Dienhart: Pinstripe Bowl deal helps grow Big Ten brand

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, so the saying goes. Well, the Big Ten is going to give it a shot on one of the biggest stages in the world.

Today, it was announced that the Big Ten has an agreement with the New York Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to be part of a growing postseason event. The deal is for eight years, beginning in 2014 and extending through 2021.

[ BigTen.org: Big Ten announces partnership with Yankees, Pinstripe Bowl ]

“Once we saw the success of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, it became obvious – especially with the Big Ten’s growing East Coast footprint – that being in the media capital of the world at one of sports’ most renowned venues was a natural pairing,” Big Ten Commissioner James Delany said in a statement. “By agreeing to an eight-year partnership, it increases the likelihood that most of the Big Ten schools will have the opportunity to participate in the game, while giving our coaches, student-athletes, administrators and fans the opportunity to experience the nation’s biggest metropolis and an iconic setting like Yankee Stadium.”

This move was anticipated. At Big Ten meetings in Chicago a few weeks ago, athletic directors said the league was working to add the Pinstripe Bowl– which began in 2010 and has pitted the Big East vs. the Big 12–to its new postseason lineup beginning in 2014.

The Big Ten also will have a significant branding presence in Yankee Stadium during regular-season games with a fixed sign along the first-base line and home plate rotating signage.

Reports also indicated that the Big Ten is expected to add the Holiday Bowl in San Diego and the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco in 2014. If so, the Big Ten will have bowls in every major California market. The Big Ten also is expected to form an alliance starting in 2014 with the Music City Bowl, which previously was part of the league’s postseason docket.

The agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl pushes the Big Ten deeper into the massive New York metropolitan area, the world’s biggest media market. And that’s a big deal in the Big Ten’s quest to grow its brand, revenue and reach across an ever-competitive conference landscape. This toehold in the mega New York area sets the Big Ten apart from every other major conference. And, in the end, that eventually could help the league from a competitive standpoint—particularly in recruiting.

The league took its first step toward penetrating the New York market by adding near-by Rutgers, which will join in 2014. (Maryland also will join that year). The Big Ten also announced earlier that it will open an office in New York to further enhance its presence in Gotham.

Who will the Big Ten play in the Pinstripe Bowl? Some reports think it will be an ACC school.

And, according to a report, the deal announced today also will include “additional future conference events” at venerable Yankee Stadium.

This is a great idea, if true. Maybe even better than the Pinstripe Bowl. I can envision “preseason” games in Yankee Stadium in late August, with Big Ten teams kicking off the season vs. high-profile schools from other leagues in “The House That Jeter Built.”

Big Ten schools could take turns playing early-season games–maybe even conference games; maybe even a double-header–in Yankee Stadium, as the league takes a metaphorical spot along Madison Avenue and Broadway to become “the” conference of “the greatest city in America.”

Heck, would the league ever consider playing the Big Ten championship game in NYC? I know indoor venues are preferred. But, this IS New York City.

Now, what type of basketball presence will the Big Ten have in New York? Just wondering.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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34 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (34 Comments)
Mike on 6/3/2013 @ 5:10pm EST Said:

If it is “the Big Ten’s quest to grow its brand, revenue and reach across an ever-competitive conference landscape” into a metaphorical spot along Madison Avenue and Broadway to become “the” conference of “the greatest city in America.”, then it is going to take more than admission of Rutgers and participation in a bowl game at Yankee Stadium to accomplish this goal.

I think the Big Ten will need to look at admitting more universities from the east into the conference to grow their presence in the region. You asked “Now, what type of basketball presence will the Big Ten have in New York?” You have a public research university with national championship winning basketball teams in men’s and women’s hoops which already has a presence in NYC which would love an invite to the Big Ten: UConn.

Sal on 6/3/2013 @ 5:43pm EST Said:

Didn’t the ACC pass them over a couple of times already?

CoCrow on 6/3/2013 @ 6:10pm EST Said:

I would think the ACC’s expansion criteria is significantly different than the B1G. The ACC was motivated to add “perceived” football powers to prevent FSU and Clemson from bolting to the B12. Toss in some bad blood with BC and you have this current situation. The B1G seems to be more about capturing East Coast eyes. And a reasonable share of the NYC metro area lies in SW Connecticut. UConn makes perfect sense. And increasing men’s and women’s basketball $ doesn’t hurt at all.

