Wednesday, August 28, 2013

State College is proud, loyal home to Nittany Lions; would a pro football team work at Beaver Stadium?

State College, Pennsylvania, otherwise known as “Happy Valley,” has been the rabid home to the Penn State football team since 1887.

The Nittany Lions averaged 96,730 fans per home game in the fall of 2012, good for fifth among NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision programs. In 2011, Penn State averaged 101,427 fans per home game, fourth in Division I FBS; in 2010, PSU was third in Division I FBS at 104,234 per home game; and in 2009, the Nittany Lions drew 107,008 fans on average, second in the nation (fourth consecutive season finishing second).

Beaver Stadium has a capacity of 106,572, meaning the Nittany Lions draw well beyond 90-percent capacity at State College. Coaches, players, media, fans, etc., know full well how passionate and supportive Penn State football fans are.

The question becomes this – could State College support a professional football team at Beaver Stadium? At no point in the 54-year history of Beaver Stadium has it been host to a spring outdoor alternative professional football team. Of course, Penn State’s football team is supported like a pro team – the annual Blue-White spring game drew an estimated 28,000 fans.

BOTTOM LINE – State College, Pennsylvania is a town of a little more than 42,000 – and it sure loves its college football. That, in addition to never apparently even having the smallest appetite for a pro football team, would make Happy Valley and a new pro football league a bad match.

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