Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday Night Beer: MMA Proves Omaha an Event Town

I must admit that I'm not a fan of boxing or "ultimate fighting" or MMA or whatever they call it. (When I was a kid, we called it "kill the man"...) But apparently many people in Omaha are, or at least bothered to leave work early to head to the Civic Auditorium for tonight's "UFC Fight Night". A quick channel surf showed the place looked pretty close to full, and judging from the traffic downtown after work, lots of people went early. Kevin and Mike'l on KOZN-1620 AM were even broadcasting from the Civic, and they pointed out that this is yet more evidence that Omaha loves a big event, even if we don't understand the sport. Whether it's UFC or Olympic swimming or college volleyball, we love a big event if we're given a reason to attend.

Which must absolutely frustrate others who try to promote regular sporting events in town, such as the Omaha Royals. Speaking of which, the talk about building a stadium in Chalco and Gretna has completely dried up. Last we heard, Sarpy County officials were awaiting a report on how Sarpy could possibly afford to build a baseball stadium for the Royals. That report was due about four weeks ago, and if feasible, negotiations were to begin after Labor Day. Either the negotiations have gone back underground, or the feasibility study came back rather negative.

Here's another little tidbit from the radio today. CBS SportsLine's Dennis Dodd picks Nebraska as a dark horse candidate to win the entire Big XII this season:
It's clear that coach Bo Pelini is lining things up for Oct. 4 when No. 5 Missouri visits. If the Huskers can take down the Tigers -- Missouri has won three of the last five -- it might be time to reassess the North.
Now, I haven't see much from Nebraska so far to suggest that the Huskers could run the table in the Big XII this season, but that doesn't mean they can't either. It's really hard to draw much of a conclusion from the opening three cupcakes on the schedule.

But if Nebraska continues to improve and gets players like Rickey Thenarse back on the field healthy, you just never know. Nebraska is going to need all of the playmakers they can find when the high powered spread offenses of the Big XII start showing up in October.

Speaking of the cupcakes, it turns out that Nebraska is actually coming out money ahead by having the first three games on pay-per-view. Normal telecasts net Nebraska $275,000 for each game, but executive associate A.D. Marc Boehm estimates that the Huskers will net between $250,000 and $400,000 for each pay-per-view broadcast. In other words, Nebraska will likely clear an extra quarter of a million dollars for playing games suitable only for pay-per-view. Yikes. That's horrible news for folks looking for reasons to improve the schedule. But on the other hand, it helps repair the budget damage from two high-profile dismissals in 2007.

Here's another potential future schedule upgrade. Nebraska is in discussions with Wyoming on a multiple year deal, with one game at Invesco Field in Denver and the others in Lincoln. That's likely a win-win for everybody, especially if they hold this game over Labor Day weekend. (Saturday night or Sunday would make this a nice weekend trip for Husker fans!) Nebraska gets two home games, and Wyoming gets the revenue from 45,000 additional fans than can fit into War Memorial Stadium. And can you imagine Woody Paige's outrage at seeing 50,000 Husker fans roaming through Denver that weekend?


AJ said...

Ummmm..."But if Nebraska continues to improve and gets players like Rickey Thenarse back on the field healthy, you just never know. "

Actually, I do know. Aint gonna happen.

Have you already forgotten you have to go to Tech and OU this year?

Dennis Dodd is a Mizzou grad who has made it not-so-private-knowledge that he HATES picking Missouri for anything. Remember the source my friend.

PlusDrew said...

"It's really hard to draw much of a conclusion from the opening three cupcakes on the schedule."

I agree with this statement. It's possible, in roughly the same way that saying KU would go 12-1 in 2007 would have been "possible" a year ago.

Michael Carnes said...

I'm a die-hard, lifetime Husker fan, but looking at things on paper and with what I've seen so far, I see us losing to Mizzou, Texas Tech and Oklahoma and Kansas being a toss-up favoring the Jayhawks. We should beat Va. Tech, Iowa State, Baylor, K-State and Colorado which would put us at 8-4 (or 9-3 if we beat KU). Beating Texas Tech or OU on the road isn't going to happen, and we'd have to play an absolutely perfect game to have a chance against Mizzou.