LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico State Aggies are starting off the new year as the 2022 Quick Lane Bowl champions after defeating Bowling Green, 24 to 19. “It was great for the guys,” said Mario Moccia, Athletic Director for NMSU.

But getting the team, band, and spirit squad to Detroit was no cheap task. Moccia originally estimated the trip could cost nearly $700,000.

The university is getting $150,000 for the trip from the Quick Lane Bowl. Per their contract with the bowl, NMSU will get all the revenue for the first 2,000 tickets sold. It will split the revenue 50-50 with the bowl for the following 2,000 tickets sold.

But with the game on December 26, in Detroit, Moccia assumed it could also be hard for fans to go, so the university set up a ticket incentive program. “They had a tremendous showing from their crowd you know, clad and orange and white, but we had a really nice crowd, too. So, I think that ticket giveaway certainly helped,” said Moccia.

People who could not actually travel to the game could still buy a ticket, which would then be donated to Detroit youth. The purchaser then gets autographed NMSU and bowl swag in return.

The community stepped up. So far, the fundraising site has raised more than $100,000.

“It just tells you people care, they were hungry for a winner and they were certainly salivating in the first year, coach Kill wins seven games and not only takes us to a bowl game but wins it,” said Moccia.

It’s too soon to know if the university will break even financially, but Moccia still hopes to raise $60,000 more through the fundraising site.

In the meantime, NMSU is already seeing the benefits of being the only bowl game nationally televised that day, airing on ESPN.

“If you think about that, for 3.5 hours, you had 2.3 million people in the United States tuned in,” said Moccia. “The football recruiting aspect has picked up tremendously. Whether it’s junior college or the transfer portal, a lot more people are interested in New Mexico State now that we got all that exposure on national TV.”

Moccia said they are currently planning the post-bowl ceremony in downtown Las Cruces, which will either be later this month or early February. He said the donation site will most likely close around then.