Todd on 6/3/2013 @ 6:18pm EST Said:

The ACC didn’t pass over them so much as they caved to Boston College’s insistence that UConn not be added (there is a very well-documented and virulent disdain between the schools). Originally, UConn was slated to go to the ACC along with Syracuse, but BC blocked it, and publically admitted to doing so. This is why Pittsburgh was taken in 2011. Louisville was added despite resistance from UNC, UVA, Wake, and Duke. The pressure of the FSU/Clemson to the Big 12 rumors outweighed the ACC expansion model, typically taking high-quality academic institutions, and they added the program which has had more recent football success. UConn “wasn’t just penciled in for the ACC, they were penned in.” That quote came from Tom Jurich, the AD at Louisville. It took a confluence of fear of breaking apart, and BC’s resistance to UConn to get Louisville the invite.

UConn owns it’s market (Hartford/New Haven #30), and has high basketball ratings, and media coverage in NYC. Aside from being a member of the AAU (which UConn is making a concerted effort to achieve), UConn falls into the mold of many B1G schools. They are a member of Universitas 21 along with UVA (recently, both Maryland and Ohio State joined the association). UConn is receiving massive financial support from it’s state, and is closing the perceived research gap.

UConn’s ratings for football and basketball on SNY have been very strong (http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2012/12/uconn-huskies-surge-in-popularity-on-sny/) with a consistent home for their programming. UConn has the highest basketball ratings in NYC, outstripping even local basketball programs such as St. John’s. If the goal is having more events in the NYC area, the addition of a school such as UConn opens up the possibility of a basketball tournament in the city, which is another high-profile event in NYC. An addition of UConn would be much more exciting and pragmatic solution for enveloping NYC under the B1G umbrella than even Rutgers was.

JR on 6/3/2013 @ 6:47pm EST Said:

UConn. UConn. UConn. Any move into NYC without them, especially considering the pull in basketball, would be incomplete.

The Funster on 6/3/2013 @ 6:59pm EST Said:

UConn was slated to join the ACC with Syracuse but BC didn’t want to share New England with UConn so Pitt was selected. UConn lost out because BC couldn’t compete with us. We lost out after Maryland left the ACC because, allegedly, Louisville had better football.

UConn has a young football program. UConn also was once a regional basketball power that has gone on to be one of the top men’s teams in the country having won three NC’s in men’s hoops in the last 14 years. it has become the dominant women’s program in hoops. We field perrenially powerful soccer teams, have been admitted to Hockey East and have won the BE baseball tournament this year. Our basketball success spurred the entire university forward. The UConn 2000 initiative was a 1B improvement to our campus. The legislature is in the midst of passing another 1.5B bill for additional improvement to university infrastructure, staffing, etc. While other schools are cutting staff and research, UConn has been adding staff and increasing research initiatives such as the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Research. We are a member of Universitas 21 along with UVA. The Ohio State University and Maryland were recently added as members.

This may sound cocky but whatever UConn puts put its mind to it enjoys success. UConn games in the Mecca of College Basketball, Madison Square Garden, are like home games for us. Ask SNY what they think of UConn. Here’s link about SNY and the Huskies:

http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2012/12/uconn-huskies-surge-in-popularity-on-sny/

SNY is Sports New York. SNY paid over 1M just for women’s basketball alone. The UConn DMA which is the Hartford/New haven market is the 30th largest market in the country. It does not include the wealthy Fairfield County market which is part of the NYC DMA even though it is in Connecticut. With Rutgers AND UConn, New York City is wrapped up for the Big 10.

UConn is on the rise on all fronts. I think the University is building a profile that would be desirable for any conference that values good competition and shared success.

RL on 6/3/2013 @ 7:19pm EST Said:

If B1G wants to get into the NYC market, UCONN is a must. Mike Tranghese the former BE commissioner stated that there are only two basketball programs that get NYC excited and they are UCONN and Syracuse. SNY, home to 14 million viewers, is basically the UCONN channel. SNY has showed UCONN women basketball game over live Syracuse men’s basketball game just last season. Southern CT is part of NYC TV markets with close to 1M population. CT is also one of the richest states based on per capita income. If B1G wants the NYC TV market, it needs to add UCONN.

Stop Begging the Big Ten on 6/3/2013 @ 8:07pm EST Said:

It’s amazing how delusional Connecticut fans are.

