America Needs More In-N-Out Burgers & More Outdoor College Wrestling

February 26th, 2018 | by Jonathan Yates
America Needs More In-N-Out Burgers & More Outdoor College Wrestling
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outdoor college wrestling

Having a place in Malibu overlooking the ocean for a decade was a blast, but it would have much nicer if there had been an In-N-Out Burger closer to my house.

Its the same with living in Historic Annapolis, where many mornings when I go for a run I see Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuxk out getting in his cardio for the day.  It’s always great to see Chet!  But it would be much, much more meaningful if it were at the counter in an In-N-Out Burger within walking distance of the Naval Academy.

While Chet can’t do anything about the desperate need for In-N-Out Burger in Historic Annapolis, he can to bring an outdoor college wrestling match to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium, for which there is also a compelling demand!

When Michigan played Michigan state in outdoor hockey at Michigan Stadium in 2001, “The Big Chill at the Big House” it drew 104, 173.  The event even has its own Wikipedia page.  If each attendee paid $70.00 total for tickets, parking, concessions, and paraphernalia, that is a payday of more than $7 million.  More likely filled the till for Ann Arbor as a pretzel goes for $10.00 at Michigan Stadium and a parking pass for the Penn State game this year starts at $275.00 on StubHub.  Having taken my nephews and niece to plenty of games, the carnage does not stop at one pretzel, either, that.s for sure!  Michigan athletics had a surplus of $2.4 million in 2017, so something like The Big Chill at The Big House puts the Blue and Maize in the black for the year.

An outdoor college wrestling match against Big Ten opponent and national champion Penn State at Michigan Stadium, call it “The Big Thrill in The Big House,” would likely draw just as well, tripling the profits for the most recent year.

Similar results would be pegged at outdoor college wrestling matches across the country.  There is plenty of precedent.  The University of Iowa wrestled Oklahoma State at Kinnick Stadium in 2015, drawing a record crowd of 42,286.  It exceeded expectations in every measure!

When not packing The Big House with more than 100,000, Michigan plays its home hockey games at Yost Arena, which has a capacity of 5800.

Obviously, it was the thrill of the outdoor event that drew the record six-figure crowd to Michigan Stadium back in 2001 for the hockey game against Michigan State.  The Des Moines Register reported that “The atmosphere (beyond temps in the high 50s) was incredible” for the Iowa wrestling match against Oklahoma State.   Plain and simple: tailgating and other college sporting event festivities are facilitated by massive outdoor venues, like a football stadium!  Kevin Dresser, the wrestling coach at Iowa State, is a marketing rock star; and would make any outdoor college wrestling match in Ames rage like a Lollapalooza for those with cauliflower ears.

Yost Arena being rocked by 5800 packing the house does not make the cash register ring like 104,173 jamming Michigan Stadium for a special outdoor hockey game.

Nothing’s ever as easy as it looks, especially in college sports!  If it was, we would all be making $10 million to coach football for The Crimson Tide.  But athletic directors such as Witt Babcock at Virginia Tech, Jim Sterk at Missouri, Debbie Yow at North Carolina State, and others at places not generally associated with big-time college wrestling have created strong programs.  At many of these campuses, there are many fine local substitutes for an In-N-Out Burger such as a Five Guys.

But nothing can replace the thrill, and cash proceeds, of an outdoor sporting event, especially one with such a passionate following as college wrestling.

Jonathan Yates About Jonathan Yates
Jonathan Yates spent much of his career working for Members of Congress in a variety of press and legislative posts. Positions he has held working for Members of Congress and state legislators include Chief of Staff, General Counsel, Legislative Director, Press Secretary, and Legislative Assistant. His journalistic work has appeared in such periodicals as The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Investor's Business Daily, and TheStreet, among others. He has degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown University Law Center; and has also matriculated at the U.S. Naval War College and The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Jonathan also hosts The Culture of Sports You can follow Jonathan Yates on Twitter at @politicsports13

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