Stop me if you heard this one before: The Syracuse Orange football annual spring game wasn’t available on linear television or streaming. The only way to know what happened was to attend in person or read a recap.
We’re far from the only ACC school with this problem. SB Nation’s Miami blog, State of U, wrote a pretty convincing argument for why the Hurricanes should be broadcasting their spring game. Other fan bases like Wake Forest and Virginia Tech followed suit after theirs also failed to wind up on TV.
Here’s the thing: the spring game in Syracuse is never going to attract the 80,000 it does in SEC country. After a rousing 10-3 season that’s led to a huge uptick in sales, an outstanding lineup of alumni speakers and autographs, and a football camp, the announced attendance was still under 4K. Athletics did all they could to make this an incredibly desirable football event. But:
Casual football fans are not going to attend the Spring Game. This is a day for diehard football fans and their families to get that sweet hit of football before summer hits. The casual fan is being hit up by AHL/NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs and baseball’s opening month (the only month everyone’s team has a chance at anything). The spring game’s purpose is to hit those fans who will be with you for better or worse (someone you’re familiar with had plenty to say on this general topic last spring).
And thus, those in DC, NYC, Atlanta and LA (and all points in between) who will take three hours of their day to watch a glorified practice should have the ability to watch said game. I’m a season ticket holder who would have easily paid $10 to watch on Cuse.com. Televise it so that if a casual fan finds themselves in a bar in CNY, it will guarantee someone hears just how good the program will be, how hard season tickets are to get and pique some out of season interest.
With the ACC Network looming over us, it seems natural that from here on out, every ACC school should have their spring game available for #content purposes. Even if not aired live, replaying a cut down broadcast seems like perfect Wednesday afternoon fodder for a college sports network in the summer, when colleges aren’t playing sports.
However, we know how... particular coaches can get about how much film of their teams can exist. Dino Babers has not been shy about wanting to keep his team under wraps as much as possible. When push comes to shove, the network usually wins out, but it does throw a wrinkle into how this may play out.
It sure seems if the network doesn’t push, SU will continue to keep the spring game off the airways to appease Dino and say it’s to drive fans to the Dome if they want to see the football team. I’ll continue to be very frustrated by it. However, if the ACC Network is as content hungry as the SEC Network was? I’m sure the game will be aired in some fashion by our ESPN overlords.