The Big 12 announced the time and dates for the non-conference slate last week, which included some changes for Oklahoma State.
Rather than having the season opener versus Tulsa on Saturday September 2nd, the Cowboys will open the season at home on Thursday August 31st. There’s a lot of positives and negatives for the move, but is it worth it?
One of the biggest claims I saw while perusing twitter was that this would kill attendance for that game. Makes sense right? People can’t necessarily get out of work in time to make the drive to Stillwater for the game and they can’t stay the night there since they need to be back home for work the next morning. But would it make that much of a difference? I went back and looked at the attendance numbers during seasons that featured Thursday night home games and compared the game in question to the season averages.
Four games were called into question: 2009 Colorado, 2010 Texas A&M, 2011 Arizona, and 2014 Texas Tech. Let’s look at the data:
In three of the four games, attendance was down. However, the largest drop was only a 6.77% decrease from the season average. The other two declines came at the tune of 4.5% and 4.9%.
In 2014, the Thursday night game against Texas Tech saw a 2.89% uptick to make it the second most attended game of the year. That comes out to be an average difference of -3.32%.
So are there enough benefits from Thursday night games to outweigh the attendance drop?
There are two main benefits from these games: fan experience and exposure. Everyone loves night games in BPS and having a week day game guarantees the night game. OSU is also 4-0 in these games. A win at night at BPS sounds like a pretty good combination.
These games also bring a lot of good exposure to the program. Having a weeknight game in a Power-5 conference practically guarantees a prime television slot. This year’s matchup against Tulsa will be on Fox Sports 1 with the biggest viewing competition will come from Ohio State @ Indiana on ESPN, Florida A&M @ Arkansas on the SEC Network, Presbyterian @ Wake Forest on the ACC Network, and Colorado State @ Colorado on the PAC12 Network. Of all the games on the 31st, OSU-TU is the only one between two 10-win teams from last year. The country will be watching and a solid outing from the Pokes could really boost their national perception and give them a jump in the polls.
At the end of the day, it’s worth it to take the minor attendance hit to give the team a better viewing market and a better experience for the fans who do make the trek to Stillwater.
So what do you think Cowboy fans? Should OSU schedule Thursday night games? Vote in the poll and leave your thoughts in comments section.
Do you think Oklahoma State Should Play Thursday Night Games?
This poll is closed