Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Eagles to Éire?
For the past 25 years, I've heard about BC Football's return to Ireland. With teams from Penn State to Alabama and of course Notre Dame, it was the scheduling white whale. Now it looks like it is finally happening as multiple reports leaked out that BC will host Georgia Tech in Croke Park in 2016. In response to the reporting, BC called the news premature. Even though the trip hasn't happened for good reasons, I think 2016 is as good a time as any to play the game.
BC has plenty of ties to Ireland. We may not have "Irish" in our name, but have significant part of our history tied to educating Irish Americans and preserving Irish history and culture. It is something for which we should be proud. Playing a football game in Ireland isn't going to change that. It is not going to make us more Irish or grow our market either here or there. If playing games in Ireland was going to be a real moneymaker or change the perception of American Football or American universities in Ireland or Europe, it would be done more often. As constructed now, these games are just a nice gimmick to help BC differentiate itself in the crowded college football world. We will send a nice crowd, but it won't be huge. The costs will still be too prohibitive for the majority of our fans. Maybe ESPN might kick in a few extra dollars or waive one of our Friday requirements as a result of having an early morning game, but not enough to make a huge difference.
Some fans are griping about giving up a home game. I am not as concerned especially if it is the season kickoff around Labor Day Weekend. That schedule slot always causes attendance issues at Alumni, so moving it to a special event over seas once is not a terrible idea.
Ireland may appeal to our older demographic, but it won't move the needle with recruits. The players on the 2016 team will likely enjoy the unique, free trip to Ireland.
Though unlikely to make the trip myself (I'm realistic about the demands of blogging vs parenting at this point), this would be a good thing for BC and a fun trip for the fans who make the journey. I am sure the report will get confirmed early in 2015, so that BC can start planning and selling tickets. And if the report it false, fans can just go back to speculating on our next return to Ireland.