1) Connecticut is not in the AAU (and you’re not Notre Dame) 2) The Connecticut football stadium is rarely filled — meaning you don’t have football support — and seats 40,000 (less than every Big Ten school) 3) The Big Ten wants to go South and East, not North and East. Rutgers already covers the New York/New Jersey market and the rest of the Big Ten alumni in that area should cover any deficiencies (considering it’s a pro sport market anyways).

Not being in the AAU alone should disqualify Connecticut. I don’t know why you can’t just accept you’re in The American and let the chips fall. The Big Ten needs to go into new markets (Southeast), not solidify New York.

joe wallace on 6/3/2013 @ 9:35pm EST Said:

Please read this . The UConn women, the women bumped the Syracuse men off SNY(SportsNet New York). a 14MM+ household Sports cable network surrounding the Eastern PA, NY, NJ, CT NE alone. Thats why UConn and thats just the girls for gripes sake. You really need to understand that.

http://syracusefan.com/threads/looks-like-the-prov-game-will-be-tape-delayed.40752/

NCAAFOOTBALLFAN on 6/3/2013 @ 9:37pm EST Said:

If UConn had any real presence in NY they would have been seriously looked at by the ACC. UConn is just not Big Ten material; they never were and they never will be. What you see here is a few desperate fans trying to make a case for an athletic program that’s known for womens basketball. They need to give it up already and accept their fate.

HawkeyeInNY on 6/3/2013 @ 9:40pm EST Said:

I love that the big ten is playing in the Pinstripe bowl. As a former Iowan now living in New York, I’d love to see the Hawkeyes as the first conference representative.

Cember on 6/3/2013 @ 10:35pm EST Said:

I realize that money is important to the Conference, but this money grubbing is getting to be too much.

Players and fans want to ‘go somewhere warm for New Year’s Day. Playing in Yankee Stadium toward the end of December will be no more attractive than playing in Ford Field the day after Christmas. At least Ford Field is designed for football, and is covered.

The addition of any more East Coast schools distorts the identity of B1G beyond recognition. The Big !0 has been quintessentially Midwestern agrarian. That’s why the BTN has advertising revenue from manufacturers of farm machinery and seed corn. Those ads will probably go over great on the Upper East Side!

aroznowski on 6/4/2013 @ 12:30am EST Said:

Unless Connecticut joins this list of schools (http://www.aau.edu/about/default.aspx?id=5476), the Huskies almost certainly will not join the Big Ten. It’s as simple as that.

Pete on 6/4/2013 @ 8:28am EST Said:

UCONN does not generate the NYC market. Rutgers is the school that generates the most out of anybody, hence why the B1G wants them. Almost every top 5 highest rated game on SNY (local sports cable channel for NY/NJ/CT) and ESPN in the NYC area is Rutgers.

Jim thomson on 6/4/2013 @ 8:41am EST Said:

Rutgers said No to the ACC , which has become a watered down Big East Conference.
With Rutgers Stadium having more seats than Yankee Stadium, don’t see them playing there at all. It’s a horrible football venue with the great tailgating atmosphere of the South Bronx.

pj on 6/4/2013 @ 8:50am EST Said:

UConn is the premier public university in the seven New England/New York states from both an academic and athletic setting. It is the flagship university of the state of Connecticut, but its reach extends beyond the state’s borders. There is a large contingent of UConn fans in New York City and Boston, and New England and New York students get a regional preference in admission to UConn. Next to Rutgers, it is the closest major athletics program to New York City; and a million people within the NYC DMA live within the state of Connecticut.

UConn’s basketball programs are dominant, its soccer and field hockey have won multiple national championships, many sports are in the top 40 nationally, and football is going to rise fast if it gets a major conference affiliation.

If the B1G wants to have a presence in New York City, it needs UConn; and UConn has enough market standing to be a positive contributor to the B1G’s balance sheet and athletic and academic standing.

John on 6/4/2013 @ 8:59am EST Said:

We should be adding UConn as we speak. They have a huge brand in a big market. The ACC should have brought them in years ago. Let’s get them before the ACC or even the SEC/B12 realize what a no brainer this is. They are a great basketball school, strong academically, have football potential and most importantly, they are very popular in NY. I want the Big Ten to own NY, not the ACC and I sure as heck don’t want the SEC to get sneaky and take down NY by grabbing UConn. UConn in the SEC is a dangerous situation for the Big Ten.

don on 6/4/2013 @ 9:38am EST Said:

NYC is a stone’s throw from CT. I remember Louisville coach Pitino commenting that playing at MSG against UConn was like an away game for them. UConn is NYC’s team. UConn has all of the metrics to enhance the B1G. AAU membership around the corner. B1G invite them now with the contingency that AAU membership happen soon down the road and you will then own NY.

