Indiana Sells Big Ten Home Game
Indiana has become the latest to do this, giving up a home date with Penn State in the 2010 season. That game will be played at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., home of the NFL's Washington Redskins.
Off a last-place season, at what is predominantly a basketball school, the Hoosiers aren't exactly a big draw. Their home games in 2008 averaged just 31,782 fans per game in a 50,000-seat stadium.
According to Crimson Quarry, the Hoosiers are going to make $3 million on this move, but doing so means they've basically given Penn State an extra home game (or at least a non-road game), while relegating their own program to three total home games in the 2010 Big Ten season. While many would scoff at the notion of IU being even a bowl contender, this is still a big deal.
As mentioned, there is precedent for this type of move. Duke sold off home games against Florida State in 1995 and 1999, but this doesn't happen often. Texas A&M and Arkansas are playing a series of games at the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium, but both teams are giving up home dates over the course of that contract. Texas Tech and Baylor will both give up home games to play each other in that stadium in 2009 and the Cotton Bowl in 2010.
You have a hard time finding schools willing to sell off conference home games, though.
In this economy, it's understandable why a school would look favorably on a $3 million deal, no matter the public relations mess it may cause. However, it's obvious that Indiana's inadequate attendance played a role. If they were selling out Memorial Stadium every week, this would probably not be a serious consideration.