BYU football: Cougars have played many neutral-site games in NFL stadiums over the years
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Neutral-site games in college football offer teams unique opportunities.
Such games allow for fans outside of a team's standard market footprint to see their school live while (most of the time) not allowing the opponent a significant home-field advantage. These games can also present an opportunity for extra revenue streams through sponsorships, ticket and concession sales, and the sale of additional TV broadcast rights, depending on the type of game and venue.
As reported by the Deseret News' Jeff Call Tuesday, the BYU football team considers neutral-site games important to its scheduling strategy. Most modern neutral-site games take place in NFL stadiums — venues more than capable of providing fans a first-class experience as they cheer on their team.
Since BYU ventured into the independent football landscape, the ability to occasionally schedule games in neutral stadiums, enhanced by the clout of national cable network ESPN, has aided BYU's ability to find and play quality opponents on a national stage. Additionally, bowl games, played in neutral locations, regularly produce quality opponents and high-profile matchups.
BYU has played in several neutral-site games at NFL stadiums over the years.
Note: Several matchups between other universities and the Cougars were played in current and former NFL stadiums but cannot be considered neutral-site games because those venues also served as the home venue for BYU's opponent at the time. Those matchups were:
Oct. 2, 1976: 8-0 win vs. San Diego State at San Diego Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Nov. 9, 1979: 31-17 win vs. Long Beach State at Anaheim Stadium (L.A. Rams)
Nov. 24, 1979: 63-14 win vs. San Diego State at San Diego Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Sep. 5, 1981: 31-8 win vs. Long Beach State at Anaheim Stadium (L.A. Rams)
Oct. 17, 1981: 27-7 win vs. San Diego State at Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Oct. 22, 1983: 38-34 win vs. San Diego State at Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Nov. 29, 1986: 3-10 loss vs. San Diego State at Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego Chargers)
Dec. 3, 1988: 41-17 loss vs. Miami in the Orange Bowl (Miami Dolphins)
Sep. 27, 1997: 19-16 win vs. SMU in the Cotton Bowl (Dallas Cowboys)
Oct. 11, 1997: 14-27 loss vs. Rice at Rice Stadium (Houston Oilers)
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