Some people don't know this, but besides the experience of playing the bowl game, there is plenty of other benefits. There's the week of free meals, tourist events like visiting Sea World, zoos and theme parks. There's the learning experience of visiting recovering veterans or children cancer patients at hospitals and experiences everyone else may never get to experience.
But there is more. Each player and coach get a gift pack for participating as well from the bowl sponsor.
For example, this year for playing in the Alamo Bowl, the good folks at Valero made sure that each player at coach for Washington and Baylor received a $400 gift card to Best Buy, a Fossil watch, a Schutt mini help and a panoramic team photo.
Each year, the good folks at the Sports Business Daily keep track of what is given and what isn't. Here's a story recapping this year's record year of spending.
From the story ...
Among BCS games, the players competing in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio will have the opportunity to choose a Vizio 26-inch LED LCD HDTV or Vizio eight-inch Wi-Fi/Bluetooth tablet, items that will be part of an overall gift suite. Gift suites are rooms hosted by the bowl committee, operated by Carrollton, Texas-based Performance Award Center, and set up at the team hotel or a school campus. Players, coaches and VIPs are given checklists to choose their game memorabilia from a variety of items, including Sony electronics, Trek mountain bikes, Lane recliners, Ogio backpacks and Apple iPods. At least 14 of this year’s 35 bowl games will offer gift suites to players.
The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and almost always do, purchase additional packages that they can distribute to participants beyond that 125 limit. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and any bowl game. Each limit represents an increase of $50 over last year. Here's the list of all the gift packs for each individual bowl.
Gotta say participating in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman and getting an Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPod nano, Deuce watch, LunaTik wristband (to hold iPod), beanie, Nike backpack was a pretty good deal for Toledo and Air Force players.