SBD/Issue 72/Collegiate Sports

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  • Meineke Car Care Bowl Draws Smallest Crowd In Game's History

    Pitt-UNC Meineke Car Care Bowl Matchup
    Draws 50,389 At Bank Of America Stadium
    The Univ. of Pittsburgh’s 19-17 win over the Univ. of North Carolina (UNC) in Saturday’s Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium drew 50,389 fans, the smallest crowd in the game’s eight-year history, according to Ron Green Jr. of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. It was UNC’s second straight appearance in the game, and that “played a part” in the attendance drop. Also, the game was the day after Christmas, and Pittsburgh “wasn’t expected to bring more than a few thousand fans.” The upper-deck end zone sections at both ends of the stadium “were empty.” Meineke Car Care Bowl Exec Dir Will Webb said, “It’s about what we were expecting. I’m sure the ratings on this game are going to be what we were really wanting and that’s why we went with the Saturday afternoon game. I’ve got to do a balance between ratings and crowd and this worked out very, very well.” Still, Green Jr. noted Boston College-Navy sold more tickets for the bowl game three years ago, and Wake Forest-Connecticut draw a larger crowd in ’07 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/27). Webb said that ticket sales last week were in the mid-40,000 range, as just 4,000-6,000 Pittsburgh fans were “expected to buy tickets” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/26). In Charlotte, Ken Tysiac noted UNC did not sellout Saturday's game despite playing in the “largest city in their home state.” Tysiac: “In terms of play on the field and fan support, the Tar Heels are not an elite football program” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/26).

    EMPTY FEELING: In Columbus, Mark Znidar noted Marshall Univ. defeated Ohio Univ. 21-17 before an announced crowd of 30,311 at Saturday’s Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field. But the crowd looked to be “approximately half that” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 12/27). In Detroit, Terry Foster wrote the second deck was “completely empty and many of the concession stands were closed.” The scene “could not have come off well on television,” as there were “too many empty blue seats.” Foster: “You wonder if Little Caesars got any bang for the buck in this deal” (DETNEWS.com, 12/26). The Little Caesars sponsorship is a one-year deal that “will be reviewed by the company after this weekend” (DETROIT NEWS, 12/24).

    ATTENDANCE WRAP: In L.A., Gary Klein noted USC’s 24-13 victory over Boston College in Saturday’s Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park drew a “generously announced" crowd of 40,121, enough for a sellout at the converted ballpark. Klein wrote the game “had more of a high school feel than a bowl game” (L.A. TIMES, 12/27)….Clemson Univ.’s 21-13 victory over the Univ. of Kentucky in yesterday’s Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl at LP Field drew 57,280, which was 11,869 short of a sellout (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 12/28)….The Univ. of Utah’s 37-27 win over the Univ. of California in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl drew 32,665 fans at Qualcomm Stadium (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/24).

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