The Hokies want to win, and they want to win on prime time TV. Step one complete!
The TV schedule for the first 3 weeks has been released along with games we already knew about, and the Hokies will indeed play before a large national TV audience this Fall.
Here is the full schedule with Game Times and TV Coverage updated where applicable:
SAT, 8/30 - William & Mary @ Virginia Tech - ESPN3 - 3:30 PM
SAT, 9/6 - Virginia Tech @ Ohio State - ESPN, 8:00 PM
SAT, 9/13 - E. Carolina @ Virginia Tech - ABC/ESPN/2 - noon
SAT, 9/20 - Georgia Tech @ Virginia Tech - TBD
SAT, 9/27 - W. Michigan @ Virginia Tech - TBD
SAT, 10/4 - Virginia Tech @ N. Carolina - TBD
THU, 10/16 - Virginia Tech @ Pittsburgh - ESPN, 7:30 PM
THU, 10/23 - Miami @ Virginia Tech - ESPN, 7:30 PM
SAT, 11/1 - Boston College @ Virginia Tech - TBD
SAT, 11/15 - Virginia Tech @ Duke - TBD
SAT, 11/22 - Virginia Tech @ Wake Forest - TBD
FRI, 11/29 - Virginia @ Virginia Tech - ABC/ESPN/2/U - TBD
SAT, 12/6 - ACC Championship Game - ESPN 7:45 PM or ABC 8:00 PM
This means that the Hokies will be on national or split-national TV at least 5 times this season, with 3 of those games guaranteed to be in prime time! That, as they say, ain't bad...
What does it mean to Virginia Tech football?
I think there are a couple of tangible benefits to the television exposure:
- It helps recruiting
- It builds the VT brand
Let's look at each of these benefits individually:
TV exposure helps recruiting in at least 2 ways. For younger players, they become attached to the teams they see on television, and they are more inclined to play for the Hokies if that's the team they watch. Building the next generation of fans takes time, but a team ignores this long-term building process at its own risk. Players are affected by not only what they see on TV, but also what their friends see. If everyone at their school is talking about Alabama football, they will be more likely to play for the Tide, but if the buzz is about Virginia Tech, the Hokies already have one foot in the door.
For older players who are close to signing with a team, the coaches can pitch to them the idea that if they come to Virginia Tech to play, they will be on national TV, in prime time. Every player who's any good fancies himself being the star in a big game. For that to happen, the team has to be playing in the big games. Being on national TV in prime time says "big time" to a young player.
We already mentioned building the next generation of fans through TV exposure, but this benefits more than just recruiting. Teams bring in just as much revenue through ticket sales as they do through television contracts, but generally it's only the serious fans who buy those tickets. And let's not forget logo apparel and other licensed merchandise (how do you think Louisville made so much money while they were still in the American
Conference?). People sometimes poke fun at so-called "T-shirt" fans, but for most teams that's the majority of the fan base. Playing games on ABC and ESPN helps to build that fan base.
The Hokies want to win on the big stage. Well, the stage is set - now all they have to do is win!
(For more on ACC football TV schedules for other teams, please check out TV first 3 weeks