Day of Rivals update
Just talked with Andy Bilello, director of business development for Inside Lacrosse which is running the Smartlink Day of Rivals event at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this Saturday.
As of today, the event pitting Army (5-6) against No. 12 Navy (8-3) at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins (4-4) against No. 15 Maryland (6-4) at about 2 p.m. has sold more than 14,000 in advance ticket sales. Bilello said increased attendance could depend on the weather.
"I think normally these are two games that get 10,000 people or more on their own," Bilello said. "So to say we're going to get up to 20,000 sounds reasonable. But in the end, a lot will really depend on someone getting up Saturday morning and looking out the window."
Inside Lacrosse is hoping to ride the wave of momentum created at last Saturday's Big City Classic at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey. A regular-season record crowd of 22,308 for a lacrosse-only event descended on Giants Stadium to watch No. 1 Virginia edge No. 10 North Carolina, No. 4 Princeton upend No. 5 and reigning national champion Syracuse, and No. 6 Hofstra blast by Delaware.
"We knew going into the last week, we were doing pretty well and that [surpassing the previous record of 20,180 set at the 2007 Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium] was possible," Bilello said. "For that market, this was new, and it was different."
All six schools have committed to another installment of the Big City Classic next year, but it might take place at a different venue. Giants Stadium will be demolished after the upcoming 2009 football season as a new stadium for the New York Giants and Jets is being built next door. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia could be a possibility, but Bilello said Inside Lacrosse wants to give management at the new stadium in the Meadowlands the right of first refusal.
"We have not approached anyone, we have not had any other conversations," Bilello said. "... We really want to give the new Meadowlands stadium staff a chance to give us some feedback on what they think they can commit to because I think that would be our first priority. If they can't give us that commitment in the early summer, then that's when we have to start exploring other possibilities."