Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Stadium Zone: College Basketball (Part 2)

In Part I of our spotlight on the college basketball stadium world, in conjunction with our friends at Stadium Journey, we highlighted a few of the best (and a few of the worst) stadiums in the country. When it comes to college sports, however, there is often pride for more than just one's own school. For instance, who do you root for if your top rival is playing a top-ranked school from a different conference? Do you root for your rival, making your conference look good--or do you root for them to fail, hoping their season goes as poorly as possible? 

Either way, there's usually some sort of conference pride as well, bragging that the teams you beat (or lose tox) are quality wins (or rationalized losses). So, which conference is best of all? It's still a little too early to tell--as I mentioned in Part 1, just under 30% of all stadiums have been reviewed--but let's see what we've got so far:

To divert from my main focus for just a moment, I wanted to focus on the overall averages of every stadium reviewed. The average conference had a 3.1 rating, with a standard deviation of .56--assuming a fairly normal curve, any conference therefore with a 3.66 overall rating or higher was in the top 15% of the country. The Big 12, SEC, and Sun Belt conferences all fit above that number, but we can't really use those types of numbers with such overall representation. After next season, when Stadium Journey plans to have 200+ reviews done on college basketball, those numbers will make more sense. For now, we can only compare conferences to each other on a basic level and pick out a few interesting  overall numbers.

When you think about a typical stadium experience, what part usually stands out as the worst? Is it the commute, having to wait in parking lot lines both coming and going? What about technology in the stadium, with some older arenas making it impossible to find out anything other than the score? According to Stadium Journey's correspondents, there is one factor that is far worse than any other--stadium food. Every other category (besides "Extras," which is even more opinion-based) scores at least a 3.18 average across all conferences, but food falls at a mere 2.66. Fans of the Big 12, however, will be happy to know their food rates at a 3.80 overall, easily the best of any conference with 5 or more rankings. That ranking, combined with their 4.20 overall rating (so far), has the Big 12 on top the early standings. 

I was really hoping to be able to say more at this point, but the small data sample really stops me from doing so. But, faithful readers, do not panic--Stadium Journey has compiled data for EVERY major league stadium--that's the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL, and you can be sure that S, S, &S will be right on top of it. Baseball season is approaching....

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