Mike on 6/4/2013 @ 12:48pm EST Said:

Our B1G leadership made the decision to become a bi-regional conference and make a push for penetration into the NYC market. We are no longer just a midwest conference and that is the intention of our leadership. I agree a move east and then south may have been desired; however, UVA, UNC, Duke and Georgia Tech – universities often mentioned to the B1G – have indicated they want to maintain membership in the ACC. The ACC did seriously look at UConn and they were not invited for reasons outlined in others comments. If the leadership of the B1G wants the NYC market and an increased east coast presence, which is expressed in this article, then other public research universities in the east should be looked at to expand the presence of the conference in that region. UConn is one of these universities, that aside from lack of AAU membership but beating some AAU universities on their metrics, has upside potential.

Dan on 6/4/2013 @ 1:28pm EST Said:

I think UConn is a no-brainer. They are at the top of every criteria in the conference realignment game and have the potential for significant growth in football. I think the ACC was short-sighted taking Pitt over UConn in the 2011 expansion round (Louisville was a push at the current moment though I think UConn still has more upside). I don’t think the B1G should miss this opportunity to lock up NYC and increase it’s basketball presence.

The bigger question, however, is who would the B1G take to go along with UConn? Every other viable candidate is locked up in a GOR or in the SEC (Missouri). I guess if Missouri still had interest (they did bat their eyes quite a bit before going to the SEC) then the B1G should go after them.

Joe on 6/4/2013 @ 1:33pm EST Said:

Just stop with the UConn stuff. It’s laughable that some of you think that UConn has any footing in NYC. Studies show that Rutgers dominates viewership in the NYC media market (which includes north NJ) followed by ND, and then a few other B1G schools with Syracuse somewhere in there. UConn is not AAU and can’t even fill their off-campus stadium.

Sean on 6/4/2013 @ 2:26pm EST Said:

Joe-

If you are referring to this study http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/the-geography-of-college-football-fans-and-realignment-chaos/

Only RU, PSU and ND are ahead of UConn in NYC. Uconn certainly has some footing in NYC considering Fairfield County and other parts of Connecticut are located in the NYC DMA.

UConn would also bring in a very strong basketball precense in NYC which would benefit the BTN during nonfootball season.

Dan Bernard on 6/4/2013 @ 2:34pm EST Said:

As a graduate of a Big 10 school and someone that has been a resident of NJ and CT, UConn is much closer to a Big 10 school with regard to state support. CT residents are UConn fans and the legislature supports UConn (even though many/most are private school grads). NJ residents that are not RU grads either mildly support RU (academically and athletically) or are downright hostile to them.

By way of example, I lived in Fairfield County, CT and now live in Bergen County, NJ. Both have similar demographics. Most of the top local graduates will go to private school. Kids going to UConn or RU won’t be looked down upon, but aren’t being put on a pedestal. The difference I’ve seen is the non-UConn grad Fairfield County residents root for the Huskies, while the non-Rutgers Bergen County residents don’t care about the Knights.

Jon on 6/4/2013 @ 2:35pm EST Said:

Oh please. Rutgers “dominates” the NYC market the way Malta dominates world politics, which is to say you get invited places because you happen to be located nearby something entirely more important.

I will say, however, you’ve done a bang up job dominating the NYC market the past couple weeks. Weird how none of it has to do with athletics success though, which we all know is your typical calling card.

pj on 6/4/2013 @ 3:20pm EST Said:

Joe – UConn fills its football stadium as well as most BCS schools. The stadium is routinely over 90% of capacity. For an off-campus stadium without the benefit of ticket giveaways such as Rutgers utilizes to fill the stadium, that’s pretty good. Take out northern NJ and southwestern CT from the NYC DMA and Rutgers and UConn ratings are close in football, but UConn dominates Rutgers in basketball. So it is not so clear which brings NYC better, Rutgers or UConn, but the B1G doesn’t need to resolve that; UConn is a clear #2 to Rutgers and UConn in the B1G would double the number of opportunities for Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State to play within an hour and a half of Manhattan.

