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Navy AD Chet Gladchuk on Wednesday said that his school "still considers the Big East Conference a good fit despite the recent defection of Boise State and likely loss of San Diego State as well," according to Bill Wagner of the Annapolis CAPITAL. Gladchuk said, "All the schools that remain field solid programs. These are the types of institutions the Naval Academy would compete against regardless of whether we were in a league together or not.” Navy last January announced that it would join the Big East as a "football-only member" beginning in '15. Gladchuk said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco is "very capable" and is "doing everything in his power to calm the waters and bring some stability to the Big East." He added, "The western component has not materialized and probably will not, but I never thought that was imperative to the league’s survival" (CAPITALGAZETTE.com, 1/3). Meanwhile, Memphis AD Tom Bowen on Thursday said that the school remains "committed to the Big East while it weathers defections" since UM announced in February it would join the league in '13. Bowen said that he is "confident that the Big East's leadership, from commissioner Mike Aresco to associate commissioners Nick Carparelli and Tom Odjakjian, will lead the conference through this trying stretch" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 1/4).
IDAHO SPUD: In Boise, Brian Murphy notes when Boise State "made its decision to jump to the Big East in football, the Broncos were counting on the league to provide additional exposure and revenue." But in the end, the "quickly crumbling Big East was unable to deliver either -- or even a television proposal for the Broncos to consider." BSU President Bob Kustra said, "That was it right there. If you don’t have anything to compare something to, and when you see that there is instability and no media contract on the table, that’s when you realize that you’re probably better closer to home." BSU owes up to $5M to the Big East and $1.5M to the Big West "despite not playing a single game in either conference." The Mountain West will use BSU’s '12-13 year-end distribution -- expected to be about $2.5M -- and "up to $500,000 of league money to help pay those exit fees." Kustra: "We owe and we will honor our commitment to pay" (IDAHO STATESMAN, 1/4).
YOU STAY CLASSY, SAN DIEGO: ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson wrote for SDSU there is "no question it makes more geographic sense to stay in the Mountain West." But SDSU "will not get the same television concessions that Boise State got," and the school "does not have nearly as much leverage, and therefore may not stand to gain as much financially" as BSU should they stay put. SDSU's Big East contract "allows them to withdraw from the league without paying an exit fee if there is no other Big East member located west of the Rocky Mountains," and they remain the "only ones" with BSU's departure. Sources said that SDSU "does not have the votes right now to get back into the Mountain West." A source indicated that the league "prefers BYU, which left the Mountain West to go independent in 2011" (ESPN.com, 1/3).
There are "thousands of tickets available" for the Notre Dame-Alabama BCS National Championship game on the "resale market, and prices are expected to drop approaching game day," according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The average price of $1,807 on the secondary market "tops last year" when Alabama defeated LSU in New Orleans. That average of $1,739 was "the most expensive college ticket since SeatGeek began tracking tickets" in '10. SeatGeek.com Communications Dir Will Flaherty believes that '12 will "ultimately hang on to that distinction." The daily average has "recently slipped under $1,400, and Flaherty sees it falling to about $1,200 by Monday." StubHub PR Coordinator Shannon Barbara said that this year's title game is "already the top-selling event in the history of StubHub." The company as of Thursday afternoon had "nearly 3,900 tickets available starting at $1,000 for seats in the upper-level corners." Barbara "concurred that bargains are likely closer to game day." She said, "Our research shows that fans tend to save up to 30 percent on tickets when they purchase at the last minute. We will have a last-minute services location near the stadium where fans can pick up tickets they've purchased on the site." Davis notes early speculation was that "it could cost as much as $3,000 to get in to see two of college football's most storied teams in the biggest game of the year, particularly with Notre Dame vying for its first national title in 24 years." Flaherty said that it is "difficult to pinpoint why demand and prices have declined," though it appears that "playing the waiting game may pay dividends" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/4).
IT PAYS TO DISCOVER: Davis in a separate piece reports Notre Dame fan Dan Scaminace sent an e-mail to Discover Chair & CEO David Nelms, whose company sponsors the national championship game, "pleading his case" for tickets, and his words "struck a sympathetic chord" with the credit card company. Soon after Scaminace's e-mail, Discover reps "showed up at his home in Minnetonka, Minn., to award him with tickets for two club level seats as well as airline tickets and hotel accommodations." Scaminace in the e-mail "promised to cut up all of his credit cards from other companies, transfer outstanding balances to Discover and donate his earned cashback balance to charity." He also plans to "name a new dog Discover" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/4).
Through 30 of 35 college football bowl games this season, the "average announced bowl attendance is 46,278," down 5% from '11-12 and 8% through those same games in '10-11, according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. The Sugar Bowl's announced crowd of 54,178 for Florida-Louisville, in addition to being the bowl's worst since '39, was also the "smallest ever for a BCS bowl." In a "rarity, the Sugar was outdrawn by the Outback, Music City, Holiday and Capital One bowls." The New Orleans Bowl was "only 5,350 fans behind the Sugar, which had not produced such a small crowd since 44,308 for TCU against Carnegie-Mellon in 1939." Bowls announce attendance totals "in different ways, with some counting paid crowds and others using different methods, such as turnstile counts." Either way, the "empty seats continue to accumulate." This was the "third time in the past four years the Sugar Bowl crowd was below 70,000," which had happened "only twice" from '75 to '09. Florida now has played in "five of the past seven Sugar Bowls with crowds under 70,000" (AL.com, 1/3). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted clearing out the ticket allotment is "challenging for many schools, especially because they must buy them at face value." With third-party brokers "able to beat their prices, it is a tough sell." Florida coach Will Muschamp said, "I think obviously right now with the economics, we’re going through a tough time in the country. I think that certainly has affected everyone, not just Gator fans. ... There’s different ways to get tickets other than going through the University Athletic Association. We’re seeing a little bit of a loophole" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 1/3).
SUCCESS STORIES: BBVA Compass Bowl Exec Dir Mark Meadows said, "As a bowl game, I can tell you that our overall sales have far exceeded our previous best year, which was the 2010 game in which South Carolina and UConn played." More than 54,000 tickets for this year's Jan. 5 Ole Miss-Pittsburgh game already "have been purchased." Ole Miss "sold their initial allotment of 10,000 tickets in just a few days" (AL.com, 1/3). GoDaddy.com Bowl Marketing & Media Relations Dir Julie Jeter said of the 40,000 allotted tickets for the Jan. 6 Arkansas State-Kent State matchup, "We'll be sold out." In Akron, Carol Biliczky notes it is the "first time KSU has been to a bowl game in 40 years and only the third time" in program history. KSU AD Matt Geis said that the school "sold game tickets to 50 KSU students at $20 each, less than half of the general admission price" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/4).