When he was hired, Mark Coyle notably seemed to believe that Syracuse Orange football marketing needed to make a strategic shift away from the New York's College Team campaign that dominated DOCTOR Gross's reign and towards more of a Central New York local focus.
"I didn't know we had advertising in Yankee Stadium or on cabs or any of that. But I want to make sure about what we're doing right here. Because your core is right here. The Carrier Dome can be an incredible home-field advantage. And my goal is to do everything I can do to get the place rocking on game days because that creates a great experience for our student-athletes and our fans.
"Obviously, New York City is a huge market, an important market, for Syracuse for a lot of reasons. But I want to just focus on here now. I need to talk with the chancellor and see what his vision is for the university. But I'll get my arms around it."
We were big fans of the shift because, while there were some benefits to the campaign, it ultimately didn't seem to be bearing the kind of fruit that was promised. MetLife game attendance was dreadful, the game results were often worse, and the recruiting impact of playing "home" games in New Jersey appeared negligible.
So, in the short while he was here, Coyle seemed to have started this process. Gone is the Yankee Stadium billboard. Aside from tthis season's game vs. Notre Dame, there are no future NYC-area football games planned. All signs pointed to a focus on harnessing the Central New York fanbase with the No Huddle Tour and a renewed focus on Carrier Dome gameday fanfare.
However, college football abhors a vacuum and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights appear to have taken up the challenge we created for him. They've replaced us in Yankee Stadium with a banner of their own and they recently announced an upcoming regular season home game in Yankee Stadium vs. Maryland (even though most of their fans don't want it).
So, the question is, should Syracuse try to find a balance between reaching out to the NYC media market and it's fanbase there or should they just try to give fans a reason to pack the Carrier Dome as often as possible?
Personally, while I can understand the merits of maintaining a relationship in the region, I feel like the data is in and neutral site games don't make a whole lot of sense unless your fanbase travels well. And we don't. At least not for football. Give us a basketball game in New York City and we'll pack the place. Give us a football game and, well, let's hope the opponent brings people with them.
And when i look at the way our football program has grown in recent years, I don't see why it makes any difference recruiting-wise. Our best players in recent years (Riley Dixon-aside) have come from Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Oregon. Yes, Syracuse should always focus on getting the best talent from NY/NJ but playing a game at MetLife isn't what's going to make or break that for us.
Syracuse has enough on it's plate right now with football. The Dome is due for a massive renovation. The future schedules are disturbingly sparse. Dino Babers needs to focus on cleaning up the mess and getting SU back on track. Playing a game every once in a while in the region isn't going to kill us, but we've got bigger fish to fry.
Besides, if the MetLife games were the answer, it would have worked already.