Start Spreading The News: B1G Going Big Apple

By Kyle Rowland on June 3, 2013 at 9:30a
If the Big Ten can make it there, they can make it anywhere.

Bowl games are the gifts that keep on giving. Just when it feels like college football has been abandoned, the New Mexico Bowl pops up on your television. In hot pursuit are the New Orleans, Potato and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. Each game features 6-6 teams or mid-tier finishers from obscure conferences.

But people watch because even mediocre football is better than no football. We're so starved for football that we'll spend summer hours discussing freshly-published television schedules.

The latest twist to draw headlines from Lincoln, Neb., to College Park. Md., is the Big Ten’s new bowl lineup, which is set to include the Pinstripe Bowl played in Yankee Stadium. The Orange and Music City Bowls also have been added to the rotation, while the Holiday, Kraft Fight Hunger and a new game in Detroit are rumored to be new additions.

The speculation on new and old Big Ten’s bowl started two weeks ago at the conference’s meetings between athletic directors and commissioner Jim Delany. From the time the Pinstripe Bowl came into the discussion, there’s been an air of intrigue surrounding the game.

“New York City is the financial sports capital of the world,” Delany said. “It’s a global city like Chicago. We’ll have conversations with them.”

The fling between the league and the Yankees now appears to be a marriage. After weeks of speculation, the Big Ten is set to announce a six-year agreement with the Pinstripe bowl to send a team to the Bronx every season to play a team from the ACC.

Always on the quest for expanding its brand and finding a foothold in strong media markets, the Big Ten added Rutgers last fall to lay claim to the nearly 20-million person New York metro area. Washington, D.C., less than 10 miles from the University of Maryland, is home to six million people. Securing bowl tie-ins with games played in California falls in with this philosophy.

The three-year-old Pinstripe Bowl has never drawn more than 40,000 people in a configuration that seats 54,000. When the game was created, the thinking was a game in Yankee Stadium would serve as a unique venue and generate a large attendance. But in an era where bowl games are steadily losing attendees, the Pinstripe Bowl’s logic has proven to be flawed.

Here comes the Big Ten and ACC, though, with enthusiastic fan bases that should be able to produce the sale of 54,000 tickets. Due to New York’s size and location, most schools in the Big Ten and ACC have large alumni bases in the area.

“I think New York City around Christmastime is one of the most beautiful places in the world, or around the holidays," said Penn State athletics director Dave Joyner. “I think people will find it's a really great place to play.”

Ohio State fans aren’t likely to enjoy the new locales, at least not often, since they’ll be for the fifth through seventh selections. Still, the change in scenery, and in particular adding major cities, gives the Big Ten bowls variety and a spark.

“We want to spread our brand nationally.”

California is an appealing destination to most people, but give a Midwesterner the opportunity to travel west in December and chances are they’ll take it. Florida is all well and dandy, but the Orlando-Tampa-Jacksonville link has run its course. Two games in Texas is also too many.

“The numbers don’t lie. There’s fan fatigue if you’re going to the same area year after year, there just is,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon. “For many of our student-athletes, they would probably tell you the same thing. One of the points I support is we’re going to try to move programs around and give you a chance to see the bowls.”

Even though New York’s average high is only 43 degrees in December, the allure of Manhattan and all it has to offer would be too much for Big Ten fan bases to avoid. Despite the cool temperatures, the holiday season is one of the City’s peak visiting times due to all the luster that surrounds Christmastime and New Years.

It’s easy to come down with a case of bowl fatigue. In the past, Ohio State has had runs where it played in Orlando and Phoenix with regularity. They are preferable destinations during the winter months, but three or four trips is overkill.

San Diego and San Francisco – the sites for the California games – and New York present worthwhile trips any time of year. All three cities have excellent food options, famous tourist attractions and good hotels that can be had for affordable prices.

They can also put an added emphasis on recruiting. Bowl games in almost any city are going to be well received by 20-year-old kids. Changing the lineup can be a benefit, though, if they’ve grown up seeing Big Ten teams play in the same bowls over and over. And when you rattle off cities that are sought after international destinations, the glamor for prospective players should be heightened.

