 game in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The two teams, which last played in October 2005, will now meet again Sept. 2, 2017, according to the official game contract. WVU is also scheduled to play East Carolina at home that season and is looking for another home non-conference game because there are only four Big 12 home games that season.
The game contract states WFI Stadium, Inc., the business arm of the Redskins and FedEx Field, will pay WVU a guaranteed sum of $2.5 million for playing the game. The Mountaineers are also eligible for up to $250,000 in ticket sales incentives.
WVU received a $2.3 million guarantee and about $3,800 from a ticket incentive that was actually capped at $200,000 for playing James Madison University at FedEx in 2012, a game that was organized by Russ Potts Promotions. As part of that agreement, WVU added $200,000 to the guarantee for agreeing to play BYU at FedEx in 2016. The Mountaineers will receive $2.45 million for that game with a ticket incentive that also has a $200,000 cap.
The Virginia Tech game, though, will pay WVU $125,000 if ticket sales reach between 62,500 and 69,000. If the ticket sales surpass 69,000, WVU receives an additional $125,000.
WVU will have to handle some financial responsibilities, though, which is a different arrangement than it had for the JMU game, when the school didn’t have to sell tickets. For the Virginia Tech game, the Mountaineers must buy 20,000 tickets from WFI at a “minimum average ticket price” of $80 per ticket. The contract says WVU can sell the tickets and keep the revenue “with such revenue to be deducted from” the $2.5 million guarantee.
Additionally, WVU must cover all “costs or provisions of any services in connection with WVU travel, transportation, lodging, meals, parties, logistics, or any other related expense.” The arrangement was the same for the JMU game.
The Mountaineers also receive six complementary suites for which they cannot sell tickets and 900 complementary tickets to cover player and coach requests, plus the marching band.
The Hokies have financial duties, too. They’ll be the home team for the game and will cover the cost for the officiating crew. WVU and Virginia Tech agreed to use Big Ten officials. However, Virginia Tech, as the home team, retained the rights to telecast the game.
WFI inserted provisions to make the game a special occasion, including a request that both schools make “reasonable efforts not to play” one another in a 2016 bowl game. The Big 12 and Virginia Tech’s Atlantic Coast Conference have a bowl partnership with the Russell Athletic Bowl from 2014-19. It pits the ACC’s first selection after the College Football Playoff series with the Big 12’s second selection.
Additionally, if Virginia Tech or WFI cancel the game, the party breaching the contract will reimburse WVU for all expenses accrued preparing for the game, plus a $1 million buyout for liquidated damages. If WFI or WVU are guilty of the breach, the offending party will reimburse the Hokies the same and pay a $1.25 million buyout for liquidated damages.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecasazza.