College football scheduling has become a lucrative business.
It takes money — and lots of it — for any team to add home games to a future nonconference schedule.
A detailed look at every game Kansas State is currently contracted to play over the next 12 years reveals exactly how much. The Wildcats have deals in place with 16 different nonconference opponents that will bring 17 games to Bill Snyder Family Stadium and send K-State on the road six times. The total cost of those 17 home games: $9.29 million.
K-State has agreed to pay four teams seven-figure sums to play a single football game in Manhattan. Troy will receive the biggest paycheck ($1.4 million) for a game in 2023, followed by Army ($1.17 million) in 2025, Nevada ($1 million) in 2021 and Tulane ($1 million) in 2026.
The Wildcats will also pay Tulane $300,000 for a home game in 2022, but they will get that money back in 2024 when Tulane pays K-State the same amount for a game in New Orleans. K-State doesn’t have any return games scheduled with Army, Nevada or Troy.
K-State has not publicly announced its game with Army. It will be played on Sept. 6, 2025 in Manhattan.
Some other guarantee games on K-State’s future schedules include:
- Buffalo ($900,000) in 2020.
- North Dakota ($475,000) in 2020.
- Southern Illinois ($450,000) in 2021.
- Abilene Christian ($425,000) in 2022.
- South Dakota ($500,000) in 2023.
The Wildcats paid Nicholls $450,000 and Bowling Green $815,000 for home games this season.
It is standard operating procedure for the home team in most home-and-home contracts to pay the visiting team $300,000 to help cover travel costs. K-State agreed to those terms with future power-five opponents Vanderbilt, Arizona, Washington State, Colorado and Rutgers.
But there is no such payment included in K-State’s contract with Missouri. When the Wildcats host the Tigers in 2022 and travel to Columbia in 2023 both teams will pay for their own travel, presumably because of their close proximity.
That series also has the largest buyout of any K-State contract. If either team opts to cancel the series, they must pay the other team $2 million. The buyout fee for K-State’s other games are all closer to $1 million.
Another interesting part of K-State’s future home-and-home series revolves around officials. A Big 12 crew is contracted to be on hand for all of the Wildcats’ road games against Arizona, Washington State, Colorado and Rutgers. But those teams will provide officials from their conferences when they play in Manhattan.
K-State athletic director Gene Taylor has said neutral-site venues such as Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas had expressed interest in hosting the Wildcats’ 2021 home opener against Stanford. They are currently exploring options to move that game off campus, but there is no specific language in K-State’s contract with Stanford about protocol for playing the game elsewhere. Both sides will likely need to reach a new agreement to make that happen.
Two of K-State’s recent contracts also had language to help ensure its nonconference games would all land on national TV. When K-State played at Stanford in 2016, the Cardinal would have owed the Wildcats $300,000 if the game was televised anywhere other than a network under the Fox and ESPN umbrella. K-State also had a similar deal in place with Mississippi State. The Bulldogs would have owed the Wildcats $100,000 had their recent game at Davis Wade Stadium not been televised nationally.
Future K-State nonconference football games
Buffalo - Sept. 5
North Dakota - Sept. 12
Vanderbilt - Sept. 19
Stanford - Sept. 4
Southern Illinois - Sept. 11
Nevada - Sept. 18
Abilene Christian - Sept. 3
Missouri - Sept. 10
Tulane - Sept. 17
South Dakota - Sept. 2
Troy - Sept. 9
at Missouri - Sept. 16
at Tulane - Sept. 7
Arizona - Sept. 14
Army - Sept. 6
at Arizona - Sept. 13
Washington State - Sept. 12
Tulane - Sept. 19
at Colorado - Sept. 18
Colorado - Sept. 16
at Washington State - Sept. 8
Rutgers - Sept. 14
at Rutgers - Sept. 13