Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The chicken or the egg

BC has a bad travel reputation. Here is our post-Flutie track record:

1986 Hall Of Fame Bowl (Tampa)Georgia41,000The inaugural game. The lowest attendance for the bowl. However, it was a different era. Look at bowl attendance for a lot of these mid-80s games. Very few sellouts.
1993 Hall of Fame Bowl (Tampa)Tennessee52,056This one hurts. But it was more than a decade ago.
1994 Carquest Bowl (Miami)Virginia38,516Coming off huge deflating loss. UVA is not known for travel either.
1994 Aloha Bowl (Honolulu)Kansas StateunavailableChristmas day in Hawaii. What do you expect? Pure TV bowl.
1999 Insight Bowl (Tucson)Colorado35,762This bowl drew flies in Tucson…before and after BC.
2000 Aloha Bowl (Honolulu)Arizona State24,397Another Christmas day. BTW, Boston to Honolulu is the longest road trip in DIA.
2001 Music City Bowl (Nashville)Georgia46,125I was there. My guess that BC sold 5,000 tickets. Non-holiday afternoon game.
2002 Motor City Bowl (Detroit)Toledo45,761Set new Motor City Bowl attendance record at the time. Still third highest at the game.
2003 Diamond Walnut Bowl (San Francisco)Colorado State25,621Capacity at this bowl is less than 35,000. Supposedly we had a good showing.
2004 Continental Tire Bowl (Charlotte)North Carolina73,238Sellout.

As you’ll note, this isn’t Pasadena, Miami and New Orleans. Aside from the then Hall of Fame Bowl, this is a collection of odd fits and undesirable bowls. Most were held mid-week and none were within driving distance of Boston. So of course BC didn’t sell a lot of tickets. BC is now in a vicious circle. Because we didn’t draw well for these bowls, we are unwanted in the big bowls. But we will never prove our drawing power until we have a game that will excite our fan base enough to travel. I’ll admit that the lackluster showings at the Hall of Fame Bowls hurt. But that was a different time and place. Fewer bowls sold out then. Now I think BC could at least bring 15,000 to Tampa. Perhaps 20,000. But these other bowls? Give me a break. They’ve rolled through various names, locations and conference affiliations. BC wasn’t the problem. Our attendance was inline with most of the other years of these bowl.

BC has many benefits that get overlooked. We are great on TV when facing a BCS-level team. Just ask Jefferson-Pilot or ESPN. We also must be somewhat desirable to opposing fans, since we were part of some of the largest crowds ever in Detroit and Charlotte. UNC can’t sell 70,000 tickets in Chapel Hill. There must be something appealing about BC to bring out the whole state when the game is in Charlotte.

BC is behind the 8 Ball. We have a relatively small alumni base and are located in a pro sports town far away from many bowls. But our bad travel rep is not entirely our fault. Would Oregon sell out Gillette Stadium December 27 at 4:30 PM EST against Pitt? No. These contrived bowls measure nothing about a school. They are complete filler for ESPN, a boondoggle for ADs, and busy work for the local Visitors and Convention Bureau.

If BC is invited to the Peach and it is not a sellout, than shame on us. We’ll deserve a permanent spot in Boise. But right now, we’ve earned a shot at a real bowl.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I can just as easily sub in UVA's stats here. Yeah, we played UGA, but I guarantee you UVA had a good presence in the sellout for the Peach Bowl. We were in the first Tire Bowl against WVU and it sold all 73,000 tickets. We put up good numbers next year too. The problem is, our alumni base is smaller than people think, more widely spread than people think, and it's tough to show your traveling skills if you're in Boise or O'ahu midweek after disappointing seasons. I really doubt UGA came out in droves for the Oahu Bowl either. Blame the ACC, the same conference that sent Wake Forest to the Seattle Bowl.