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Is Syracuse football’s Friday event a #BRAND gamble?

Pun intended for the Turning Stone-based happening.

North Carolina State v Syracuse

By now, you’ve heard all about the Syracuse Orange football event at Turning Stone’s Lava Nightclub this Friday, June 21.

“Orange Summer Kickoff” will run two hours, features (Turner/Bleacher Report’s) Taylor Rooks as host and will of course feature appearances by SU athletic director John Wildhack and football coach Dino Babers. At this point, we can reasonably assume that “Orange Summer Kickoff” is code for new uniforms, because, well... Syracuse has virtually told us as much.

So that’s fantastic, and we’ll get into some uniform discussion on Thursday before the release event. But the questions today are specifically regarding the event where we can assume they’ll be announced.

The biggest question I have: Why is this at Turning Stone?

Turning Stone is a Syracuse athletics sponsor, of course, but recently approved New York sports gambling will not include in-state schools (like SU). So... seems like a weird fit with that stipulation in mind.

Having the event off-site is not new territory (see 2014’s Destiny USA reveal), but Turning Stone’s a good 40 minutes from campus. Add in the fact that it’s a 7-9 p.m. event, there’s a dress code and it’s 21 and over, and you’ve just severely limited the attendees to a small group of super-donors, those with childcare and choice others with the ability to get over to Verona on a Friday night.

Despite being a college athletics event, there will be decidedly few/no college students in attendance. The family-friendly atmosphere that theoretically gets more people in the door for games can’t be replicated at the casino, where kids aren’t allowed.

It’s also a big missed #BRAND opportunity to sell more tickets and potential new merchandise, should it be available that night. Having the event on campus or right nearby not only caters to all possible attendees, but it allows them to make considerably more money in the process of doing so (which is almost always the goal of doing anything if you’re a college athletics department).

Perhaps Nike’s pulling the strings here — and if so, then feel free to shift the blame over to them for handling the event like this. Still, would think that Syracuse would be able to convince them that an event this limited would severely cut into the hype around the reveal. Making it a “surprise” doesn’t help either, nor does having it so late on a Friday night. Coverage will be minimal aside from TNIAAM, and other sites focused directly on Orange sports. Obviously a mid-week release during typical work hours gets more people talking about it both locally and nationally.

While last week’s Nike announcement was also on a Friday (typically important announcements are targeted for Tuesday through Thursday when you’ll get the most eyeballs on them), at least it was early in the day. This... just seems like it’s meant to be buried. WHICH IT SHOULDN’T BE, and Syracuse certainly doesn’t want to see either.

So to me, this is a gamble, and an unnecessary one at that. Of course the event will go well for the people in attendance, and we’ll all be excited once images of the (assumed) uniforms are public. But is this really going to create more pomp and circumstance around the event than a Wednesday afternoon event on campus that’s open and convenient to attendees of all ages?

At least it’s not some #BRAND-heavy event in New York City, I guess. DOCTOR Gross would’ve certainly tried to rent out Radio City Music Hall or something for such an announcement (perhaps he managed the Jets’ recent reveal?). So credit for avoiding that spectacle. Now let’s just hope the eventual — maybe not even this year — basketball uniform announcement is a little more fan-centric.