With playoffs crowding them out of the spotlight, smaller bowl games have recently faced a tough decision. Attendance has dropped, costs have grown, and there are few solutions in sight. Three non-profit bowl games decided to cancel, leading to for-profit groups like ESPN purchasing them to bolster viewership. Schools rely on lower-tier bowl games for major profits, with about $517m in profits last year. By owning them directly, ESPN can avoid broadcasting disputes and scale up their viewership and promotion, meaning profits for both ESPN and the schools involved.