Why? I dont think Maryland, Duke, UNC or NCST are going to infuse a lot of energy for football at the Dome. Michigan, Wisconsin, OSU, PSU etc. would sell the Dome out. B10 bball isnt as bad as people think; MSU, OSU and UW are good while Indiana is well on its way back. While it would take a perfect storm and then some to ever win the football conference, bball championships would probably be easier than now. And we would go back to Indy status in LAX. Plus, I'd rather travel to Indianapolis or Chicago for the bball tournament than go to Duke/UNC's backyard for the ACC tourney.
We can't fill a 50,000 seat stadium and we'd have to complete with schools that fills 100,000 seat stadiums. Here's a post I did a year ago on ACC vs. Big 10
Listening to the radio about our poor ticket sales for the Pittsburgh game. We have only sold 35,000 some tickets so far for what may be our biggest game in years. If we win this one we might actually contend for the Big East title and a BCS bowl. Projections are for a crowd of perhaps 42,000 in a stadium that seats 49,250. That’s 85.3% capacity. Why can’t we sell out?
There are various theories about this but I wondered how bad it was compared to the teams we have to compete with regularly. Here are last season’s attendance figures and stadium capacities for the eight Big East schools in 2009:
Cincinnati 35,097 capacity 33,957 attendance .968 percentage 12-1-0 record
Connecticut 40,000 capacity 38,229 attendance .956 percentage 8-5-0 record
Louisville 55,000 capacity 32,450 attendance .590 percentage 4-8-0 record
Pittsburgh 65,050 capacity 53,446 attendance .821 percentage 10-3-0 record
Rutgers 52,454 capacity 49,113 attendance .936 percentage 9-4-0 record
South Florida 65,857 capacity 52,553 attendance .798 percentage 8-5-0 record
Syracuse 49,250 capacity 39,043 attendance .793 percentage 4-8-0 record
West Virginia 60,000 capacity 57,317 attendance .955 percentage 9-4-0 record
Total 422,708 capacity 356,108 attendance .842 percentage 44,804 average
We are 6th in stadium capacity, 5th in attendance, 7th in percentage and tied for 7th in record. We were 16,607 behind South Florida’s capacity, 18,274 behind West Virginia’s actual attendance and .175 behind Cincinnati’s percentage. The latter two are actually not too bad, considering our 10-37 record the previous four seasons. We had a new coach but losing 5 out of 6 from October 3 to November 14 didn’t help. Louisville did a lot worse but they were in the last year of an unsuccessful coaching tenure. South Florida has the disadvantage of great weather: people have other things they want to do. They and Pittsburgh are also competing against pro sports, although Cincinnati and, to an extent Rutgers and Connecticut are, too and they have higher attendance percentages than the Bulls and Panthers. I got the stadium capacities from Wikipedia and it said that both South Florida and West Virginia’s stadiums can be expanded beyond their current capacities to 75,000 and there are plans to do so.
This is a conference we can compete in. There’s nobody with a stadium capacity or fan base so much greater than ours that we can’t literally be “in the same ballpark” as them. As we win more, our numbers will be better. Frankly, if it stays together and retains it’s BCS standing, it’s the best place for us. But if it won’t, we need to look at other options- and hope they are looking for us.
The Big Ten
Illinois 62,872 capacity 59,545 attendance .947 percentage 3-9-0 record
Indiana 52,692 capacity 41,833 attendance .794 percentage 4-8-0 record
Iowa 70,585 capacity 70,214 attendance .995 percentage 11-2-0 record
Michigan 108,933 capacity 109,901 attendance .991 percentage 5-7-0 record
Michigan State 75,005 capacity 74,741 attendance .996 percentage 6-7-0 record
Minnesota 50,805 capacity 50,805 attendance 1.000 percentage 6-7-0 record
(Nebraska) 81,067 capacity 85,888 attendance 1.059 percentage 10-4-0 record
Northwestern 47,130 capacity 24,190 attendance .513 percentage 8-5-0 record
Ohio State 102,239 capacity 105,261 attendance 1.029 percentage 11-2-0 record
Penn State 107,282 capacity 107,008 attendance .997 percentage 11-2-0 record
Purdue 62,500 capacity 50,457 attendance .807 percentage 5-7-0 record
Wisconsin 80,321 capacity 80,109 attendance .997 percentage 10-3-0 record
Total 902,489 capacity 858,984 attendance .952 percentage 71,769 average
Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State were 1-2-3 in college football attendance last year, all over 100,000. We can get a crowd half that size in the Carrier Dome even if we wanted to. Our capacity is 59,883 less than Michigan’s and their actual attendance was 70,858 more than ours. Their percentage was .266 higher than ours.
Given that gate receipts and concessions are a primary source of revenue for a college football program, if we join these guys, we will need a significant upgrade in capacity and fan support, unless we want to reside near the bottom of this conference. We might have to replace the Carrier Dome with a larger facility. But how can we justify that if we aren’t filling it? And who is going to pay for it? Would 71,769 fans come to any football game in Syracuse?
Boston College 44,500 capacity 35,716 attendance .803 percentage 8-5-0 record
Clemson 80,301 capacity 75,793 attendance .944 percentage 9-5-0 record
Duke 33,941 capacity 26,314 attendance .775 percentage 5-7-0 record
Florida State 82,300 capacity 74,345 attendance .903 percentage 7-6-0 record
Georgia Tech 55,000 capacity 51,584 attendance .938 percentage 11-3-0 record
Maryland 54,000 capacity 44,452 attendance .823 percentage 2-10-0 record
Miami 76,500 capacity 47,551 attendance .622 percentage 9-4-0 record
North Carolina 60,000 capacity 56,607 attendance .943 percentage 8-5-0 record
N. Carolina St 57,583 capacity 56,422 attendance .980 percentage 9-5-0 record
Virginia 61,500 capacity 47,986 attendance .780 percentage 3-9-0 record
Virginia Tech 66,233 capacity 66,233 attendance 1.000 percentage 10-3-0 record
Wake Forest 31,500 capacity 31,791 attendance 1.009 percentage 5-7-0 record
Total 703,358 capacity 614,794 attendance .874 percentage 51,233 average
This conference is much more like the Big East and one we could surely compete in. We wouldn’t necessarily have to replace the Dome. Yet it would be more stable than the Big East is and more likely to survive if we evolve into an era of four 16 team conferences. Florida State’s capacity is 33,250 more than ours. Clemson’s attendance was 36,750 more than ours. The school with the smallest stadium in any of these three conferences, Wake Forest, had the highest percentage in the ACC, .216 better than ours.
The question is: do either the Big 10 or ACC really want to expand beyond 12 teams? Which is more likely to and which would be first?