Brandon would prefer to play UConn game somewhere else (updated)

Submitted by dnak438 on August 22nd, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Per Angelique, who adds that Michigan has made proposals to move the game.

Does this mean New York City? It's hard to imagine a big stadium with a big draw near UConn other than it, or perhaps ... Boston?

EDIT: more tweets with more information:

On UConn game...Brandon says w state $$ to improve stadium politics are in play. Says would need waiver from state legislature

Brandon on UConn "my attitude - let's go to state legislature to move game". Realizes this is gonna be tough to accomplish

MORE UPDATES (per Angelique):

Brandon said Meadowlands was proposed venue for UM UConn. Meadowlands was very interested, he said

Brandon said "that's not Michigan" when asked if he considered buying out UConn game. "we did a contract, they control game"

Comments

CRex

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

If we can get this in a bigger bowl and move more tickets (to our fanbase, I'm not even sure if UConn has fans) then UConn gets a bigger check.  I bet the UConn's AD likes money as much as Brandon does.  

AAB

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:44 PM ^

I get that it's increasingly becoming so, but that's a huge goddamn problem.  We knew when we agreed to a home-and-home agreement that UConn's stadium was small, and that it is not, say, Notre Dame tradition-wise.  Despite those facts, we said we would play a game at UConn in 2013.  Now we want to move it somewhere else because playing a game at UConn doesn't create the future enough.  Playing at other schools is fun, giving other schools' fanbases a chance to see a big game at their stadium is fun, and deciding all this stuff is about profit and marketing is bullshit.  

CRex

August 22nd, 2012 at 1:46 PM ^

Can you provide a link where the UConn AD is deathly opposed to the idea of moving the game?  I read some stuff back in June where the AD gave some stock quotes about wanting to keep the game and the like, but he's never really launched a vigorous campaign about keeping it in Storrs.  When asked he says keep it, but he's not really pushing the issue.

The AD of course is getting pressure from the locals to keep the game there for the local revenue bump they get.  However he coud be quite content to make it appear that Brandon is holding a gun to his head and 'forcing' him to relocate it somewhere that results in UConn Athletics getting a much bigger check.  He gets a rep for support the local community and gets a bigger check out of the deal.  

As a side note, UConn's AD is a Michigan grad.  Small world.  

AAB

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:10 PM ^

that the relevant question is "what does UConn's AD want?"  I completely reject that.  I care more about what UConn's coaches, players, and fans want.  Those are the people college football is supposed to be about if we're not doing it completely fucking wrong.  

2014

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

It's the AD's job to speak for the fans. Are you going to have a poll asking them whether they prefer to play in Storrs, Foxboro, or the Meadowlands?

I get your intent, but it's not realistic. There are a ton of UConn alumni around Boston and New York, I would be willing to wager there are more in the NY metro area than near Storrs.

This is not a sacrifice. If you've been to Storrs you would know what a crap hole that stadium is. This is a win-win scenario.

M-Wolverine

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

Frankly, if you're for the players and coaches and those guys, the fans are kinda on the other end of the spectrum. Because most of the former's headaches come from the latter. 

But if you're going to include them, what's better for "Michigan" fans (and players, and coaches)?  Playing in a smaller stadium they can't get into, or more seats for them closer to where they're located?  Brandon represents Michigan players, coaches and fans, not U-Conn's. And it's U-Conn's job to do what they think is best for their people.

AAB

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

I think what's best for Michigan's fans is to maintain a sport that is focused on creating meaningful, enjoyable football games played in college football stadiums, rather than focusing on brand awareness and packing people into Jerryworld because there might be an extra buck in it.  The move toward neutral site games is a horrible development in college football, and it's particularly galling when we've already agreed to play a game at an opposing team's stadium and then try to wriggle out of it because our AD doesn't give a shit about the things that he should actually be focusing on.  

M-Wolverine

August 22nd, 2012 at 10:07 PM ^

Because at base I don't really disagree with you. I see the other side in this well thought out back and forth too. It's like a lot of life with ideals vs. fiscal reality. I just didn't see the fans as on the level of concern as the others. But I'm not a fan of neutral site games. Other than bowls.

AAB

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:22 PM ^

then we shouldn't have agreed to play in Storrs.  And we're not pushing for this because we think UConn's fans would like it more.  And if UConn's AD agrees to it, it won't be because of fanbase preference, any more than Indiana selling a home game to Penn State was.  It will be because Captain MBA thinks he can squeeze more dollars and "brand awareness" out of a lifeless game in a 75% full NFL stadium than out of an actual goddamn college football game.  

2014

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

There is absolutely no doubt that $ pays a big part of this scenario. I hate the Jerry World game. Love playing Alabama, but hate that it's in Jerry World.

But this different. From the UConn AD's point of view, he is giving more of his fanbase an opportunity to see their team play in potentially the most "special" game they've ever played in. And it's still a "home" game for them. Not a neutral site. 

CRex

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:32 PM ^

Not ever caring what your AD wants seems to be the perfect way for your program to end up in the red and a complete fiscal basket case.  The AD's job is to ensure the longevity and stability of the program.  Schools hire them and pay them for a reason.  You don't hire a guy to run business ops and then spend the next decade ignoring him.  Doesn't mean he wins every argument, but a blanket concept of not caring what he wants will just end poorly.  Even Michigan did its time in the red prior to Bill Martin coming in and righting the ship in terms of cash flow.  

Leaders And Best

August 22nd, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

But contracts get amended all the time. Schools buyout of these contracts all the time.

