Outside of Wieden+Kennedy, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis might be the best sports marketing professional in the country, even if that's not exactly his job description. At the very least, he is its most enthusiastic.
In the past decade, no one has done as much to promote the college game's early season as Hollis and Michigan State have done just the past two years. In 2011 Hollis and MSU spearheaded the Carrier Classic, a true spectacle, and became a part of the three-year Champions Classic, a marquee season-opening event that was for decades exactly the kind of thing November college hoops was missing. This year, Michigan State took the lead on another Veterans Day project, designing a game against Connecticut at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Now, Hollis wants to do something even crazier: He wants to play four Veterans Day games in one building -- all at the same time. From Seth Davis:
The details aren't finalized, but here it is: Next year on Veterans Day weekend, there will be four -- count 'em, four -- games taking place simultaneously at Cowboys Stadium, site of the 2014 Final Four. The games will begin 15 minutes apart and be held side by side (by side by side) in the giant facility. The purpose is to simulate the madness that takes place during the first week of the NCAA tournament. Only instead of the games taking place in four different cities, they'll be played in one town, under one roof.
"We're going to squeeze everything into a three-hour time period," Hollis told me. "We're talking with eight institutions right now that have a very high interest and have that weekend open, and we're going to partner with the 12 [military] bases that are around Dallas, so we can make it a celebration for the guys at Fort Hood and others."
Before you get all caught up in whether it's logistically doable, well, of course it is. Cowboys Stadium is really big. Its video screen (from what I've heard) is almost oppressively outsized. College basketball courts are small. Inside the building, and on TV, there would be both enough room, and enough space in your ADD-riddled frontal lobe, for all of this to happen.
To be honest, I just spent the past five minutes trying to think of reasons to be opposed to this. I don't want to watch four games at the same time! I want to focus on one! Why are we organizing four-ring circuses in Jerryworld when we could be touring the nation's great on-campus college basketball arenas? Let's play in the Palestra! But I can DVR the games I want to watch later, and the Palestra doesn't have 80,000 seats. The Palestra is smaller than Jerryworld's Jumbotron.
So, hey, if we're going to go crazy with this early season thing -- if we're going to start staging multiple carrier games, even if they keep getting cancelled -- we might as well go all the way.
Maybe one day someone will build an arena big enough to hold the entire NCAA tournament! That "someone" will probably be China, but oh well.