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RIPPLE EFFECT: What Syracuse and the Carrier Dome will look like without fans

first_img Comments Published on September 9, 2020 at 11:56 pm Contact Danny: dremerma@syr.edu | @DannyEmerman,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Despite the unknowns of the 2020 season, Syracuse faces one certainty: Almost every game will be held in an empty stadium. For now, that includes the recently renovated Carrier Dome. There will be no deafening third downs. No ‘O’ chant in the Star-Spangled Banner. No Dome nachos. “I think it’s going to be really weird,” said preseason All-American safety Andre Cisco. “I’ve seen the NBA guys do it, and they haven’t flinched at all. It’s a lot different with football, especially college football, when the fans are on your team, basically. It’s tough, but I guess we’ll have to do it for the sake of the game.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse is working on contingency plans should Gov. Andrew Cuomo change course on banning spectators at athletic events, Director of Athletics John Wildhack said. But that seems unlikely given New York state’s cautious reopening process.Having a fanless Carrier Dome for football, SU Athletics’ biggest source of revenue, will impact Syracuse’s bottom line. The ripple effects of athletes playing in empty stadiums, likely for the first time in their lives, will extend far beyond the Dome’s concrete walls. An empty Dome will lead to millions in losses for the university and surrounding areas, experts told The Daily Orange. SU football generated $43.8 million of the athletics department’s record $99.8 million total revenue as of 2018-19, the most recent data available. Jeremy Losak, a professor of sports economics at Syracuse, estimates that roughly 20-30% of that football money came from ticket sales. “It’s just going to be eerie,” said Danny Liedka, CEO and president of Visit Syracuse. “This is a sports town, this is a Syracuse town. I think there’s an emotional component that people are going to suffer, too. You get to go there, get to cheer on your team, enjoy friendships and family together in a great setting.”Visit Syracuse is a branch of the Greater Syracuse Chamber of Commerce focused on growing Onondaga County’s tourism industry. SU sporting events drive millions into the local economy from fans who come from outside central New York and spend money at games, hotels and restaurants, Liedka said. But without fans, that revenue dries up. “It’s a big hit,” Liedka said.,“The fall and the winter were potentially that light at the end of the summer,” Liedka said. “Hotel workers, I mean, 86% of all hotel workers in this county are not working right now. They don’t have to clean a room or don’t have to service a guest, they don’t need those people back. So they’re going to stay unemployed.” The Crowne Plaza on Almond Street reduced its staff by about 70%, from 100 people to between 25 and 30, general manager Kyle Hares said in an email. No fans means fewer transient guests this fall, which will hamper the hotel industry’s comeback, Hares said.Beyond Syracuse, programs across the country are handling the prospect of no fans in varying ways. Some Atlantic Coast Conference schools are planning to operate stadiums at limited capacity to recover some of the losses. The three times Syracuse could play in front of fans — at between 20% and 30% capacity — are away games at Clemson, Louisville and Notre Dame. The ACC will reportedly allow home teams to pump in artificial crowd noise to replicate a typical gameday environment. Boston College launched a program where students can pay $25 for a personalized cardboard cutout in the stands. A team official couldn’t yet provide specific plans for in-stadium accommodations at Syracuse.On the field, some players anticipate a scrimmage-like atmosphere, while others worry about not getting an extra boost from fans on key plays. Cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu said players might be more “locked in” since they’ll be able to hear their coaches from the sidelines more clearly. “That’s definitely going to be weird at first,” defensive end Kingsley Jonathan said. “The main reason you play in the Dome is for the energy that everybody brings from the school and the community.”,But the reality of the fan effect, according to some studies, is that energy — from foam fingers to fight songs — doesn’t actually change player performance that much. A 2010 study of Italian soccer matches played in empty stadiums found that home field advantage disappeared, and it had almost nothing to do with the players. Performance — shot percentage, passing accuracy and defense — remained the same as before fanless games. Syracuse’s defense probably didn’t get that goal line stop because the student section yelled a little bit louder. Home field advantage does exist for a different reason, though: the officials. The biggest impact of the absence of fans is that home teams getting more favorable calls effectively disappears. The same study concluded favorable calls for the home team dropped by 23-70% in empty stadiums. Toby Moskowitz, a Yale economics professor and co-author of “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won,” said that conclusion applies to all sports, including college football. Social influence, a psychology theory stating that humans’ behaviors are affected subconsciously by an environment, explains the difference in officiating, Moskowitz said. In an official’s case, that environment is 49,057 Carrier Dome fans screaming.“It’s not like we’re seeing referees making bad calls on obvious calls,” Moskowitz said. “They’ll call it against the home team if it’s clear-cut. It’s when they’re not sure. That’s when they tend to side with the home team.” Since Babers took over the program in 2016, Syracuse has gone 15-10 (.600) in the Carrier Dome and 7-14 (.333) on the road. The signature moments of Babers’ teams — upsetting No. 17 Virginia Tech in 2016 and the national defending champions Clemson in 2017 — both came in the Dome and led to “Whose House?” postgame speeches.Syracuse also led the ACC in penalty yards per game (73.9), so losing the benefit of the doubt at home won’t help the Orange’s cause either. The flipside of losing home field advantage is that Syracuse’s opponents do, too. SU’s road record could potentially improve this year through playing in essentially neutral sites. There will be no fans at either of the Orange’s first two games, at North Carolina and at Pittsburgh.“I guess we don’t have to deal with no trashy fans,” safety Eric Coley quipped Sept. 1. Those teams — and their college towns — will be dealing with the same fanless stadium ripple effects as Syracuse. Some strange, some obvious, but all real. “It’s going to feel different,” Coley added. “But football’s going to stay football.”last_img read more

