BYU Football: It is so Much More Than Just a Game
The success of BYU Football and BYU Basketball goes so much further than just the athletes and coaches.
On September 13th, 2015, I looked down at my watch and saw that it was 3:45 A.M and there was still a lot of work to get done. BYU Football had just taken down Boise State in a huge emotional game just one week after the 'Miracle at Memorial'. I was an event striker, which meant I was responsible for the set up, take down and cleaning of the stadium after events at the Marriott Center and Lavell Edwards Stadium. My supervisor had radioed just minutes before saying that we needed more help and we weren't going to finish that night meaning it would be an earlier morning on Monday.
That night I worked for about five hours and so did another 80 students, just in that one job. There were probably another 500 workers around the stadium working on the field that had been rushed and torn up by students, in the press boxes, cleaning bleachers, and working security.
Fast forward to the 2017 season when BYU played UMass. The Cougars were 3-8 and out of the bowl game discussion. That game ended and the cleanup was over within two hours with probably 30 less workers because my supervisor didn't have to hire as many workers for cleanups. I was left about $45 poorer and 30 workers didn't receive pay at all. When you multiply that by twenty (basketball also struggled that season), suddenly that is a big chunk of money.
You could apply this same concept to dozens of other jobs from public relations to security to journalists covering the game. When a team does bad, there is less demand meaning less work and less money.
Perhaps the ones that take the biggest hit are the food stands. I interviewed the owner of the roasted almond stand about a year ago and he told me that there have been years when he hasn't been able to make ends meet because of the lack of sales. While the tickets may be selling, people who buy $5 tickets are much less likely to dish out another $8 for almonds than those who pay $50 for a ticket. When BYU is losing, guess which group of people are coming to the game?
Now as a journalist, my income comes off of views. If I get a lot of views, my paycheck goes up. If I don't well, you guessed it. Luckily, I am also a school teacher which allows me to have a secondary income, but what about all the journalists who write full time and rely on views to keep their jobs?
To show what I mean, below are two weeks of my stories. The first was the week heading into the Utah game, and the second was the week after. It is very clear and easy to see that when BYU loses, readers lose interest and ratings fall significantly. In both weeks I wrote six stories and used the same amount of social media sharing.
Behind the Scenes with BYUtv
To illustrate more in-depth of what I am trying to get across, let's take BYU Sports on BYUtv for example because I worked with them as well. Until this year, the show "BYU Football with Kalani Sitake" was on Tuesday nights at 7:00 PM, but was changed this year to allow different programs to run during prime time. Honestly, from a BYUtv standpoint, if the Coaches Show was getting higher ratings than whatever they replaced it with this year, BYUtv wouldn't have made that change. But when BYU is losing, nobody watches. This forces the show to be moved to a much worse time on Wednesday morning. That can affect the number of workers that are put on the show due to budget cuts (a prime time show gets bigger budgets than a Wednesday morning show).
BYUtv needs to make money and they see their ratings go either up or down based off of how BYU is doing. If BYUSN is not getting listeners or viewers, the show can be cancelled or at least moved back to a radio platform, a MUCH cheaper option. On any given show, that is the two hosts, the main producer, the director, five cameramen, and at least nine student workers all working about four hours for each show. That is a total of at least 16 people losing four hours of work every day, or 20 hours a week.
Now I'm not going to make any assumptions about what is going on with them right now as I am no longer employed there, but it is interesting that in just the last two months almost all of the sports content has been moved to the BYUtv app. Also, Lauren McClain and Brian Logan both decided to leave, and the hosts have been sporadic with the main hosts Jarom and Spencer being in other places (picking up the slack?). This has lead to people like Johnny Linehan, Blaine Fowler and even producer Ben Bagley to co-host the show. I love their show and I listen to it everyday, but without Spencer and Jarom there every day, it isn't the uniformity that makes BYUSN what it's known for. Again, this could just be a random occurrence and not be as big as it appears to be, but it is worth noting.
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I could keep going with this, but the point is BYU Football and Basketball are so much more than just a game. That is why journalists and media members are the first to scrutinize. This story alone will honestly get 400% less views than it would have if BYU was 5-1 right now just because the common fan has already turned off their interest until 2020.