The other effect is attracting kids from the cities where the games are played, especially California, which is one of the top producers of Division I talent.

“We want to be national,” said Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez. “We want to play at least two in Florida, we want to play in the desert, in Texas, in California, also New York and some place on the East Coast is an option. We want to spread our brand nationally.” 


Comments Show All Comments

causeicouldntgo43's picture

I don't think the Buckeyes will be seeing the insides of Yankee stadium for this bowl anytime soon since it's for the 5th thru 7th choice (at least within the next few decades), but have a blast in Midtown, Boilermaker faithful.......

Hoody Wayes's picture

Hint: Bowl game in Yankee Stadium foreshadows future B1G expansion.
I suspect expansion may continue - in an unorthodox way - with the B1G inviting a school in NYC-proper to join...or, NYU. NYU vs. NU - New York vs. Chicago = Instant Protected Cross-Over Game. College football's pot o'gold mandates Big Apple bigshots placing this bet. This will get the B1G closer to B16. Expect Ohio State and Michigan to play Manhattan - regularly, in the coming years.  

rdubs's picture

NYU would need a football team first...

Earle's picture

That never stopped Indiana.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Oyster's picture

You are on a roll today!

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

Earle's picture

I teed that up for a "neither did Ohio State's defense last year" retort, but nobody bit.
Do I have to do everything myself?

Snarkies gonna snark. 

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Nice thought, Earle, but the guy that posted your recommended "retort" woulda been at negative bazillion before he could escape!  But, uh, yeah...I see your point.

I like cookies.

Earle's picture

Maybe, but I'd like to think our commentariat wouldn't punish a good rim-shot comment.  And it's not as if everyone was exactly forgiving of that performance at the time. 
And at least we can laugh about it now, although I'm not sure some of the coaching staff doesn't still wake up in a cold sweat some nights screaming "Tackle somebody!!".

Snarkies gonna snark. 

Hoody Wayes's picture

Of course.
Ohio State vs. NYU in Yankee Stadium...FOX cameras scanning NYU's constellation of famous grads in attendance...with the Buckeyes leading 56-0 "midway in the 2nd quarter", FOX interviews Marisa Tomei (NYU-1983), asking her what advice she would give the NYU coaching staff...this is a show made for Manhattan.  

RBuck's picture

“The numbers don’t lie. There’s fan fatigue if you’re going to the same area year after year, there just is,” said Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

I wouldn't mind going to the Rose Bowl every year.

Long live the southend.

Michael Citro's picture

Pretty clever of Delany to get the B1G a home bowl game. Scarlet Knight fans need not shell out for hotels.

Hovenaut's picture

Good for the conference, just don't expect to see our guys there.

NYC Buckeye's picture

This is more of making up for a mistake on not jumping on this from the start 3 years ago...  
When they first announced this bowl game 3 years ago, it seemed logical to all that live here that some combo of Big East/ACC and B1G should play in it... somehow the Big XII managed to end up in it, and believe me nobody here cares about K State or Texas Tech and they don't have enough fans in general to travel and fill seats... (although if I remember correct this game has been good every year)...
As everyone mentions above this will rarely apply to us, but a Rutgers/Maryland or slumping Penn St (down the road) vs. Syracuse/Virginia/UNC will easily sell 50k seats...
This will be a good bowl game moving forward...

CC's picture

I've been to the game (Syracuse vs. K State) a couple years ago.
Advice for people going:
1) Don't by good tickets, you may not be able to see over the snow bank
2) Dress warm
3) Never trust Sushi in a baseball stadium in late December.

The game was good with the Cuse winning late if I recall, otherwise it sucked.
I probably wouldn't go to see anyone other than the Bucks.  That said I may buy season tickets to UMD just to see Big 10 football.

LadyBuck's picture

While numbers one and two are reasonable, what happened that you got sushi at a football stadium, and how does that not seem a bit sketchy?

45has2's picture

Don't count on the ACC bringing many fans. Arguably their best team, FSU, can't even sell out their season tickets. I doubt Dukies will be helping to fill Yankee Stadium.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes