The American footprint covers 31.45% of the US population, just higher than the ACC which covers 30.35%. The American is in the #2 (Texas), #4 (Florida), #6 (Pennsylvania), and #7 (Ohio) states in the nation. With the addition of Navy, The American will be in the States that represent 33.32% of the US population.
New York is the third biggest state in the country. With Buffalo, the American would have a team in States that represent 39.54% of the US Population and when you look at the map, the lack of presence in New York is dramatic.
However the crown jewel of media markets is the New York City market.
Syracuse planned to play 10 games between 2012 and 2016 at MetLife Stadium, in their push to be "New York's College Team." However, they have cut that deal short, playing their last game in 2016. Syracuse has seemingly abandoned their commitment to be New York's team, in order to focus on trying to dupe New York to pay for better facilities in Syracuse.
This opens the door for Buffalo and the NYBI. Syracuse reportedly earned $5 million dollars for a game at MetLife Stadium.
The Thanksgiving weekend game seems like an obvious choice for an annual game to be played against UConn or Temple. Buffalo could then schedule three home out of conference games, and one road game in order to maintain six games at UB Stadium.
If UB can't fill MetLife stadium, could they fill Yankee Stadium?
I think so. Lehigh and Lafayette played their 150th rivalry game this year at Yankee Stadium. Lafayette was 4-6 with an average home attendance of 6,054, Lehigh 3-7 with an average attendance of 6,249. The two teams sold the 27.000 lower bowl out in a week. Final attendance, 48,256. Syracuse only brought 39,507 to their 2012 MetLife game against the University of Southern California.
How did two schools 90 minutes out of the city do it? They emphasized their alumni who live in the New York area. Lehigh do it? Buffalo has the alumni in New York to support a game, and it is important both for UB's American (and ACC and B1G) aspirations, but also for the product on the field in Buffalo. Giving New York alumni a chance to attend a game, will hopefully lead to more attention every year, which will lead to more interest in going back to Buffalo to attend a game on-campus.
What is a better way to end the season: A cover band and a holiday emptied campus in a meaningless game against UMass? Or a major artist, (Jay-Z?) with a times square rally before a game in the Bronx against a heated rival like Temple, with many UB fans making the trip or back home for the holiday? It would be great for Buffalo, but it would also be great for the American, a conference that needs New York to get back on the grand stage it once occupied.
At the end of the day, the Bulls have established their intention to become the State Football school of New York. If Lehigh and Lafayette can conquer New York, Buffalo certainly can as well. The American needs a presence in New York and UB is the most promising choice.