This article is entirely my opinion but I am not a fan of Weeknight #MACtion. In the month of November, all of the MAC games will be played on a weeknight. Don’t get me wrong, I love football and for the most part, I love going to the games. However, trying to go to games on a weeknight is difficult.
First of all, I am an alumnus of Eastern Michigan and that means that I work during the day. Fortunately, I work in Ann Arbor and live in Ypsilanti, so it doesn’t take me long to get to the games and leave from the games. It would be my guess that many of the fans of Eastern Michigan football do not live in the immediate Ypsilanti area. That may also be the case for many of the students since Eastern Michigan is known as a suitcase college. It is no secret that Eastern Michigan has a tough time filling Rynearson Stadium, compound that with people having to leave work early and coming home late.
Judging by the crowds in some of the other games I’ve watched, it seems like other MAC programs have a tough time filling their stadiums on weeknights. I would imagine that many of those teams have the same issues as Eastern Michigan fans.
If you start factoring in the weather in November in the Midwest. We’ve been spoiled the past few weeks with nice weather. It started to dip down into the thirties this week and in some places it started to snow. Looking at my weather app, it is supposed to get up to 59 on Thursday but rain may be expected. If it gets colder, that makes for a miserable game experience. Two years ago, I was going to go to the Eastern Michigan-Western Michigan game. I had sort of a cold already, so it was iffy. As soon as I saw it raining, I decided to watch the game from the comfort of my home.
Lastly, the game time is an issue. When the Michigan Wolverines won part of the National Championship, game length was around 3 hours or less. I would remember the games that started at noon ending around 3:00 and the games starting at 3:30 ending around 6:30.
Now games are averaging around 3.5 hours. Part of that it due to the number of reviews that we are seeing but I think a larger part of that is the proliferation of games being aired on TV. Back in 1997, it seemed like we had 3 or 4 commercials and they would return to the game. Now it seems like there are 5 or 6 commercials. It also seems like they go to commercial break more often. This is great when you are watching in the comfort of your home and you can get up and get a beverage or something. It’s not so great when you are at the stadium and you are waiting for the action to resume.
Since weeknight games typically start around 7:00 P.M., that will mean that a fan wont be heading home until 10:30 P.M. or later if they stick around for the whole game. Again, if you live near the team, that isn’t a problem but commutes around this area can be around one hour or more. When you consider that many fans work, that might be a factor for them staying home.
Since I started to photograph at the games, I try to make it to more than one away game. I especially like to make it to the away games for the Michigan teams but since the Central game is in the middle of the week, I’m not going to take one or two days off from work to do so. Nor am I going to spend all hours of the night getting home from a game.
I haven’t even considered the players in all of this.
I partially understand why the MAC is doing this. They are looking to get TV exposure and if that means playing a Tuesday night game, so be it. But are they really getting more TV exposure? It seems like the games are either on ESPN2 or ESPNU. Sometimes they are on ESPN3, in which I say why bother changing the schedule? I’m sure the MAC gets a nice check to put in their coffers which means that the schools get a nice check but is it worth it? Does the gain in TV revenue make up for the loss of other revenue?
That all being said, I’m still going to be at the two home Eastern games and you will all get to enjoy the pictures that result.