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By the way its teams play, the MAC is now a serious football conference. But in the way it's viewed by the rest of the country and (maybe more importantly) the way it pays its coaches and funds its programs, it is still decidedly second-rate. What will it take to make the MAC into the conference its teams demonstrate it could be? -- Chris Stvartak, Chicago

You mentioned a very important word: funding. If you were to look at a list of the most consistently successful programs in the country over the past 10 years and a list of the schools that have spent the most money on their programs, they'd be nearly identical. MAC schools have been investing more financially recently than ever before, and it's started to show dividends, but to take it to the next level they're going to need more revenue. And while TV and bowl money helps, for the most part you need fans buying tickets, which, despite all the MAC's on-field success, continues to be a problem. Of the bottom 10 teams in attendance in Division I-A this season, six were from the MAC, and only two league teams, Miami of Ohio and Toledo, averaged at least 80 percent of capacity.

Therefore, I'd say that until fan interest at these schools catches up to the quality of the product, there's going to continue to be a huge gap between conferences like the MAC and conferences like the Big Ten in terms of exposure and prestige, no matter how many MAC teams beat Big Ten teams on the field.

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DrTorch Wrote:Therefore, I'd say that until fan interest at these schools catches up to the quality of the product, there's going to continue to be a huge gap between conferences like the MAC and conferences like the Big Ten in terms of exposure and prestige, no matter how many MAC teams beat Big Ten teams on the field.
The MAC can't really catch up.

And here is why:

1.Second tier conference in the Midwest. If you are an causal fan wanting to spend a hundred bucks on a game, what team do you go to see in Ohio. Answer Ohio State. The Big 10 has the lionshare of the exposure which leads the common fan to believe the only true big-time college football experience is held at a Big 10 stadium. All the big TV dollars and premier bowls are predicated on first-tier regional conferences.

The best the MAC can do is maybe an ESPN game of the week, with the better MAC football programs that season playing on National TV 5 times a year. When a team is down like Buffalo or KentSt they'll lose the decent media coverage to the next flavor of the month MAC football team.

2.School size. MAC schools range from 15,000 to 25,000 in enrollment. The Big 10 minus Northwestern enrolls 35,000-50,000. Having 2 to 3 times more students allows for bigger crowds, more alumni, and more monetary contributions with the additional alumni.

3.School location. MAC towns are smaller and more difficult for the causal fan to get to than their Big 10 counterparts. Also with many MAC schools they have alumni bases that aren't concentrated in the immeadite region by which to draw upon. Ohio State is in the center of a state with a high number of alumni within a convenient drive.

4.Pro Sports. Having pro football nearby makes it even less likely the causal fan shows up at a MAC stadium. Tulsa, ECU, USM, and Marshall of CUSA don't have to fight the draw of pro sports. Except for the NBA, UCF and Memphis don't really have to either. Rice, SMU, Houston, and Tulane do compete with the pros and like MAC schools they struggle with attendance.

Between the Bills, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Colts, Lions, Bears, and Packers thats 8 NFL teams within 2 hours of MAC schools compared to just three or four near CUSA (Cowboys, Texans, Saints, maybe Buccaneers).

5.Weather. Its tough to motivate the causal fan to sit in a MAC stadium during rainy 45 degree October afternoons. It would help the MAC to have a mild dry fall climate like the Southwest, but reality is reality.
What exactly is good attendance for a rural mid-major school? Below I'm listing the attendance last year of the top 10 non-BCS schools located in central cities of less than 100,000. I'm also excluding programs that are obviously the first tier programs in their respective states (example Wyoming).

2003 fannies:

1.East Carolina-33,012
2.Colorado State-30,631
3.Army-30,794
4.Navy-29,936
5.Southern Miss-28,641
6.Marshall-27,837
7.Miami of Ohio-25,132
8.Northern Illinios-23,325
9.Troy State-21,091
10.Bowling Green-21,002

What does ECU, CSU, Army, Navy, USM, and Marshall all have in common? They all play in states which have BCS schools that have been historically weak. None of them are under the shadow of a program that draws over 50k. Definite advantage in perception when you can argue a USM is on a competitive tier with Ole Miss. Only school in the MAC seemingly with this advantage is NIU who has to comptete with a realtively week tradition of the Illini. 40 thousand is probably the limit for a mid-major with lame BCS in-state competition seeing how even ECU with its largre rual market of the Outer Banks can't draw better than 40k consistantly.

