A Bronx Tale
November 4, 2017. Rutgers vs. Maryland at Yankee Stadium. Be there!
Yeah, well, maybe.
Rutgers has seven home games scheduled in 2017, including four Big Ten contests. But one, as we have documented here at On the Banks, will likely be at Yankee Stadium. Why? Well, while there has not been an official release from Rutgers or the Big Ten, it seems pretty obvious to most of us that this is all about marketing/branding, as our own Dave White wrote about last week. And in a comment, he also said:
Not talking about Rutgers' brand, so much as the Big Ten's as they move into this area.
Brand is important, and I don't love it either, but this is gonna happen and we're gonna have to talk about it.
And Check out Dave White's Novels where ever e-books are sold.
You are right, David. We need to talk about our, uhh, issue.
Based on our poll and the one at nj.com, the vast majority of fans don't like the idea, and there were any number of people who were upset enough - at least for right now - to say they would not go or, in an unbelieveable fit of rage, would not buy season tickets next year.
People, people! Bre-e-e-athe.
Look, for starters, if you don't buy season tickets you lose priority points for longevity/loyalty. That is short-sighted and a true demonstration of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Don't do that.
Don't want to go to the game? Hey, like any game, that's your call. If we're not doing well, or Maryland isn't doing well, or the weather is supposed to be crappy, you stay home or sell the tix. But if we're doing well and the game might have some meaning, ma-a-a-aybe you say the big ballpark in the Bronx isn't that bad a venue after all.
Other schools have played at baseball stadiums. Most recently, Notre Dame played at Boston's Fenway Park last fall, acting as the home team to Boston College. It was part of the Irish's Shamrock Series, a "home away from home" series started back in 2009. As for BC at Fenway, the Red Sox like the idea and have approached the Eagles' administration about it. But the Eagles have already rejected hosting UConn this fall at Fenway, citing the number of home games they have. From BC Interruption:
In the [Boston] Globe story, [BC Athletic Director] Brad Bates didn't reject the idea of ever playing at Fenway again, but noted that next year was a non-starter because BC only had 6 home games scheduled at Alumni Stadium. Due to the Aer Lingus Classic in Ireland, BC is already playing one of their scheduled home games off-site.
Only six true home games if they played away from campus; I'm hearing ya. They are, though, playing a game versus UMass at Gillette Stadium which is technically a road game.
Closer to home - or at least closer to the Big Ten - Northwestern hosted Illinois at Wrigley Field back in 2010. At least the Bears used to play there. And Northwestern reached an agreement with the Cubs to host multiple sports at Wrigley, including up to five football games. Other sports, including baseball and lacrosse, have already been played in the "friendly confines" on the North Side of town. A few weeks ago, a Chicago Tribune article noted that Wildcat AD Jim Phillips hoped a football game could be held as early as 2017. Hmm, 2017, huh?
When life gives you lemons....
Okay, here's where we offer Pat Hobbs and his staff some ideas on how to sweeten the deal for Rutgers fans. If we're going to the Stadium, let's ease the pain, reduce the angst, and make trekking to the Bronx more worthwhile.
How many won't go to the game simply because it's not in Piscataway? Especially if the season isn't going well. That's up for debate, but why tick off your fans when you're looking to build the base...and you're asking for lots of money at the same time? Any game at Yankee Stadium would be part of the season package; it just makes no business sense to separate out that game. So how to make it more palatable to a fan base that appears, at least right now, to be very unhappy with the idea. Try these ideas.
Buy two, get one additional: Pack the Stadium with Rutgers people by offering them an additional ticket. For every two tickets you buy - most people tend to buy at least two - you get one more for the Maryland game. You guarantee a bigger Rutgers crowd and increase the "home" advantage.
Take care of the students: All free, as many as want to attend. And bus them all - no additional expense for any students...nothing, nada, zilch. Make this as convenient as possible.
Include parking for season ticket holders: Everyone hates the parking decks at Yankee Stadium; it takes away from tailgating. I went to the first Pinstripe Bowl game; not perfect but it's not the worst thing that ever happened to me. If you have a parking pass for home games, you get a voucher to use in NYC. Figure it out with the Yankees, but let people park for free at the game.
Reduce some pricing at home: Going to the Bronx is - for most - going to entail additional expense. Bridge tolls, traveling the Turnpike. It adds up. So, reduce some costs at home. Does parking have to be quite so much at HPSS? Whatever the ticket package is for season ticket holders. reduce it. It could just be for this year, but while we're trying to grow up in the Big Ten, appease us. Toss us a bone.
Let's make lemonade, Pat.