Boise State will kickoff its football season with the first afternoon home game in four years, the last home game being against UT-Martin in 2013. This season’s opener is against Troy who finished 10-3 last season and was ranked in the top 25 late in the season. They are one of the best teams in the Sun Belt conference, therefore the match up against Boise State should be an entertaining game.
Boise State, since signing a television deal with ESPN, has a majority of their home games with late kickoff times. Starting in 2014 the earliest time has been 6p.m.—with some games not starting until 8p.m. While the ESPN deal has given Boise State more coverage, it has agitated many fans who feel the kickoff times are too late. According to Boise State President Bob Kustra, Boise State must weigh the benefits of being on ESPN against the cost of perturbing fans.
“(Fans are) looking at the glass like it’s half empty, I’m going to look at it like it’s half full.” said Kustra. “Isn’t it interesting that (we) finally have some games scheduled for 6 instead of 8pm, so we feel like we made a little bit of progress this year. We have no control unless we want to go to ESPN and say we’re out (of the contract), and they’ll gladly accommodate us … (but) we just won’t be on TV.”
Boise State fans have cited the late kickoff times in recent years as one of the primary reasons for low fan attendance and decreasing season ticket sales. The afternoon game against Troy will provide fans the opportunity to prove that earlier kickoff times will result in higher fan attendance, and higher percentage of fans staying for the entirety of the game. If this game were to sell out, with fans staying the whole game, Boise State could see more day games in the future.
Students who have been here longer than four years are the only ones who have had the chance to go to an afternoon football game.
Robert Glasson, who was a freshman in 2006 agrees. “Afternoon games are great because it allows for the opportunity for more fans to stay for the whole game,” said Glasson, now a senior communications major. “They are also great for the students because they allow for the opportunity to go do activities after the game. I’m excited to see an afternoon game back on the schedule.”
While some fans seem to be excited for earlier kickoffs not everyone thinks it will make a big difference.
“At the end of the day, football is football,” said business major senior Austin Bleecker. “I grew up going to day games at the Rose Bowl for UCLA games, for me (as) a spectator it’s not too much different.”
Boise State will find out how fans respond to the afternoon game, when they take on Troy on Sept. 2. The game will be shown on ESPNU starting at 1:45p.m. mountain time. Regardless of the time or opponent, there is excitement in the air of the start of an Boise State football season.