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Does the ACC Need to Rethink Its Football Championship?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:54 AM, under ,

Athens, GA (Dec 10, 2008) - The ACC has a problem with its football championship. Fans either do not care enough about it or it is just too far or hard to get to. Last week's game had a reported attendance of 27,360. 27,360 in Raymond James Stadium, a stadium with a base capacity of 66,000 (it can be extended to 75,000 for special events).

Glass Half Empty: A largely empty Raymond James Stadium is not the image a major conference like the ACC wants shown on TV screens across the country.
Photo courtesy of lancearoundorlando on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons licensing.

The ACC had chosen Tampa in hopes of rejuvenating the championship game, but it failed miserably. For Boston College fans, it was the equivalent of Georgia fans having to travel to Denver for the SEC Championship game. For VA Tech fans, they only had about a weeks notice to sell tickets and for fans to make travel arrangements. For fans of both schools, this may have made any hopes of taking the trip cost prohibitive in a landscape of an economy in decline and travel costs rising.

The location would have made perfect sense if Florida State and Miami were playing for the championship. This may have even been the unstated goal when the ACC expanded in 2005. With these teams in a funk, and by extending its reach so far into the northeast with Boston College, the conference diluted itself geographically. By playing the championship game in a city which for many fans up requires a connecting flight, they shoot themselves in the foot.

Atlanta would be a better location for the game, but the SEC has the Georgia Dome locked in for the next couple of years or so. Unless the ACC would change the date of their game, this is not likely to occur soon.

So why not just do with the game entirely? The ostensible purpose of the game is to crown a conference champion. The real purpose, like it or not, is to make more money for the conference. No one likes scheduling a game that is a money-losing proposition, but that may be what is happening with the ACC.

Like the Big East, it is really questionable that they deserve a guaranteed seat at the BCS table. Honestly, how many people are really going to be interested in watching the Orange Bowl game between VA Tech and Cincinnati? If, as reported on this site earlier, the Orange Bowl committee did not want to get stuck with Cincinnati, why would fans even care?

Currently have 1 comments:

  1. Rob Child says:

    Thank you for pointing this out and I couldn't agree more regarding scheduling this game in Tampa. This truly shows a clueless disconnect between the officials and who they expect will attend the game.

    I am confident that they would have a much fuller stadium and a successful championship game if they had scheduled the game in say Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium where the Ravens play. It would have been the "ideal college road trip" for fans from either school not a flight.

    One the main reasons the Army-Navy is played in Philadelphia is because the location is equidistant from both Academies - Annapolis and West Point and the stadium is filled.

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