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My OOC Wish List Part 2 - The State Universities at New York City

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Trigger Warning: The following post contains pro-NYC, pro-game in NYC sentiments. If you are particularly anti NYC, or anti-NYBI you may want to proceed with caution. (Alternative anti-NYC programing can be found here)

If I was in charge of football out-of-conference scheduling, I would build four games using four principles.

The second priority for me would be to build our downstate presence.

Syracuse and Rutgers have abandoned games in New York City, but the City is still the second most important city in the State for the Bulls.

Metlife Stadium reportedly paid Syracuse and Rutgers seven figures* to play at the stadium. The Stadium sold and kept the proceeds of ticket sales.

This model failed (Metlife seemed willing to play more games, but both teams are reluctant to do so) for a few reasons:

1) Metlife wants a high profile opponent to maximize ticket sales and ticket price

As a result, Syracuse is 0-4 in Metlife games. Also, the game is usually one of the best home games on Syracuse's schedule. Instead of playing at home with the best chance to win and the loyal local fans in attendance, the big game was moved away from campus, and often Cuse fans were outnumbered by opposing fans at Metlife.

2) Tickets are expensive, not coordinated with loyalty offerings

Tickets to Syracuse's 2016 Metlife game against Notre Dame are $85-$185 dollars and not included in the season ticket price. Many of the loyal season ticket holders get no preferential seating, parking, or perks for this game.

3) Half-Full Stadium

Metlife has 82,500 seats, but Syracuse's three previous games averaged only 59,000 fans. This creates a less than idea football environment.

To avoid the above situations, UB should pursue the model used by Northern Illinois when they played Iowa at Soldier Field. NIU received the first $1,000,000 in profit from ticket sales, Iowa made the second $1,000,000 in profit from ticket sales, and any additional ticket profit was split evenly.

I propose the creation of the State University of New York Football Classic. UB will play every year at Metlife Stadium, alternating games against Albany and Stony Brook.

Assuming Metlife Stadium requires 1.5 million in ticket sales* the two teams would each need to sell an allotment of 25,000 tickets at $30 dollars to break even. Each team would then have 16,250 tickets each to sell with the chance to make up to 487,500 dollars for the program.

Instead of the high profile opponent, Metlife Stadium gets a guaranteed payout. Tickets are low priced, encouraging high attendance, and as each school sells their own allotment, they can coordinate the game with their season ticket and loyalty plans.

This game would be a priority for me for five reasons:

Turns a FCS game into an event: UB would lose a home game, but unlike the Syracuse situation, it will not be a premier home game. In addition, UB pays over a quarter million dollars to host an Albany or Stony Brook at UB Stadium. So there is a chance the Bulls would make more money in a NYC game than at home.

Give UB Fans a great experience: At USC, they have "the weekender" the annual trip to either Stanford or Berkeley. Thousands of USC fans travel six hours upstate to the San Francisco Bay Area, have a pep rally in Union Square on Friday and tailgate and attend the game on Saturday.

This could provide the same experience for UB fans from all over the state. An annual weekend where Buffalo travels down to the City, fills Manhattan with Blue and White, enjoy a pep rally in Times Square, see old friends who now live in the city and have a great tailgate and game. It gives UB the bowl game atmosphere in September, and will help condition our fanbase to travel with the team.

Expand your donor base: With a guaranteed annual NYC game, you can now aggressively sell to NYC based UB alumni. You could create a two-game package: for $100, UB Alumni could get the NYC game ($30 ticket), a UB game ($20 ticket) and a $50 donation to the Blue and White Club. If 10,000 fans who normally would not buy UB tickets or donate bought in because of the New York game, that would create: $500,000 in new donation money, $300,000 in revenue from the NYC game and $200,000 in revenue from UB Stadium ticket sales, an additional million dollars annually to the program.

Give New Yorkers a Taste of UB Gameday: The band, the walk to victory, the tailgate party series. Many New York City alumni haven't been back to UB to enjoy these events, so we'll bring it to them. Hopefully the fun and excitement encourages more alumni to take a few more trips back to UB to enjoy the experience at UB Stadium.

Put NYS on notice: Outside of Stony Brook's Senator, NYS prefers to disavow any knowledge of college sports at their State Universities. When the State decided they would spend 200 million on a new sports stadium for Syracuse University (a private school), while leaving their State University athletic departments underfunded, it signaled that the State will only support something if they believe their are votes behind it. An annual event sold out, with the State's voters in the State's biggest city, will put the State on notice and make it much more difficult for Albany to ignore football in New York.

Conrad Future Schedule:


2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Week 1 vs. Temple at Temple vs Temple at Temple vs Temple
Week 2 Albany
at Metlife Stadium
Stony Brook
at Metlife Stadium
Albany
at Metlife Stadium
Stony Brook
at Metlife Stadium
Albany
at Metlife Stadium
Week 3
Week 4