Wednesday, August 21, 2013
East Lansing supports the Spartans, but how would a spring football team fare?
There are cities that can support professional football teams.
There are cities that can support college football teams.
And there are cities that can support both.
East Lansing, Michigan, is a city which can support a big-time college football program – but presents a bit of a challenge for supporting a spring professional football league. The city itself doesn’t show up on the list of United States television markets by Nielsen (http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_Household_DMA_Ranks2.pdf) - nearby Lansing is 115th overall - and its population at the last census was less than 50,000 (48,579).
East Lansing, however, is the home of Michigan State University – a member of the Big Ten -- and has a football stadium (Spartan Stadium) with a capacity of 75,005, or 135.2 percent of the city’s population. In 2012, the Spartans averaged more than capacity – 75,382 – for their seven home games.
Trying to put a spring outdoor alternative professional football league team in East Lansing would be an uphill climb, beyond overcoming the small city size. Michigan State is the owner and operator of Spartan Stadium, and a deal to use the stadium – and, most likely, to admit use of alcohol in the stadium – would need to be reached.
The city never has been home to a spring outdoor alternative pro football league team.
BOTTOM LINE – While the Spartans draw big crowds for home games year after year, it just isn’t feasible to put a spring outdoor alternative pro football league team in a city the size of East Lansing.