Where Are We? #5 Competition With The Bills.

Would the Bulls win more with the Bils in Toronto permanently?

I spoke about the track around the field and our recent track record on the field.
I analyzed our tradition and compared our stadium to our competitors
Next I'll look at the facilities and money spent on facilities

FIFTH ISSUE: How Does Proximity to an NFL Team Effect Wins?

To study the relationship between the Bills and the Bulls, in a broad sense...I used regression analysis to determine how the Bulls would perform without the Bills in town. I also wanted to look at the correlation between winning percentage and the proximity of NFL teams.

Looking at the Sample of 28 teams, two teams play in NFL stadia, making their distance from NFL teams 0. Boise was the furthest away from NFL, 506 miles away from the closest NFL team. Of teams in the sample that do not play in NFL stadiums, UB is the closest to a NFL team. UB Stadium is 19 miles from Ralph Wilson Stadium.

I looked at 7 different sample scenarios, the biggest discrepancies caused by USF and Temple, two teams with no distance from the NFL, but still relatively successful on the field. The next biggest discrepancy was Idaho, who despite being the 2nd furtherst from an NFL team, had an awful win/loss record.

The lowest correlation between wins and proximity of NFL teams was analyzing all the MAC Schools

1) All MAC Schools (including Marshall and Temple)

Correlation Coefficient =.415

All_mac_chart_medium

The Blue line charts the winning percentage and the proximity to an NFL team of the sample. The red line shows the expected winning percentage for each distance using the data.

Using this data we can estimate Buffalo's expected win percentage (UB had a 37.1% win percentage (23-39) in the last 5 years). The 3 options I looked at were:

The Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium:
19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 39% of their games (24-38)

The Bills at Toronto:
102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 46% of their games (29-33)

The Bills in Los Angeles, closest NFL team becomes the Cleveland Browns:

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 53% of their games (33-29)

The data is limited, no MAC team won more than 60% of their games in the last 5 years, and no team is further than 160 miles from a NFL team. The correlation is stronger when looking at every team in the sample.

2) All teams sample

Correlation Coefficient = .477

Mac_chart_2_medium

Looking at all teams, a few things stand out. First Temple and USF despite playing in the same building as NFL teams, both enjoyed high winning percentages, this possibly shows the power of recruiting and selling tickets to a state of the art building. As could be hypothesized, Boise has the best winning percentage and is the team that is the furthest away from any NFL team. However the correlation is damaged by their rivals at Idaho. Idaho is the 2nd furthest from an NFL team, but they have the worst winning percentage. The relationship between NFL team proximity and wins are predictably too complex to be explained by just the two variables.

19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 41% of their games (25-37)

102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 45% of their games (28-34)

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 51% of their games (32-30)

3) New Teams, excluding USF

4) All Teams, excluding USF and Temple

Correlation Coefficient = .583

The correlation was equal .583 between wins and proximity to a NFL team when looking at both The new teams but excluding the team in a NFL stadium, USF, and looking at every team but excluding both teams in NFL stadia, USF and Temple.

New Teams Excluding USF

19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 38% of their games (24-38)

102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 45% of their games (28-34)

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 53% of their games (33-29)

All Teams Excluding USF and Temple

19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 38% of their games (24-38)

102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 44% of their games (27-35)

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 50% of their games (31-31)

As mentioned in the previous sample, removing the teams in the NFL stadiums improves the correlation between distance and wins.

5) All MAC Schools (excluding Temple)

Correlation Coefficient =.628

628_chart_medium
Continuing to explore the sample without the teams in NFL stadiums, reexamining the MAC without Temple gives us a much better correlation. EMU and Akron are close to stadiums, but performed worse than Buffalo who is the closest MAC team to a NFL team in this sample. The rest performs as you'd expect until you hit Marshall, who's winning percentage has dropped since leaving the MAC. CMU and Ohio are the furthest MAC teams from the NFL 156 miles and 154 miles respectively. Those two teams have been two of the most consistent over the last 5 years.

19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 35% of their games (22-40)

102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 46% of their games (29-33)

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 59% of their games (37-25)

6) All Teams, Excluding NFL stadia and Idaho

Correlation Coefficient = .701

701_chart_medium

To find the best correlation, I removed the NFL stadiums and the team that really throws off the data, the Idaho Vandals. This creates the strongest correlation between NFL proximity and wins. This is the data the people who want the Bills to leave to help the Bulls would most likely look to.

19 miles away (Buffalo) - at 19 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 37% of their games (23-39)

102 miles away (Toronto) - at 102 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 45% of their games (28-34)

198 miles away (Cleveland) - at 198 miles the Bulls would be expected to win 53% of their games (33-29)

The win/loss expectation came down from this correlation. As this data is for a 5 year span, UB would expect to win only 1 more game a year as a result of the Bills moving to Toronto, and 2 more games a year with the Cleveland Browns as the closest NFL team.

Every scenario has the Bulls winning at least 50% of their games if the Bills moves far away. There are many other factors, and Temple and USF show us that competition with NFL teams is not a death blow to a college program. However Media Market plays a factor. Temple is in the #4 market, USF the #14. Buffalo sits in the #51 market so the argument can be made that the city is incapable of supporting both.

My opinion is once your fan base is exposed to NFL level play and amenities, they expect that from their football. This is key because Boise fans were never exposed to NFL play, therefore they could be happy to support a bad team in a bad stadium. Even if the Bills leave, our fans are programed for NFL play. If the Bills left, we'd need a generation to pass before the city is made up of people who don't know what it is like to have a NFL team.

In addition, there is likely a chance for Buffalo to get a new team later if they lose the Bills. As the Browns moved to Baltimore, Marshall, Toledo and Miami dominated the MAC. Kent and Akron really didn't improve until after the Browns came back.

Because of this, I believe the Bulls need to put a significant amount of investment to meet or exceed the experience of the Buffalo Bills, more then they are currently planning for in the UB 2020 initiative.

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