Chick-fil-A Bowl chairman Gary Stokan explains why neutral site openers are the logical way to go. You’ll be shocked, shocked by his reasoning.
“I believe that college football should keep its intersectional rivalries, should keep its home-and-home,” Stokan said. “But on the other side, if you’re looking at potentially getting into an area where you want to recruit, where your alumni are, where a financial windfall can take place. In the case of the ACC and the SEC it works because you have four conference games at home, with four non-conference games to schedule. They build their budget on seven home games, so as long as you can schedule seven home games, you’ve made your budget. Now you’ve got one game to schedule. And if you can schedule it in Atlanta and make $5 million, where you net $3 million for a home game, that $2 million is a win. For your recruiting base, coming to Atlanta is a win. Playing in front of 30,000 of your fans is a win. So there’s no real down side.
“It’s harder to do home-and-home, because when you play the away game part of that, you don’t make any money. So if you can do like Nick Saban has done and go neutral-neutral, $5 million one year and $4 million the next year, that’s $5-6 million more than you would have made playing a home-and-home. Do I believe in home-and-home? Most definitely. That’s how college football was built. But when you get an opportunity to play in one of these neutral site games and get a financial and recruiting windfall and where your alumni are, I think it makes sense.”
Tell that to the fans who have to pay full freight for a season ticket package and the inflated ticket cost for one of these mega games, all for the privilege of not seeing their team play at home. Such a deal.