Friday, June 17, 2011

Should the Big 10 Change the Number of Conference Football Games?

The USA Today reports that the Big 10 athletic directors are discussing whether the conference should have nine (instead of the current eight) conference football games. Since most (if not all) schools already have scheduled into 2015, the change would not take place soon. Yet there are some reasons to consider it. One, as mentioned in the article, is that there is demand for more conference Big Ten games.

Two is financial. As mentioned in the article, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke, "... The one thing we'll look at and we need to understand for the entire league is what are the financial implications of going to nine games." That includes the cost of hosting non-conference games, which are called guarantees. In 2009, the University of Iowa paid $900,000 for Arkansas State to play at Kinneck stadium. Those costs have been rising, and this increase in cost is making hosting non-conference games less financially beneficial, although scheduling weak non-conference opponents does boost the expected team's winning percent. By switching from an eight Big Ten conference game schedule to a nine conference game schedule, the school hosting will not have to pay any guarantee to it's additional Big Ten rival, which reduces the costs for that one game and will most likely increase the revenues if demand for the game (and hence the ticket prices charged) is greater.

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