Arkansas Curtails Little Rock Tradition
The Arkansas football team no longer will travel to Little Rock for two home games a year.
The university will pay War Memorial Stadium about $1.2 million during the next three seasons to avoid the double trip, which takes about three hours. The school did announce an extension for one game a year in Little Rock through 2018, the Associated Press reported, but not too long ago the Razorbacks made the trip three or even four times a season.
"The agreement will allow us ... flexibility," said Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, referencing the SEC's potential move to a nine-game conference schedule
Arkansas' on-campus stadium seats 72,000 compared to 54,000 at War Memorial. In addition to avoiding what first-year coach Bret Bielema dubbed an extra road game, the school is expected to generate close to $1 million more per game on campus.
An announced crowd of less than 46,000 attended Saturday's loss to Mississippi State in Little Rock. The Razorbacks will play in War Memorial on Oct. 18 of next year against Georgia in its lone 2014 appearance.
Though Little Rock is an important market in Arkansas (it is the state capital and holds a population about 10 times that of Fayetteville), it's unusual to see a BCS-conference program playing multiple home games off campus in 2013. It's been 15 years since Alabama and Auburn played the Iron Bowl in Birmingham, for example, also the largest city in the state. The Tide and Tigers have long since elected to stage the game on campus for revenue and recruiting.