I was out of pocket yesterday and when jumping back on the grid was thrilled to see the first two start times for Ole Miss football — 11 .am. for Tennessee (the Martin branch) and 2:30 for Fresno State.
I knew the hammer was coming, and it did, BOOM!, with an 8:15 kick in Tuscaloosa. It’s the world in which we live.
Earlier this summer a 9 p.m. start time was announced for MSU at Southern Miss. It’s always 9 o’clock somewhere, but it should be 9 o’clock when you’re kicking off a college football game in the central time zone. Unless it’s 9 a.m.
When I saw that start time my initial thought was to sending a sarcastic heckling email to my MSU media friends, but I refrained, knowing that will happen to me some time.
The reality is a TV network, usually ESPN but in the MSU-USM case Fox, says jump and college football says, “How high?”
A Midnight Madness game is coming. Just wait.
On the whole I’d say television money is a good thing for college football. Modern day fans demand amenities, and while there seems to be no end to ways for creative administrators to “enhance” the stadium experience there are limits to identifiable revenue streams to fund these amenities.
TV money helps build suites and club seating, helps install massive video boards and helps pay $4 million coaching salaries.
TV money alone can’t do it. It could, I guess, if college presidents wanted to put all of that money back into football, but some of that $31 million plus SEC schools received in May will go to funding cost of attendance.
So other revenue streams are necessary, and that’s why ticket costs are what they are and will continue to rise. The average cost for an Ole Miss sideline or south end zone ticket for 2015 is $55. (Remember who the first two opponents are.) If you’re buying season tickets — and you have to if a decent seat is important to you — that $385 for seven games does not include your mandatory donation.
So accept your 8:15 kickoff — or 9 or whatever time the networks choose down the road — and like it.
The other alternative is to vote by your presence, or lack thereof. The time may come when colleges have to be less creative with amenities and more creative with luring fans, comfortable in front of big television sets at home, back to stadiums.