Last week, the AAC announced a new bowl game partnership for 2020 called the Fenway Park Bowl (obviously in Boston) and would pit AAC vs ACC.
When I tweeted about this, Bearcat Journal contributor, Jeff Gentil tweeted what seemed to be a joke, but actually is a really good idea. He suggested a bowl game at Nippert Stadium. Initially, I thought it was a joke. But he was serious. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s a brilliant idea that benefits more than just the University of Cincinnati.
Here are the three reasons why Nippert should host a bowl game:
Ohio is football hotbed
Ohio has 8 FBS teams, which is second most among all states.
Additionally, Cincinnati and Cleveland are tied for having the 6th most players as of week 1 of the 2019 NFL season.
NFL sent this out today. Cleveland and Cincinnati tied for No. 6 in cities that produced most players on opening day rosters this year. pic.twitter.com/Ctn4xkHtKV— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) September 13, 2019
Ohio is a football state. And Cincinnati is a football city. There is no bowl game anywhere near Ohio geographically. As a result...
Attendance would not be an issue
One of the biggest issues with all bowl games is attendance. As pretty as Hawaii is, most fans don’t want to travel on two weeks notice on Christmas Eve to watch a football game. Do MAC or C-USA fans really want to travel to Boise, Idaho in December?
A lot of bowls are played in bigger stadiums too. And some non-football stadiums (baseball, primarily).
The capacity at Nippert is 40k. If the bowl contract goes to the MAC/C-USA, you can ensure you have teams in close proximity to guarantee a sell out. Every MAC team is from Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois (except Buffalo). Which means all fans are within realistic driving distance of Cincinnati. And six schools would not even need to leave the state. Conference USA teams would have a bit more of a trip, but if it means attracting an audience in Ohio and playing in front of Cincinnati high school players, isn’t the trip worth it?
Cincinnati is the 34th largest tv market, according to Nielsen. According to World Population Review, Cincinnati is 69th in population in the USA.
Here are cities that host bowl games (population) - Shreveport (136), St Petersburg (79), Boise (101), Santa Clara (139), Birmingham (112). Montgomery (112)
Teams play on a typically snowy blue turf in Boise, Idaho, or freezing cold New York City or travel to places like the above. If those cities can host bowl games, why can’t Cincinnati?
The ultimate benefit to whomever plays in this game is that Cincinnati is a major recruiting ground, so coaches would have great access to local high schools and players, that they may not have otherwise had previously. Given the amount of NFL players from both Cincinnati and Cleveland, this would open a lot of new doors and allow for some new connections.
Benefits to Cincinnati
Obviously for University of Cincinnati this would be a huge deal! The school and the campus would get a lot of love. The history and beauty of Nippert Stadium would be in a major spotlight and get lots of love and campus and downtown Cincinnati would be booming with out of towners.