Written By: Steve Macy, NM State Associate Athletic Director
One of the questions that I have been getting the past couple of weeks is, “Where the heck is the football schedule?!?!” Good question.
Being in the WAC, we have the luxury of being a part of the ESPN family and the wonderful exposure it provides. The basketball win at Nevada-Reno on Saturday was a perfect example of that. However, there are some downsides as well.
First, there are the non-Saturday football games, which are difficult for fans in every market. Second, you get some weird start times every now and then. But, you offset those with the exposure that ESPN affords and accept it.
The hardest one of all for a marketing staff is the football schedule. Here is how it works and why we won’t see a schedule until at least the WAC Basketball Tournament.
ESPN’s contract with the WAC calls for a minimum of eight national telecasts on ESPN and ESPN2 during each season. To start the scheduling process, each WAC school submits its non-conference schedule to the WAC and Jeff Hurd (Senior Associate Commissioner of the WAC) enters all those games into an Excel spreadsheet by date, time and location. That grid is sent to ESPN, along with the home and away conference opponents for each WAC team.
At that time, ESPN has the right to select the 8-10 games that it wants, as well as set the date on the conference games it wants. Once they have made those selections, the game date and day are entered into the scheduling grid and Jeff has the difficult task of making the rest of the conference schedule fit into the remaining available dates. Having worked with him on this during my time in the WAC office, it is a very difficult task and there is never a great schedule that accommodates every school’s wants and needs.
There are also special requests that come into play as most schools have some facility issues or local hardships that are taken into account. Jeff tries to accommodate all those requests in building the schedule. Further, you never want to have more than two home or road games in a row, though non-conference scheduling sometimes makes this impossible.
All-in-all, it is a long process and extremely complicated. It was also one of the most enjoyable aspects of working in the conference office, as you worked to try and make a schedule that is great for each WAC team. It is never perfect, but there is considerable effort to ensure that the fairest possible schedule is derived for all nine WAC members.
Ticket Update: Last time, I wrote about the new ticketing pricing structure that has me very excited to bring to this market. Well, it has taken way more time than I had hoped to get through the approval process and as such, I have nothing new to report. I am sitting on the release that many of you requested I send and once I have the approval, it will be on its way to you. There is also going to be a role for you to play. Being part of the Aggie family means that we each have a responsibility to build the program. I will be creating a new group that will be assisting me in delivering the ticket package to the community and helping with sales. This group will be an ambassador group that will serve a very important role in making the 2009 season a successful one. More on that to come, so be on the lookout.