In all the hullabaloo of Syracuse's game against Notre Dame this past weekend, I completely missed the news that SU "has no current plans to play again at the stadium after 2016."
That's a bit of a shocker. That basically means that the contract extension between the school and the stadium has been put on indefinite hold. SU originally signed a deal for four games to be played there through 2016. The extension, signed in 2011, meant 10 additional games would be scheduled between 2019 and 2038.
According to Joe Giansante, the extension included a whole lot of provisions that allowed for both parties to re-visit the deal, and, well, someone did. SU is being coy about who walked away from whom. Given how strongly Giansante was talking about the value of the game just last week, you have to assume it was MetLife who backed away.
Why would it make sense for MetLife to walk away from the deal? God bless us, Syracuse fans, but we were awful at showing up for this "home" game. The only reason this year's contest drew so many people was because Notre Dame was involved. Since we probably couldn't guarantee Notre Dame or Notre Dame-type numbers in the future, they may have looked at the USC attendance (39K announced) and wondered if we were really worth the risk. If I were MetLife, I'd try to work a deal with Notre Dame instead of Syracuse. Less risk, more guarantees.
Why would it make sense for Syracuse to walk away from the deal? Despite their talk of #Brand and media awareness and NYC alumni happiness, the deal was rankling too many feathers back home. Sure, we're making money in the short-term but we're hemorrhaging local fan support and ticket sales. As Giansante said, we could always revisit MetLife for future games as the situation arose.
We were all shocked when SU announced that LSU would be playing in the Carrier Dome next year and not MetLife. Was that a call that SU made or was that a call thrust upon SU because the MetLife deal was DOA? We'll probably never know.
I think the answer lies somewhere in Giansante's comments to Chris Carlson. Read between the lines and he's saying that Syracuse has to deliver 75K+ to MetLife for these kinds of opportunities and that's not a guarantee we can make right now.
"It has to check all the boxes. It has to check all the boxes this game does. It has to be hugely relevant. It has to be over-the-top from the support standpoint. It has to provide unprecedented exposure. It has to be huge. All the others, when it was agreed to, had that potential."
"It has to be over-the-top from the support standpoint." The only way you're going to see that from Syracuse fans is if we're playing a great team and we feel strongly enough about the state of the program that we can win that game. It's gonna take a few years yet to get to that point and, unfortunately, this was the point all along.
My guess is that Syracuse isn't quite done with MetLife yet. We'll play there again but it'll be planned on a one-off basis. Like he said, it'll have to be a big time opponent that will not only draw a big crowd but also light up the media exposure. There's only a handful of teams and fanbases that can do that.
Syracuse vs. Alabama in MetLife in 2018? If they're interested, I'm willing to bet SU is interested. Wins be damned when #Brand is on the line.