Michigan would easily clear $2 million with an extra home game to pay off the buyout. Michigan is making $4.7 million from the Alabama game contract. I assume a home game would be equivalent or more than that. It sounds like Brandon is trying to avoid this by working with UConn though instead of buying out, and may actually deserve praise for doing so.  None of us know the entire story right now.

bronxblue

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

Let's not act like UConn's game is on their campus and is part of the overall school experience.  Rentschler Field is in Hartford, 20 miles away from campus and next to a freaking Cabellas.  Yes, UM signed a contract, but saying "let's move it farther away so more people can see it" doesn't sound like "pulling rank."  UConn would get more money, UM and UConn would be played in front of more people who actually want to see the game (it would definitely sell out the Meadowlands), and everyone would be happy.  I see very little of "it's beneath us" and a whole lot of "we can make more money playing somewhere else."

BlueLotCrew

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:39 PM ^

If he can double the ticket sales at a new venue, both schools can profit. It was a stupid deal to sign in the first place, and it makes sense to move the location if UConn agrees. Otherwise, I'd buy out the game and schedule someone at home. It's less than $20 a ticket to pay the buyout and move the game to AA. It's a no brainier!

SysMark

August 22nd, 2012 at 3:42 PM ^

Just an FYI - the game is not actually in Storrs, it's in East Hartford, which FWIW is very accessible by car or plane.  It's small but if you were going to go from a distance the logistics are pretty easy.  Also, there could easily be 20K M fans there for that game - might actually be fun.

Class of 1817

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

The contract was signed. Parties knew what they were in for.

Unless people were expecting UConn to make the leap to BCS domination, the environment is the same as when this agreement was made.

Propose Meadowlands, sure. If no go...

...then it's a no go. And UM go go to UConn.

...which made zero sense to begin with.

madtadder

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

To play devil's advocate, if we had a scheduled return game against an opponent that had the ability to sell about 20k more tickets than the Big House holds, and they were lobbying us to move the game to some mythical locale that holds 130k, we wouldn't be very happy.

snarling wolverine

August 22nd, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

if we had a scheduled return game against an opponent that had the ability to sell about 20k more tickets than the Big House holds.

But the difference between a 40K seat stadium and a 60K stadium is a lot bigger, proportionally, than the difference between 110K and 130K. Rentschler Field is undersized for a major college program; they are aware of this and are probably going to expand at some point if the demand is there.

Needs

August 22nd, 2012 at 1:09 PM ^

The problem is the state legislature, which also likes money, but they like it to go to their consituents who own businesses near the stadium and into the state's coffers via sales and hotel tax revenues. Any attempt by UConn to move the game's going to run into some pretty substantial push back.

HermosaBlue

August 22nd, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

The contract includes a $1mm buyout.  Buying out of the game would be a permitted action under the contract.  Seeking to renegotiate the contract in a manner acceptable to both parties is not a bad thing.  If UConn says no, we'll play at Rentschler.  If they agree to an amendment to the deal to relocate the game, it'll be a mutual deal.

I don't understand why everyone's so up in arms about honoring the contract.  We're either exercising our rights under the contract or agreeing to amend the contract.  Neither is unethical.

Wolverine Devotee

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

I understand this is all about the money but am I the only one who enjoys seeing Michigan play in new places? They made the deal. uconn didn't ask for the game in 2010 to be moved to Ford Field or Soldier Field. Honor the deal.

M-Wolverine

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:18 PM ^

But yeah, I kinda enjoy seeing us go to new places.  Once you agree to a road game over a home game, I don't see how it really matters that it's in front of 40,000 or 90,000.  It's not like you're getting a cut of the gate.  Now, if he can jack it up so there's more money for all, and a unique experience for players, that's fine. But you already gave up the big cash when you made it a home and home because U-Conn was needed for a "big opponent" for the rededication game.  Should have probably gotten anyone for that, if that was what Martin considered "big."  So I don't really have a problem with it either way.

bronxblue

August 22nd, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

I don't disagree, but Rentschler Field isn't much of a "new experience" - it's a crappy mid-sized stadium near a Cabella's in East Hartford.  The state requires UConn fans to drive there, pay parking, etc. to watch games, and the ambiance is nothing to write home about.  I'm sure a game in Boston or NY/NJ would be at least as memorable for both teams, and would net each school at least as much money.  Of course, the CT legislature will throw a fit, so I kind of doubt they'll go for it.  

Fitz

August 22nd, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

Michigan has never played there so it is a new experience.  I'm not sure why the proximity to Cabella's is part of why it's a crappy stadium, it was built on a little used airport just across the river from downtown Hartford and is surrounded by fields which makes it convenient for tailgating.  I'm not sure how the state is forcing people to drive to the game and pay for parking.  If you really want you can take a bus or a taxi or something to get there and every stadium charges for parking.  For students the school provides buses from campus to the stadium and most of the fans live in the Hartford area anyway since Storrs is in the middle of nowhere.

bml

August 22nd, 2012 at 12:41 PM ^

And is not the worst idea. It fits 64,000 (built when Yale was actually one of the best teams around), has major parking/tailgating space thanks to the one day a year when it's in real demand (Harvard/Yale), and is in a town that's accessible by public transport from NYC.

Personally I like it because it's a good old-fashioned no-frills college-football stadium. It has that autumn feel to it. Foxboro looks like a spaceship and Yankee Stadium is not designed for football. Yale Bowl!