Miami and BG have to battle the OSU hype machine making developing a large fanbase of their own more difficult. I'd say an average of 30k a game for schools like this is probably fantastic given what they have to overcome. 20k is damn decent.
Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG. We have room to grow, but not as much as some may think.

Eliminate football at OSU and we'd have a chance to do better. The NW Ohio media (outside of the Blade) would have to actually cover BG to make up for all the lost "Buckeye" column inches.

Guest

BG will probably also need to have Toledo, NIU, Kirk and Lee visit yearly to even maintain this year's numbers.
Flipper Wrote:Eliminate football at OSU and we'd have a chance to do better.
I don't think you have to eliminate Buckeye football, I think that if that football program hit the skids for a couple of years that the rest of the attendance in the MAC (Ohio schools) would go up.
Kit-Cat Wrote:4.Pro Sports. Having pro football nearby makes it even less likely the causal fan shows up at a MAC stadium. Tulsa, ECU, USM, and Marshall of CUSA don't have to fight the draw of pro sports. Except for the NBA, UCF and Memphis don't really have to either. Rice, SMU, Houston, and Tulane do compete with the pros and like MAC schools they struggle with attendance.

Between the Bills, Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Colts, Lions, Bears, and Packers thats 8 NFL teams within 2 hours of MAC schools compared to just three or four near CUSA (Cowboys, Texans, Saints, maybe Buccaneers).

5.Weather. Its tough to motivate the causal fan to sit in a MAC stadium during rainy 45 degree October afternoons. It would help the MAC to have a mild dry fall climate like the Southwest, but reality is reality.
Your reasons #4 & 5 do carry some weight in the case of Buffalo. I can tell you that the Bills are front and center in this area 12 months out of the year. And nobody will be sitting out in 25 degrees and blustery winds in late October to watch a 1-9 football team. That being said....Buffalo is a city that supports a winner like no other. Heck, they draw 12,000 - 15,000 people to see a local boxer named "Baby Joe" Mesi and they've done it more than a few times already. The reason people show up to see Mesi is because he's a winner and makes the city proud. If UB football wins, the media will pump them up and people will get excited and support them as well as any team in the MAC.
Flipper Wrote:Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG. We have room to grow, but not as much as some may think.
I don't agree. I don't think there is a ceiling.
Schadenfreude Wrote:
Flipper Wrote:Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG.&nbsp; We have room to grow, but not as much as some may think.
I don't agree. I don't think there is a ceiling.
Take off your Elton John sized orange colored glasses my friend, its there.
I really don't believe there is a ceiling with attendence. What if some of these schools built larger stadiums and promised out 1/2 the gate to their BCS opponents? I'm not saying build 60K + stadiums, but mid 40's should be sufficient for now. It's a building process. Look at how Virginia Tech has grown in the last 10 years. No BCS team will visit a 30K seat stadium on a regular basis unless they are forced to by some legislation or something.

At NIU, the biggest draws are usually parents weekend and homecoming, which will sell 20K plus, unless we have a BCS school visiting or have a big game versus a conference rival (which lately have been sellouts). Where NIU seems to draw less is against D 1-AA schools, bad MAC teams, or in November when the weather gets nasty. Also, when we were a bad MAC team, we drew very poorly, but since we have been above .500 the last 4 years, I think we're beginning to build a consistent fan base.
Oddball Wrote:BG will probably also need to have Toledo, NIU, Kirk and Lee visit yearly to even maintain this year's numbers.
I disagree. We've averaged more than that in the past (1994) with nothing more than a good football team. Eliminating the 1AA teams and improving the conference as a whole will help a lot.
[quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="Flipper"] Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG.
No thats a brain trust solving the problems of the ohio directional conference 03-lol
SOUTHERN Mississippi, EAST Carolina, CENTRAL Florida, SOUTH Florida, WEST Virginia at Huntington...
[quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="Flipper"] Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG.
[quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="Flipper"] Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG.
[quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="TJRocket"] [quote="Schadenfreude"] [quote="Flipper"] Unless we become a much more sizeable University, I think 25-30k on average is the limit you'll see in BG.
TJRocket Wrote:Go back and read the quotes Shadenwrong, no one asked that as a question, but stated it as a fact according to them. You disagreed, but did not answer a question because there was no question being asked. :withstupid:
:rolleyes:
:withstupid: :rolleyes:
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