It has long been one of the mysteries of sports branding. New York, the centerpiece of the sports branding and business world, has been a college football graveyard. Yes, bars full of displaced college alumni flock to watch games with friends on Saturdays, the Heisman is housed there, and there are many other things to do on a Saturday, not to mention the perception that it is a pro town with two NFL teams. The casual sports fan in New York has never been engaged by local college teams in almost 50 years, save for St. John's terrific runs in hoops in the 1980's. The last team with any local cache on the football side was Fordham, a program which lost its national stance in the late 1940's and early 1950's. So can a local team capture the audience, the branding and the media attentio. Judging by announcements this week, Army my just be making that push. The Black Knights of the Hudson, just 30 miles north of the City, have long been one of the jewels of Saturday college football, not for their onfield play but for the pageantry and patriotism that comes with games at Michie Stadium. This week, along with the Yankees (who need to fill suites more than seats), Army announced a series of college football games with Notre Dame, Rutgers and Air Force at Yankee Stadium beginning in 2010, which will give Army a great local stage to compliment their games up the Hudson. Now can it parlay into great new branding and revenue for Arm. Maybe. It will become a great non-baseball sales tool for Yankee Stadium because of the opponents as much as Army. But with this week's announcement of a presenting sponsor for Army-Navy, a new coach, a huge void in a football team to root for in the New York area (Rutgers too will still try and fill that void), maybe just maybe the Black Knights can become New York's college football team.
Some other good reads…the Washington Post had a good profile of Ari Fleischer.…Foxsports.com's Matt Cronin has a good look at American tennis hopeful Sam Querry…the New York Times had a good profile of the Dolphins’ Ricky Williams…and wsj.com's Matt Futterman looks at how Pele can still be able to cash in on long-ago success.