Danny on 6/4/2013 @ 6:30pm EST Said:

We don’t need uconn for basketball in NYC. Rutgers will do just fine there. With the new b1g affiliation Bball recruiting will improve dramatically and we will be a perennial top 20 team. We will also be able to fill MetLife 85k for what will become traditional games against Michigan, Ohio st, psu and Nebraska. The week of these games we will own fan.

b from nyc on 6/4/2013 @ 8:40pm EST Said:

Danny, Rutgers was in the Big East for basketball and was a bottom feeder, how is B1G bball going to help them recruit? I have no dog in this race, but living around NYC for years I can tell you that there is more juice for UConn than Rutgers. Check out Big East tourney highlights, or UConn @ Seton Hall in Jersey – UConn brings the noise and the B1G would be wise to pick them up.

CoCrow on 6/4/2013 @ 9:10pm EST Said:

Danny, Rutgers just finished playing 18 years in arguably the best basketball conference in the country and didn’t do a thing in improving their program. So now suddenly things will change. Please. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy the football rivalry we had with Rutgers and wish them the best in the future, but your basketball predictions are just plain ridiculous

NYC on 6/4/2013 @ 9:29pm EST Said:

@Danny, if Rutgers couldn’t improve their BB status in NYC while a member of the BE (the greatest NCAA BB conference ever), how do you expect them to improve it in the B1G?

UConn makes sense as #15/16 for the B1G, the challenge is who would they partner with? Had their main campus been located in Stamford, CT (Fairfield County) instead of Storrs they’d already be in the ACC or B1G. Tough break UConn fans, your time will come though.

JT Grant on 6/4/2013 @ 10:00pm EST Said:

The issue is not about what uconn and/or rutgers are currently pulling in terms of ratings and attendance. The question is about what can be built at these universities through the b1g. Delaney has clearly indicated that the massive numbers of b1g alumni in the NE corridor is a driving force behind all of this. If the b1g picks up uconn, the NYC area brings in Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State every year with an occasional visit from Nebraska and Wisconsin. This does not include the Pinstripe. The relatively untapped NYC and New England markets are so huge that even marginal growth brings in serious revenue… not to mention what it does for overall b1g recruiting.

Personally, I’ve come full circle on this one. If I am on the uconn board, I am thinking two thinks: AAU and stadium expansion.

Curt on 6/5/2013 @ 6:38am EST Said:

I like how someone commented that UConn is known for women’s bball. I am pretty envious of their 3 men’s titles in the last 15 years. A pretty impressive resume. I’m pretty sure that gets you known as well.

sal on 6/12/2013 @ 11:33pm EST Said:

if u add uconn watch all Ohio and Michigan bolt just Luke Clemson and Florida State threatened. Uconn is so far behind in football that its not even funny… they haven’t even recruited a single person for football yet…. Rutgers is ranked 25 and has recruited 11… Two years ago Rutgers was also ranked top 25 Uconn 103. Uconn academically doesn’t fit… its not Big Ten…. they are better for the ACC, very bad fit for the Big Ten… No recruiting there, small stadium that is never filled , and very recent academic institution… unlike Rutgers which is the 8th oldest in the nation…. Uconn will never get an invite…. oh and no AAU… AAu is nite going to expand there membership for another five years or so…. DON’T INVITE THEM, IT WILL HURT THE BIG TEN… Plus they have too many skeleton s in there basketball closet that makes the Rutgers scandal look like child’s play.

Mike on 6/12/2013 @ 11:39pm EST Said:

agreed uconn is not big ten… wow there fans are so desperate writing on yhe big ten website like this lol… they wont come in because the big ten is too snobby to let them in. big ten wont take an acc reject… not happening! Uconn is a basketball school not a football school, we would be dividing the pie with no added significant money brought in. time to wait and get the gems when they are available.

Rob on 6/13/2013 @ 6:11pm EST Said:

Ewwww Uconn… their fans are almost as desperate as their president susan herbst… They are a very recent football program that never really took off… they completely embarrased themselves and the the BE In the fiesta bowl. They should focus on bball and become really known for that in the american… Football isnt a major thing in conn… no recruits and noone really cares. Now basketball is different and they dont need anyone or vonference to do well there! FUconn isnt an option for big ten… they will wait until a football brand isbavailable… that is what we need.