Crowds will swell at stadiums around the Mid-American Conference this fall.
The MAC held a press conference in their offices in downtown Cleveland Tuesday afternoon where commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher announced the conference has teamed up with The Inflatable Crowd Company to fill stands during the league's nationally televised weeknight football appearances.
"In a move to better serve our Television partners we're proud to announce we've came up with a cutting edge solution to poor attendance," Steinbrecher said during the press conference. "By partnering with the folks at The Inflatable Crowd Company we'll finally be able to rid our conference of the blight of empty stadiums during weeknight MACtion. No longer will ESPN be forced to strategically frame shots to avoid showing anything past the first few rows of our member's stadiums, now every game will be a virtual sellout"
The new plan goes into effect this upcoming season and will be used to prevent scenes such as what happened last November in Oxford when more than 15 thousand seats in Yager Stadium were noticeably empty. The MAC has reached a three-year deal with the company to provide crowds for their nationally televised games.
The Inflatable Crowd Company, a fixture of Hollywood since 2002, uses the latest technology in makeup and prosthetics to create realistic 3D faces for each of their inflatable dolls, adorning them with real clothing and authentic hair pieces to make the dolls look like real crowd members.
"They're really good," Steinbrecher lamented enthusiastically. "Have you seen Seabiscuit? All those dapper looking people in the stands were plastic blow up dolls. It blew my mind ... You know all those rowdy Texas high school fans in Friday Night Lights? Yeah, it turns out those were just plastic inflatable dolls too."
The company will provide up to 20,000 dolls per game, and the member schools will provide authentic fan gear for the inflatables to wear. To ensure better authenticity crowd noise will be pumped in over the stadium's PA systems, and at least one inflatable out every 1,000 will be obnoxiously dressed in Big 10 gear. According to Steinbrecher the company is also figuring out a way to make the student sections dissipate after halftime.
"They haven't figured out how to make the student sections continue to naturally shrink in the third and fourth quarters," Steinbrecher admitted. "But, the company has told me even if it means deflating the dolls so they're out of camera view, there will be a plan in place to ensure our student section's reputations stay in tact."
Steinbrecher was short on details about how the costs for this new plan will be divided up amongst the member schools saying only "WE GOT DAT TV MONEY!" before holding up a thick gold chain, dropping the microphone, and walking away from the podium.
Just kidding, APRIL FOOLS!