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Buffalo Bulls vs Kent State Golden Flashes Blackout Game: Attendance Predictions

Sussing out the attendance for UB's big (and late-night) matchup against the Golden Flashes

UB Athletics

Maybe you haven't heard: Tomorrow's Men's Basketball game against Kent State is kind of a big deal.

Just on the court, Kent is the lone MAC team without any key slip-ups and is leading the conference at 6-1. It's unclear whether Buffalo is stepping out of a languid few weeks or is just too good to lose three in a row, but the Bulls are 4-3 in MAC play, needing wins over teams above them in the standings to claw back into the conversation for a bye in the MAC Tournament.

Off the court, this one is a doozy. The new Mystery MAC ESPN Deal has done a lot of things, but mostly it's kept us and everyone else in the dark. But ESPN gets the option to flex a game, and they leveraged this option a few weeks ago. So now instead of a Saturday afternoon game on ESPN3, we get a Friday 10 PM game on ESPNU.

Given that it's nationally televised, it's a huge MAC matchup (for UB anyway), and that True Blue and the student body are FINALLY back on campus, what are your predictions for attendance?

Some data for you to consider:

  • Average home attendance: 3,010
  • Average home attendance with students on campus (two games): 3,628
  • WMU attendance last Tuesday: 3,931
Factors boosting attendance:
  • Possible higher-than-normal student attendance, because getting on TV is fun
  • Weekend game probably a better draw than midweek options
  • Importance of game, and dare I say it, recognizability of Kent State as a basketball program?
  • Student giveaways: first 1,000 students get a True Blue shirt, Fall 2015 tuition raffle for season attendance
Factors working against attendance (It's really just the 10 PM thing):
  • How many students that might have come for a 7:00 game before evening plans now prioritize other things over basketball?
  • For how many adult fans is walking out of Alumni near midnight just not feasible
  • Families: The original Saturday afternoon time was UB's biggest group sales day of the year, and most have now rescheduled or cancelled

For me, I'm going with 4,213. I do think the students will come out and be loud, though that guess could take a big hit if many season ticket holders are unwilling to stay on campus til midnight.

I've got a poll here, but drop a line in the comments, too, with maybe a more precise prediction. Maybe we'll even talk to  Dave about making it a bonus BRUWPEG of some sort come 2015 football season. No promises, though, because he doesn't like when I mess with BRUWPEG.