When Air Force announced it was giving up a home game to play New Mexico in the Cotton Bowl in 2016 it seemed like a very odd choice, and the attendance proved that the game was out of place with the low turn out.
Announced attendance for today's New Mexico vs. Air Force game: 18,230. pic.twitter.com/DWX12zzSkt— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) October 15, 2016
Despite the number of people attending Air Force athletic director Jim Knowlton was pleased with the outcome.
“We were able to expand our brand like we wouldn't have done sitting in our own place playing New Mexico,” Knowlton said. "We made more money than we would have made."
This game vs. New Mexico, which Air Force lost, earned the Falcons more money for this neutral game than playing at home, but very little money.
A financial report provided to The Gazette from the Oct. 15 game against New Mexico shows a profit of $141,328, which was $3,480 more than the Air Force Academy Athletic Corp. generated from its most recent home game against the Lobos in 2014 and about $300 more than it made for the Oct. 22 home game against Hawaii.
The main message from Air Force was spreading their brand, but the extra little bit of money has to please those from Air Force, even though it was not a extra ordinary amount for this game.
Knowlton said more of these games for Air Force could be a possibility because he wants to get the Air Force name out there.
"It's spreading the brand," said Knowlton. "If we aren't aggressive, we'll be a great regional school."
At this time if there are any negotiations for a neutral-site game for Air Force then Knowlton is keeping the details close to himself. With the “success” of the Cotton Bowl game there probably will be another few attempts at this type of matchup for Air Force football.