Sunday, December 30, 2007

Charlotte bowl future looks bright

It would have been crazy to predict 10 years ago that Wake Forest would meet Connecticut in a 2007 bowl in Charlotte and more than 53,000 tickets would be sold.
Now that it’s happened, it makes sense to look ahead at whether the bowl’s six-year history of attendance figures above 51,000 can continue. For the Meineke Car Care Bowl, the future is largely dependent upon securing teams within a short drive of Charlotte whose fans are excited and eager to travel.
A few factors are working in Meineke’s favor in future years as it matches ACC and Big East teams:
- North Carolina and N.C. State appear to be gaining momentum under coaches entering their second seasons. Though neither was bowl eligible for 2007, it’s easy to envision one of these teams getting a little better and making its second appearance in Charlotte next season.
- Losing coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan could cause West Virginia to slump a bit and bring that school’s supportive fans back to Charlotte, where they were part of a 2002 crowd of 73,535. West Virginia has been out of Charlotte’s reach since then, but Rodriguez’s departure could change that.
- Some other Big East schools are developing traditions of traveling to bowls. Connecticut sold its allotment of 12,500 for the Meineke Bowl, and Cincinnati reportedly sold more than 8,300 to the Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.
Is it possible the bowl will have a down year? Of course. But with the previously mentioned factors and the Big East’s general resurgence working in the bowl’s favor, more big crowds seem more likely than not. KEN TYSIAC


Anonymous said...

The bowl would really take off if they would try to nab an SEC tie in from the Independence Bowl (Shreveport) or the Liberty Bowl (Memphis). Both of those bowls make sense for the worst bowl eligible SEC West team, but Charlotte would be an easier drive for the worst bowl eligible SEC East Team. Would set up having the Gamecocks and Kentucky quite a bit, and UT, UF, and UGA on occasion. This would elevate it from a 50000 attendance bowl to potentially being a sellout every year.

JAT said...

Ken -- So the future is so bright the CRVA will not have to put up any public money to "guarantee" ticket sales?

Oh, that's right -- CRVA's "bid" is still secret.

I'm confused.