The Big Ten Conference is adamant about expanding its presence on the East Coast, particularly in New York City.
Adding Rutgers to the league, reaching an agreement with the Pinstripe Bowl and opening an office in Manhattan wasn’t quite enough to sate the conference’s desires.
The Big Ten Conference is considering hosting regular season contests in New York City at Yankee Stadium and Washington D.C., according to cbssports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.
The conference would use the neutral sites to help cultivate rivalries between Penn State and its newest members, Rutgers and Maryland.
“Like with Yankee Stadium — would there be a case where Rutgers or Penn State or Maryland, would they want to move a game to an iconic stadium like that?” Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman posed to Fowler. “You could bring in, for Rutgers, probably another 10 to 15,000 people there. Is that a game that makes sense to move there? Probably.”
It can also serve as an opportunity for the new schools to benefit from the more established programs in the conference. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin have national followings and their fans travel well. Bigger venues to host these programs will be beneficial for both the programs playing in the games and the conference.
High-profile venues can also be used to entice marquee opponents as additions to non-conference schedules. Rutgers, for example, will travel to Seattle this fall to open the season against the Pac-12’s Washington State Cougars at CenturyLink Field. Rutgers can use the lure of Yankee Stadium to bring in other opponents from the Pac-12, Big 12 or SEC.
By potentially using stadiums at key demographic locations, the Big Ten Conference will be taking full advantage of its expanded footprint and the markets it cherished when the decision was made to expand to 14 teams.