fighting muskie wrote:
I've been harping about how St. Bonaventure isn't JUST the Olean market, it's all of Western New York, where there's 2.6 million people.
NBC Sports Atlantic 10 TV ratings report showed that the St. Bona games had the most viewers. More than #2 VCU and #3 Dayton.
Bonaventure's enrollment is 1/3rd the size of Dayton's and 1/15th the size of VCU's.
They did have a breakout season after years of not so hot ones. Some of that is probably the bandwagon effect. Where were their ratings when they were at the bottom of the A-10 standings?
Of course it was the unexpected success of the season that fueled the ratings for Bonaventure (although, they made the dance in 2012). But remember that VCU and Dayton have been consistently making the dance for a while now (while Bona didn't).
Dayton & VCU have reputations of rabid fan bases. VCU and Dayton are freaking huge compared to the school size and (alleged) market sizes of St. Bonaventure.
By all the normal standards by which one would make assumptions and assessments about St. Bonaventure, in terms of conference expansion, the market size, location, school size, alumni numbers all point to the school being a ridiculous choice and not a serious candidate.
And that's why this data backs up my points.
We talk about market size/location/school size/alumni numbers/athletic performance/facilities/etc. But what about those things ACTUALLY MATTER? Are those individual items significant on their own? Of course not!
The most-watched teams in college sports are in places like market #326 Lawrence, #160 Tuscaloosa, #190 Gainesville.
There's NO correlation between ONE of those items and fan interest. Those items are merely just the best tools we have to indicate what we're really looking for.
Bonaventure's TV data shows why some of those criteria can be misleading. People who go to school in small towns rarely stay in that small town the rest of their lives. They go all over the place. Which is why the market size of Olean is an insane indicator for Bonaventure.
St. Joe's is twice the size of Bona, in the huge Philly market, had a more successful season than Bonaventure, and were at best 4th in TV ratings in the A-10. There's something about Bonaventure that makes them bigger presence in college basketball than those line item criteria.
We've accepted that Gonzaga transcends those indicators, despite being "small" compared to most in market size, enrollment, facility size, and alumni. Because why? They became American's Cinderella, a WCC powerhouse, and a national program. But they had the cult-like following to begin with and THEN started dominating a conference than has way fewer strong teams than the Atlantic 10.
And that's the crux of my argument: St. Bonaventure is a tiny school with the cult-like following that always over-achieves in the #7 conference in college basketball. What would they do with six times the TV revenue if they were in the Big East?
The Big East doesn't have the need to go out and add a peer school. They are too similar in programs that they can't all win. They need to bring in someone with Big East potential to take their lumps for a time, and that will grow the league in terms of power and prestige. And then they can do it again with the next guy once Bonaventure "arrives."