A deep dive into Miami’s future nonconference scheduling, with comments from UM Athletic Director Blake James and the assistance of several publicly available game contracts from opposing schools. Part one in a four-part series.
Sept. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens (12:30 p.m., RSN)
After blanking the Wildcats in 2015, Miami gets another glorified preseason game. Bethune-Cookman is a private school and declined to disclose its deal with UM. However, the Wildcats reportedly earned “$400,000-plus” to visit UM in 2011-12, will earn $390,000 to visit FAU this year, and earned $350,000 to play FIU in 2013.
The season-opener usually draws a sizable crowd no matter the opponent, but a midday kickoff against a lightweight opponent could mean a light crowd if the South Florida weather starts acting up.
“One of the challenges we have is not the selling of tickets, but the utilization of tickets,” James said.
For example, if someone wakes up on Sept. 2 and it’s pouring rain, and they’re not all that excited about getting to Hard Rock, they might stay home. James is trying to entice those fans to use or resell their seats. Another group he’d like to reach: well-heeled out-of-town alumni who buy a season-ticket package knowing they won’t fly in for every game.
UM basketball, which expects to sell out season tickets for the third year in a row, has the same issue. Those who show up for Duke and North Carolina don’t always make the head count for Boston College.
One way UM is attacking the utilization issue is by partnering with StubHub. Last year, UM began encouraging fans to use the popular reseller to buy and sell tickets. In turn, StubHub shares its market data with the school.
James is urgent about the matter because, he said, supply is limited. Hard Rock Stadium seats 65,000. Beyond his estimate of 46,000 football season tickets (see the first piece in this series for more on that), James said about 10,000 will be held for UM students, and 5,000 go to the visiting team to sell. That leaves Miami with 4,000 tickets for recruits, comps for staff, player families, corporate sponsors and other VIPs.
“We don’t have a lot left to sell if the visiting team sells their allotment and the students use all theirs,” he said. “If you’re not going to use your tickets, sell them or give them to someone else.”
Sept. 9 at Centennial Bank Stadium, Jonesboro, Ark. (3:30 p.m., ESPNU)
UM hosted in 2014 and won handily. This is believed to be a straight home-and-home, with cash going both ways. Arkansas State declined to reveal a game contract, citing a state law that makes public institutions provide such information to state residents. We’ll update this if we are successful in our efforts to work around said bureaucracy.
Anyway, Arkansas State may not be a cakewalk. The Red Wolves, though certain to be an underdog at home, have several quality defenders and could compete for the Sun Belt title. If you’re traveling to Jonesboro, Ark. for the game, we recommend staying in Memphis (about 70 miles away).
Sept. 23 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
Former Miami AD Kirby Hocutt signed the deal in 2010. The series was originally slated for 2015-16. It was pushed back twice per the mutual agreement of both teams — most recently when UM reached a deal to play LSU to open the 2018 season.
The teams agreed to raise the cancellation fee to $1.5 million in July 2013, when they agreed to move the series from 2015-16 to 2017-18. No changes to the deal were made in Sept. 2014, when the dates were moved from the opening week of the season to the third week of the season (yes, Miami traded Toledo for LSU for its 2018 season-opener).
Why is Miami playing Toledo, a MAC school which went 18-30 in the four years before the original deal was signed? James could only speculate.
“I’m sure it had something to do with balance of home games,” he said. “I would guess at the time they looked at it and was required for guarantees was more than [UM] wanted to spend. I’m going to guess the conversation with the coaching staff at the time was, ‘Yes, we’re fine with going to Toledo.'”
In recent years, Miami has signed several mid-major opponents to home-and-home series, leading fans to wonder, well, why. James has confirmed that one of the reasons is money: it’s a way for Miami to not have to pay a team to come to South Florida.
In this home-and-home series (Miami visits in 2018), the home school pays the visitor $300,000 to offset hotel and charter costs. That is a typical amount for these types of games. MAC officials will call this year’s game, and ACC officials will staff next year’s rematch. The visiting team can purchase 5,000 tickets to sell to its fans, 500 complimentary seats and 60 sideline passes (not needed for players).
“I’m not expecting Toledo to fill our stadium,” James said, adding that he expects a “great Miami crowd” but knows it’s dependent on factors like the time of day, the weather, and UM fans’ mood after playing Florida State the week before.
Nov. 11 at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
A non-league game, sure to be spicy after last year’s matchup. The Canes host the Irish after losing by a field goal last Oct. 29 in South Bend. UM won’t see them again in the regular season until 2024.
Miami will visit Notre Dame in 2024, 2028 and 2037.
The Hurricanes host the Irish in 2025, 2032 and 2034.
Don’t delay: make your travel plans now.
Miami hosts Syracuse in ACC crossover play Oct. 21.
From the Coastal, the Hurricanes host Georgia Tech, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
They visit permanent crossover rival FSU, as well as Coastal opponents Duke, North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
Saturday, Sept. 2 – vs. Bethune-Cookman, 12:30 p.m. ACC RSN
Saturday, Sept. 9 – at Arkansas State, 3:30 p.m. ESPNU
Saturday, Sept. 16– at Florida State, 8 p.m. ABC
Saturday, Sept. 23 – vs. Toledo
Friday, Sept. 29– at Duke, 7 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, Oct. 7 – BYE
Thursday, Oct. 12 – Georgia Tech, 8 p.m. ESPN
Saturday, Oct. 21 – Syracuse
Saturday, Oct. 28 – at North Carolina
Saturday, Nov. 4 – Virginia Tech
Saturday, Nov. 11 – vs. Notre Dame
Saturday, Nov. 18 – Virginia
Friday, Nov. 24 – at Pittsburgh