Based on a December 26, 2014 article in USA Today entitled “Bowl Game Attendance on Decline But TV Interest Grows,” author Brent Schrotenboer states, “Even though ticket demand is relatively low for lesser bowls, an incredible number of viewers keep watching, even when oahu is the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., a game title that drew just 20,256 fans the other day but attracted an average television audience of 1,114,000, based on ESPN.”
Schrotenboer continues to state, “Only one bowl game a year ago drew fewer than 1.2 million viewers typically, based on Nielsen. That’s better than the 1.1 million who watched an opening day baseball game a year ago involving the New York Yankees and Boston Red superbowl. Nationally broadcast regular season baseball games in 2012 and 2013 averaged about 680,000 viewers.”
Could you imagine then the following scenario for the college football bowl season:
ESPN builds a unique television studio strictly for the purpose of hosting college bowl games. The television network already owns and operates 11 bowl games. In this way, it has no middleman to cope with for these additional events, eliminating needing to negotiate with another facility to host the game. No costs for having to operate a vehicle production trailers or fly technical crews halfway throughout the country.
Because this facility would be built as a television studio and not as an outdoor multipurpose arena, ESPN will make attending the bowl game a real multimedia experience for the fan, with special effects like lasers. lights and smoke. The network could ensure the bowl experience for the live attendee as well as the tv screen viewer to be unlike any other.
But here’s the catch: the ESPN studio might have merely a limited amount of seats, say 5,000 or less, which may minimize construction costs. The studio would not have to be much larger than the typical college football program’s practice facility. Just big enough showing to the million plus viewers there are actually some fans in the stands. Thus, there wouldn’t be considered a single bad seat in the house. You’d be assured an up-close and personal bowl experience. And due to the intimate atmosphere, the sounds from the fans would reverberate throughout the facility.
Due to the limited method of getting seats, this may force ticket demand (and prices) up. You can forget 60,000- or 80,000-seat facilities that are less than a quarter full. It would be a 180-degree change from the existing experience, where many schools need certainly to rely on daily deal sites to help unload their share of allocated tickets.
Thus, the universities would benefit because they wouldn’t be forced to buy the thousands of tickets they cannot sell (even on Groupon).
ESPN could make use of this facility multiple times through the expanse of the two- to three-week bowl period.
For instance, in 2010 five additional college football teams qualified for a dish that they certainly were not invited to. That’s two additional games that the schools and network aren’t generating an incredible number of dollars from, forcing television viewers to instead watch sitcom reruns when they’d much rather be enjoying a live sporting event. And advertisers would rather be buying time on a television program that a lot of viewers will watch live and can’t fast-forward through their commercials.