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Boilermakings Is Asking For Flashlights. Lots And Lots Of Flashlights

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This is getting ridiculous. Once again, Morgan Burke continues to be completely in the dark (pun intended) when it comes to having permanent lights at Ross-Ade Stadium. As we can see with today's first note:

Burke talks lights, night games | JCOnline Blogs
This deserves a breakdown...

Purdue will be the only conference school not to host a true night football game in 2012. Well, sort of.

The Oct. 6 matchup between the Boilermakers and Michigan starts at 4 p.m., and portable lights will have to brought in to Ross-Ade Stadium since the game won’t end until around 7:30.

"I probably could’ve had a night game with Michigan but I lobbied them for late afternoon so it wouldn’t be late for our people to get home," Burke said.

So late for our people to get home. Like it was late last year when we played Notre Dame, or late for the 14,000+ people that come to a MIDWEEK basketball game that can start at 9pm with the chance of bad weather? Ironically, this is the one game I WANTED a noon kickoff since Miami is playing Notre Dame in Chicago that night and Mrs. T-Mill and I were planning the double. Now we can't. Thanks, Morgan!

Anyway, it is a SATURDAY NIGHT!!!! Most alums don't have to work the next morning and no kids have school. It's the best time to have a night game.

Without asking, Burke started discussing the issue of lights at Ross-Ade Stadium. The cost to install lights is $1.5 and $2 million, Burke said. Purdue doesn’t control the start times of its football game. Television takes care of those.

"I hear what people are saying," Burke said. "It’s pretty expense to respond to that. I don’t see the return on investment."

Let me see, there are a number of things it can return:

  • Night games bring bigger crowds. last season's only sellout was Notre Dame, a night game. And don't give me that "opponent crowd helped" crap. Ohio State, another "Opponent crowd helps" game was nowhere near a sellout.
  • Night games can help bring better recruits. Isn't this what we want?
  • Night games allow for versatility of the stadium. Does anyone remember when the Colts played New Orleans at Ross-Ade in a preseason game before the 2000 season? I do. It was awesome. It may not be the Colts, but why not open the stadium to gain a few cheap bucks for marquee high school games or, like Ball State does, rent it to an entire conference for a Saturday when Purdue is not at home?
  • Lights can also allow for bigger concerts and other money-making ideas. Camp Randall has hosted the Rolling Stones and U2. With lights, Ross-Ade can become a year-round moneymaking venue for a variety of events. It's all up to how you market it. Of course, I am just some crazy blogger. what do I know.

Lights have been installed at Alexander Field, the new home of Purdue’s baseball team, and at the soccer complex.

"I can control the start time on those sports," Burke said.

This is the worst point. Right now, seven Big Ten stadiums have permanent lights (Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Penn State). That gives them the versatility to host a game at any time decided by TV, be it ABC/ESPN or BTN, at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Of the five that do not, Ohio State's profile allows them to have night games where the network picks up the tab on a regular basis. Michigan State, Iowa and Northwestern have proven they are at least willing to pick up the tab for temporary lights once per year for a BTN game if they don't get ABC/ESPN to do it.

Basically, Morgan Burke is saying that he does not want the flexibility of even a 3:30 BTN game (which needs lights late). Sorry, but while you don't control kickoff times, your decision to not have lights severely limits our options.

The longest tenured Big Ten athletic director is concerned about fans who travel a long distance going home following a 3 1/2 game that started at 8 p.m.

"I realize there are some people out there that feel that’s a real benefit," Burke said of playing night games. "They have to stand back, as do I, and look at it from every possible angle.

"I know there’s a vocal group who feel that’s the right thing to do but they don’t have any logic other than it would be nice to have a night game. It’s a double edge sword. I’m glad we got the Michigan game."

Don't have any logic? I just went on with about 500 words of logic. Here is some more:

  • It helps the local economy. Don't like driving back late? Rent a hotel room, putting money in the Lafayette economy. The wealthy alums can even stay on campus at the Union hotel. Make it a perk of Champion-level JPC membership that season ticket holders get priority Union hotel reservations.
  • I don't know about you, but more butts in seats at a night game = more profit for the athletic department.
  • Saturdays, specifically Saturday mornings, are a common time for families with youth soccer, youth football, and other stuff during the fall. Even a 3:30 kickoff, with lights needed, can have an impact for a family of four that has morning soccer games ending at noon before coming to West Lafayette. My sister's family couldn't come to games for years because my nephews played youth soccer, but they could easily make a 3:30 game when they couldn't make a noon game. At $100 for four tickets, that's $100 from one family for one game the University misses out on. Say there are 250 families in the same boat. That's $25,000 per game the school is losing. That's $175,000 per year for a seven game home season. Suddenly, that money for installing lights is coming back in over 10 years. Again, this is a very rough estimate, but I hope you follow my logic.
  • Even 3:30 games pump money into the local economy. You need to buy two meals in the area (lunch and dinner) instead of one. More tailgating means more locally purchased groceries, soda, alcohol, etc.

Burke also said ABC/ESPN pays for the portable lights, while the Big Ten Network does not.

This is the biggest failing right here. each school receives $24.6 million per year from the Big Ten Network. Putting in permanent lights would be little than 5% of our yearly income from the Big Ten Network if we did not earn a single dime on ticket sales. And, it is a one-time expense. It is not like we have to spend $2 million every year. In year two, it costs $0 to install, just like it will in year 30.

In 2000, the year we went to the Rose Bowl, ESPN/ABC picked up the tab for two lights games: Ohio State and Indiana. Since then, here are the games since that ESPN/ABC has picked up the tab for lights since (and I might miss a game or two here, so I apologize):

2001: Notre Dame

2002: Minnesota

2003: Iowa

2004: Wisconsin, Ohio State (Arguably our best year and our highest national profile, thus we're the most attractive to ESPN/ABC)

2005: Notre Dame

2006: None

2007: Ohio State (This was the first year of the Big Ten Network, so the first year we could pick up the tab to bring in temporary lights).

2008: Oregon

2009: Notre Dame

2010: None

2011: Notre Dame

So since 2007, when the Big Ten Network debuted, Purdue has not picked up the tab for a BTN game (be it 3:30 or 8pm start) even once. In four games that needed lights, the network covering the game picked up the tab. Don't give me crap about "not being able to choose game times" when the other four teams without permanent lights have picked up the tab for at least one BTN later game in the last five years. Indiana, arguably the worst team in the conference and least attractive to TV in the last five years, has been in prime time more than us. Why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE VERSATILITY THAT LIGHTS BRING!!!!!!

By choosing not to have lights, or even pay once to bring them in, you're choosing noon kickoffs.My headline is coming true. If we want a night game, we need 62,500 Mag Light Flashlights. Fortunately I carry one in my car, and since they are $17.88 at Wal-Mart it's only $1,117,500 for 62,500 of them, so it's a bargain!

If you readers feel like it, send this to Morgan Burke, because it is just getting ridiculous at this point that we're the one program in a major conference of 12 teams that is actively avoiding even 3:30 kickoffs.

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