Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Stadium Zone: College Basketball (Part 1)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do some work on the side for an up-and-coming website known as Stadium Journey and if you haven't been there, I highly recommended going over and checking it out. It's the perfect website for anybody going to a stadium they've never been to--they rate every stadium they review on a 7-point "FANFARE" scale:
  • Food

  • Atmosphere

  • Neighborhood

  • Fans

  • Access

  • Return on Investment

  • Extras

  • These items are scored on a 0 (worst) to 5 (best) scale, and the average is taken for the overall stadium score. Reviewers also add in their own take on the stadium, including good local places to eat and the best seats to snag. So, after doing a few reviews for Paul Swaney and his staff, I realized that what Stadium Journey also provided was a huge amount of data ripe for interpretation. With correspondents around the country, visiting stadiums from MLB and NHL to minor league baseball and college basketball/football venues, they've put together an interesting assortment of ratings, which I started to put together and see if any trends have emerged. Keep reading to see what's going on with the College BB ratings (so far)...

    There are currently 346 Division I basketball schools, playing in 32 conferences, all of which (besides the Great West Conference) get automatic bids to March Madness. So far, Stadium Journey has only reviewed 94 of these arenas, at the end of their first full college hoops season. That only accounts for only 27.2% of all Division I arenas in the country, and not only that, the conferences are not evenly represented. There were only 3 ACC schools reviewed (BC, UNC, and GT), 2 from the  Atlantic 10, only 3 SEC stadiums, and none at all from a few of the mid-majors (Southern Conference, Ivy; one each from C-USA, OVC, NEC, and others).

    However, not all was lost. A few conferences had over 5 stadium reviews: the Big East (9 reviews) , Big 10 (11), Big 12 (5), Big West (5), Horizon (6), Mid-American (5), Missouri Valley (7), and Patriot League (5) all had solid representation. Since this was a decent mix of high-major, mid-major, and low(er)-major, I figured we might as well see what sticks out so far.

    Only two stadiums in the entire country rated at a 2.0 or lower, regardless of the league: Chicago State, with a 1.1 overall score, and DePaul with a 1.7. The only other high-major stadiums that were under a 3.0 overall were Providence (2.9), Rutgers (2.1), Illinois (2.3), Ohio State (2.9), and Penn State (2.6). 

    On the flip side, a bunch of mid-majors scored very well: Weber State (4.0), Butler (4.6--tied with Kansas for the best overall college hoops score thus far), Missouri State (4.0), Northern Iowa (4.1), Brigham Young (4.3), North Texas (4.0), and Western Kentucky (4.3).

    Tomorrow: How'd the conferences hold up? Who had the best food? What's the "average" American stadium look like?


    1. Excited to see where the series goes. Not sure how deep your statistical analysis will go, but I am certainly curious to how useful the FANFARE scoring system is, and how reliable it is as an accurate assessment tool. Can't wait for part 2

    2. Well there's only so far it can go (regarding college hoops) for now, I'm just pointing out some interesting stuff through season one. But I'm going to be using the MLB stadium reviews later this week/early next week.