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Retailers disappointed at consumers’ weak holiday buying

first_imgA phone company manager, she waited until Christmas Eve to make a single purchase at a major chain store this season, favoring Web retailers and designer outlet stores offering deep bargains. “I am on a tighter budget than I’ve ever been,” said Jones, who walked into the Macy’s at Westfarms Mall in Farmington, Conn., on Monday morning to take advantage of a sale. In the past, she easily spent $100 each on her six nieces and nephews. This year, it was more like $50. “If it’s not on sale, I won’t buy it,” Jones said. MasterCard found that online spending rose 22.4 percent, a strong showing, given fears that Web purchases would slow after a decade of impressive growth. Clothing sales rose a meager 1.4 percent, but there was a stark split between genders. Sales for women’s apparel dropped 2.4 percent. Sales for men’s apparel rose 2.3 percent. Analysts said women complained of dreary fashions. “Even when the dust settles, women’s clothing is likely to be one of the weakest categories in retail this season,” said John D. Morris, senior retail analyst at Wachovia Securities. Luxury purchases rose 7.1 percent, as the well-heeled splurged on $600 Marc Jacobs trench coats and $800 Christian Louboutin shoes. Footwear, at all prices, proved a bright spot for the clothing industry, with sales surging 6 percent. Weak sales of clothing left retailers jostling for the deepest discounts during the last weekend to drum up interest from consumers. Martin & Osa knocked 50 percent off women’s wool sweaters. Gymboree issued $25 coupons to shoppers who spent $50 on its children’s clothing. Even the markdown-averse Abercrombie & Fitch dusted off its clearance signs, selling down coats with faux fur trim for $79, reduced from $99. The American consumer has perplexed analysts this season. Retail experts confidently predicted that shoppers, uncertain about the economy, would trade down from midprice chains, like Macy’s and Nordstrom, to discounters with steeper discounts. To a certain degree, they did, mobbing low-price chains like T.J Maxx, and Marshall’s. But the discount retailer Target has struggled this season. On Tuesday, it said its sales could fall by 1 percent in December compared with last year, an anomaly for a retailer accustomed to at least 4 percent monthly sales growth over the last three years. In the end, analysts said, the biggest winners arm likely to be Wal-Mart, which emerged as the undisputed low-price leader this season, and Best Buy, which became the destination for competitively priced electronics. Much of this season’s action appeared to unfold on the Web, which spared consumers a $3-a-gallon drive to the mall. Like MasterCard, ComScore, a research firm, found that online spending rose steadily to $26.3 billion. ComScore measured spending during the 51 days from Nov. 1 to Dec. 21. The biggest day for online shopping was Monday, Dec. 10 ($881 million), not the Monday after Thanksgiving ($733 million), known as Cyber Monday in the retail world, because consumers typically flock to the Web at work after a holiday weekend of store-browsing. Unsatisfied with sales so far, dozens of retailers, from the high-end to the low, will start slashing prices this morning. Kohl’s is scheduled to hold a sale with 60 to 70 percent discounts; Macy’s is knocking down prices by 50 to 70 percent, and dangling a $10 coupon for purchases of $25 or more; some clothing will be 50 percent off at Saks Fifth Avenue from 8 a.m. to noon; and Toys “R” Us is offering a buy-one-get-one-half-off promotion.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonWhat did eventually sell was generally marked down – once, if not twice – which could hurt retailers’ profits in the final three months of year. “Stores are buying those sales at a cost,” said Sherif Mityas, a partner at the consulting firm A.T. Kearney, which specializes in retailing. MasterCard’s SpendingPulse data, scheduled to be released Wednesday, cover the 32-day period from Nov. 23 to Dec. 24. It is based on purchases made by more than 300 million MasterCard debit and credit card users and broader estimates of spending with cash and checks. It encompasses sales at stores and on the Internet, and of gift cards, gasoline and meals at restaurants, but is not adjusted for inflation. Excluding gas purchases, overall holiday sales rose a lackluster 2.4 percent, the credit card company said. The final numbers are at the low end of MasterCard’s already modest expectations, which were reduced in the middle of the season. So retail analysts and economists, who scrutinize holiday spending for clues about the health of the American economy, are unlikely to be impressed by the results. Eboni Jones, 32, of Windsor, Conn., epitomized the problem for stores. American consumers, uneasy about the economy and unimpressed by the merchandise in stores, delivered the bleak holiday shopping season retailers had expected, if not feared, according to one early but influential projection. Spending from Thanksgiving to Christmas rose just 3.6 percent over last year, the weakest performance in at least four years, according to MasterCard Advisors, a division of the credit card company. By comparison, sales grew 6.6 percent in 2006 and 8.7 percent in 2005. “There was not a recipe for a pickup in sales growth,” said Michael McNamara, vice president for research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors, citing higher gas prices, a slowing housing market and a tight credit market. Strong demand at the start of the season for a handful of must-have electronics, like digital frames and portable GPS navigation systems, trailed off in December. And robust sales of luxury products could not make up for sluggish sales of jewelry and women’s clothing. last_img read more

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