The Nevada football team has scheduled 14 future non-conference games through the 2026 season, including four in 2021, four in 2022, three in 2023 and one each from 2024-26. Nevada Sports Net obtained the contracts for 13 of the 14 games this week through a public records request (the 2021 Cal game is the lone exception). Here are the payouts for each of Nevada's future non-conference games.
Nevada opens the season at Cal (Sept. 4), although that still doesn't have an executed contract, odd considering the game is less than 5 months away. But the third game of that series has been moved around quite a bit after the teams played in 2010 and 2012. Nevada plays at Kansas State (Sept. 18) and will get $1 million, one of the nine $1 million-plus games in program history. The Wolf Pack also owes payouts to Idaho State (Sept. 11, $350,000) and New Mexico State (Oct. 9, $200,000). Assuming the Cal game pays Nevada around $500,000 (that's just a guess, but it won't be $1 million-plus since it was part of a three-game series), the Wolf Pack should net around $1 million in non-conference payouts this season, a healthy number.
Nevada's season opener is at New Mexico State (Aug. 27), which will pay the Wolf Pack $200,000. Nevada owes a pair of $400,000 payouts for home games against Texas State (Sept. 3) and Incarnate Word (Sept. 10) before traveling to Iowa (Sept. 17), where it will get $1.5 million, which will tie the largest single-game payout in school history. Nevada also got $1.5 million to play at Texas A&M in 2015. The Wolf Pack's net 2020 payouts is $900,000, one of the highest figures in school history.
Nostalgia scored Nevada a huge payday for the 2023 season. USC's first game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was Oct. 6, 1923 against Pomona, which doesn't play major college football anymore. The Trojans' second game in the stadium was against Nevada on Oct. 13, a 33-0 Trojans win before 20,000 fans. USC wanted to celebrate its 100th anniversary at the Coliseum by hosting the first team it played there. With Pomona not an option, Nevada got the call and for a school-record $1.6 million payout Sept. 2, 2023. The Wolf Pack also hosts Idaho (Sept. 9) and owes the Vandals $400,000 and will get $400,000 to play at Texas State (Sept. 16). With one more non-league game left to schedule, Nevada is plus-$1.6 million in 2023. Because of that surplus, there should be lots of good options for a final home game (hopefully it's not another New Mexico State-quality opponent).
The remainder of Nevada's scheduled games are one-day road payouts, including a $1.2 million contest to play at Minnesota (Sept. 14) in 2024.
Nevada will get $1.45 million to play at Penn State (Aug. 30) to open the 2025 season. This game was originally scheduled to be played in 2020 but was relocated after the Wolf Pack landed a game at Arkansas for $1.5 million. That game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is not expected to be played in the future.
Nevada played at UCLA in 2013 and was going to get a home game against the Bruins in 2015 but that was moved off the schedule to lighten the non-league load in the mid-2010s. This 2026 game against UCLA (Sept. 19) is a one-game series with a $1.3 million payout.
Additionally, Nevada has had a game scheduled to play at Washington for more than a decade but still hasn't played that contest. It was most recently scheduled to be played in 2018 but was moved to an unknown future date in 2016. That game does not currently have an executed contract. It was originally scheduled to pay Nevada $500,000, which by today's standards is exceptionally low for a Group of 5 school playing at Power 5 school. So odds are that game is never played.
Here's a look at the 15 largest single-game payouts in Nevada history, which includes games scheduled to be play but not played yet.
1. at USC (2023), $1.6 million
2t. at Texas A&M (2015), $1.5 million
2t. at Iowa (2022), $1.5 million
4. at Penn State (2025), $1.45 million
5t. at Northwestern (2017), $1.3 million
5t. at UCLA (2026), $1.3 million
7. at Minnesota (2024), $1.2 million
8t. at Notre Dame (2016), $1 million
8t. at Kansas State (2021), $1 million
10. at Vanderbilt (2018), $900,000
11. at Nebraska (2007), $750,000
12t. at Oregon (2019), $650,000
12t. at Note Dame (2009), $650,000
14t. at Florida State (2013), $600,000
14t. at Oregon (2011), $600,000
Columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMurray.