Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Biggest event in Fresno history?

Short answer? Yes.

So driving home from work today I hear The Bee's Mike Oz as a guest on the Kelly Carr Show talking about this very subject. Mike Oz, who's The Bee's featured music/entertainment writer, has been blogging about the question of what's the biggest event in Fresno history? Being that he's more into music than sports, he talked about big concerts. He says Rolling Stones is the biggest in Fresno. And being that he's a good, knowledgeable guy, I'll take his word for it.

But there's just no way a concert is as big as a Fresno State football game. Especially one in which Fresno State is ranked No. 21 and Wisconsin is No. 10. Just consider this:

  • This game is on national TV... what local concert has ever been on national TV?
  • It's the first time two top 25 teams have met in Bulldog Stadium, and the first time a team from the Big 10 Conference has visited Fresno.
  • This game will have 42,000 to 44,000 in attendance... the Rolling Stones paled in comparison.
  • Plus, it's impossible for the Rolling Stones concert to be the biggest event in Fresno history. It was held in the Save Mart Center, which is an on-campus basketball arena at Fresno State. Hence, if it weren't for sports being the big show in town, there would be no Save Mart Center and no Rolling Stones, Madonna, Britney Spears, Elton John, etc.
  • It's actually impossible for ANY concert held at the Save Mart Center to be the biggest event in Fresno history. If that were the case, the opening itself of the Save Mart Center would be the biggest event. While huge for a basketball arena (16,000 give/take), Save Mart Center is still much smaller than Bulldog Stadium (41,031).
Now, consider this (and don't get all huffy and puffy music lovers. As a self-admitted Fresno State sports nut, how can anyone compare a concert to a sporting event? You've all heard the songs that are played before the concert -- probably hundreds or thousands of times. You know pretty much exactly what's going to happen when you sit down to watch the Rolling Stones (for example). Heck, you're probably even singing along.

Sports is a whole different ballgame (yep, that's a pun). The buildup is magnified by the fact none of us really know what's going to happen at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday when the 'Dogs and Badgers take the field. We know who's on the team, but we have no certainty who will win. It's a competition. An unknown. And it's our home team. As Fresnans, we're ALL represented by this university and this football program. Pat Hill said it best by referring to the sports program as the "porchlight" to the entire Fresno community and the Valley. It generates the most headlines for Fresno (yes, even more than the weird sausage crime), and it gets more people nationwide talking about Fresno and familiar with Fresno than anything else you can every think of. Heck, it even indirectly makes your Fresno State degree more valuable and respected by making Fresno State a household name.

This game that goes down on Saturday night in Fresno will never be duplicated anywhere else. A concert though, is nearly replicated at every stop of a band's tour. Usually the same songs, same agenda, same stage, same special effects.

That said, this doesn't have to be a line in the sand between Fresno State alums and Fresno music lovers. We should all embrace this as an opportunity to give the nation a little taste of what Fresno has to offer. Take it as an opportunity to be proud of where you're from and where you live and get out there and show your support. Heck, maybe we could even get the Rolling Stones to perform the national anthem before this week's big game!?


  1. First off, I appreciate the plug, but I do want to add a few things:

    1. If you heard the very beginning of the segment, you would have heard me say that you can't compare a sporting event and a non-sporting event, becuase there's always going to be poeple who care a great deal about sports and people who don't care at all. It's apples and oranges.

    2. Coming off that, I never said the Rolling Stones was bigger. I said if you were going to pick a concert to compare to, it would be the Rolling Stones. Again, I don't think you can make that call, because it's all about someone's perspective. To you this is a big deal. To me, not so much. I won't even watch. And I watched the last game of the CWS. I watched the USC game a few years back. I'd say those -- even though they weren't here -- were bigger local events because of the way they had people glued to TVs and radios.

    3. I don't think being on national TV is all that big of a deal at this point. That argument gets thrown out all the time, but it's not that valid considering how many football games are on "national TV." As if ESPN2 is all that prestigious. And is if everybody out on the East Coast is really going to be watching. And people from Fresno are on national TV a lot. Shoot, we got a reality TV pipeline out here, it seems. Shout out to Trisha from the Real World.

    4. If you want to bring up tickets, then how about this? (I'm playing Devil's Advocate on this one). The Wisconsin game sold out just recently, after how long? The Rolling Stones sold out in a matter of hours. Yes, the number of tickets is bigger -- but at least the Rolling Stones didn't have to beat Rutgers before before it filled all the seats.

  2. You make a very convincing argument, though it's almost like comparing apples and oranges. In terms of economic impact, definitely Bulldogs football is the biggest generator. For sheer numbers, the Wisconsin game will win hands down. But biggest event in Fresno? That's a tough one. My vote would be the advent of irrigated agriculture.
    It will definitely be sweet if the 'dogs win though.

  3. Oh my goodness! Of course you're going to defend your point on this, but your defense is swiss cheese. I understand this isn't a competition, and to me, the concerts, games and all the rest of the positive publicity are awesome for our community, so we're debating the greater of two greats.

    So in response (in numerical order to yours):

    1. I didn't hear the segment, but to your point in the comment, they are the same. They're not apples to oranges (which is a lousy analogy to begin with because it doesn't make sense, but that's for another time) because they both fall under the biggest event category. They're both huge events for the community. Plus, they would have never had you on the show if they didn't feel they were comparable.

    2. Why won't you even watch the game? Because you don't want to follow the crowd? It better not be one of those I-do-something-different-than-the-mainstream-because-I'm-a-free-spirit situations. Is it in protest of something. The fact that you know the magnitude of this event and refuse to watch is disheartening. If it is for another reason, like you really like san jose or something, then admit that. I understand you're not hugely into sports, but this is a chance to put a positive image out to the nation for our community. You saw what the CWS did for perception. Look at all the recent financial donations to the Athletic Department. You have to appreciate that. To me, that should at least increase interest to know that you can help make that happen. Your points on the other events are valid.

    3. For Fresno State, being on national TV is a big deal. It's part of recruiting, getting the sports media to notice our team (for rankings) and getting thousands (yes thousands) of other college football fans around the country to see our team. If you've ever talked to an out-of-state fan, you would see that many (and in my case almost all of them) know of Fresno because they see our teams on TV. They respect our program and attitude and what we stand for. Without national TV, we don't get this stuff. Go take a poll of people from outside Cali and ask where Trisha is from, if they even know of her.

    4. The Rolling Stones did sell out in a matter of hours, but so does WWE wrestling. I think we would agree they are not of the same magnitude. That means nothing except for the fact that people who have never seen the Stones live get to see them before they die. But if they wanted to, they could go to SF to see them. Fresno State sold 10,000 more season tickets than the entire concert sold tickets months before this football season started, not after beating Rutgers. And for many, that's a multi-thousand dollar, yearly investment. Do you really think the Stones could sellout every concert for those same ticket prices forever. No way. Also, you have people willing to spend $60 when they're not even sports fans, just to be a part of the game.

    And this is just me voiding your points, not adding additional reasons as to why a concert (or other non-sporting event to date) doesn't measure up with a Fresno State football game of this magnitude. I would LOVE to have a huge music scene in Fresno and I appreciate everything that the arts do for our community. But right now, they don't measure up.

  4. To start off, I DID hear the whole segment, beginning to end.

    1. I too appreciate everything big that happens in Fresno (prob. more than most) because I love Fresno so very dearly.

    2. I never said that you said the Rolling Stones was bigger. Sorry if that wasn't clear, but re-read my blog post. I wrote you said Rolling Stones was the biggest concert. So that's the one I used to show why the biggest concert in Fresno history wouldn't even match the top 10 sporting events (we haven't even talked about the '83 NIT celebration)!

    3. No one knows/cares about reality TV people and where they're from. Come on, you dislike reality TV more than anyone don't you?

    4. Check this. Like DC3 said, Fresno State sold more season tickets than total concert tickets (a long long time ago). And do you know how expensive seat options are in football? You have to donate a scholarship or a portion of one to the Bulldog Foundation just to get the privilege of owning your own seat licenses. We're talking thousands of dollars in investment there. And it goes to a good cause of helping student-athletes get an education.

  5. Look you two, I realize I'm not going to win with you because you're uber fanatics and that's cool ..

    But at least it admit it's all about perspective.

    At least admit that people in Fresno who don't care about Fresno State football might not see this as the biggest event ever. That's all I'm saying. If you can't agree with that, then you're Pat Hill's facial hair is blocking your vision.

    For people like yourselves, yes it is the biggest event ever in Fresno. So have fun. Enjoy it.

    But I take issue with DC3's insinuation that I should care about this game. And that's where the problems lies for me.

    You guys sort of made this arts vs. sports -- so it's not like I'm like "Yo, it's your DUTY to support this concert" or whatever. No, I get it. Some people are into music. Some people aren't. You can't shake ever person who doesn't agree with you and demand they change their mind.

    I won't be watching the game because 1. I'm not that interested. I'll check the score out at some point that night, I'm sure, because I'm a Fresno news guy and I have to keep up on stuff like that. 2. I got other stuff to do that I'm personally more interested in than that game.

    OMG, sue me, revoke my Fresnan license and never let me eat tri-tip again.

    I also (laughably) take issue with the assumption that I'm not that into sports because I don't like Fresno State football? You wanna talk about swiss-cheese logic -- well that's a big jump of conclusions cliff, buddy.

    I love sports -- as much as music. But again, if I don't like Fresno State, I must not like sports, right? Because EVERYBODY in Fresno must have an undying love for Fresno State. Puhlease.

    And for the record, I threw the reality TV thing out there to boo-hoo the point of "national TV." Fresno's on national TV a lot -- maybe not in the ways that you want, but it is. Still, national TV has nothing to do with this argument. It's just something that gets tossed around in debates like this as some silver bullet.

    "But, but, but ... we're on ESPN."

    Yes, I understand the effect that has on awareness of the school and its athletics program (not so much the city)-- but when we're talking whether it's the biggest even to take place in Fresno, how many people in the rest of the country are watching it shouldn't matter right?

    Or else, I go back to the sausage story -- because that story is EVERYWHERE. And I mean in that world that exists outside of sports.

    That's the only point I'm trying to make. And DC, you might think it's weak -- but yes, it is apples and orange. Or red meat and tofu. Or Coke and Pepsi. Or whatever. Some people in this town breathe Fresno State football. Others don't. I think we can all co-exist. And I also think we might have different opinions on the biggest event to ever happen in Fresno.

  6. Mike, c'mon man. You last two posts are basically saying exactly the same thing. Don't make us say the same thing again too...

    How many different ways can we say we'd both support and be proud of any big concert or show or festival or anything in the arts? Because IT'S GOOD FOR FRESNO! Variety is good. Anything popular or big-name is good for the community.

    So is Fresno State sports. I'm sorry if it irks you for whatever reason, but Fresno State sports is arguably the most visible part of Fresno (either that or its agricultural roots). Sports often trumps music. Look at Austin, Texas. Sorry. That's just the way it is.

    But that doesn't mean this has to be a either-or, sports vs. music debate. It should be an all comers of Fresno uniting to be proud of everything that is Fresno!

    This is just like the people who hangout in Tower and talk trash on everyone who goes to River Park...it's ridiculous.

  7. Come on Eddie, don't act like you're sonnin' me on this one.

    I've had one point from the very beginning. I made it on the radio, on my blog, in my comments here.

    That is: It's all about perspective.

    Yet you're still not admitting that I'm right on that. You still won't admit that SOME people might not think this is the biggest event ever in Fresno.

    I fully admitted that for people like you, this is the biggest event. That's fine. I respect that. I have no problem with it.

    Nor do I have a problem with Fresno State getting attention. It doesn't irk me at all.

    I just see how for some people this is not that big of a deal. Yet nowhere -- not here, not on The Beehive -- have you been like "Yeah, I can see how some people might not care as much as me."

    Instead, you've been Bulldoged about arguing how great this is. By all mean, we welcome the comments on the site and I really enjoy the discourse, but I think it actually irks YOU that some people don't care.

    I agree with you on the Tower/River Park thing ... which is why I've been saying from the beginning ... IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE.

    I don't think people should only hang out in the Tower or only at River Park, but I accept reality and know that people have different interests. Which is why I've been trying to say since the beginning ...


    I'm going to stop now -- lest I seem like Pat Hill repeating himself with his anybody, anytime, anywhere stuff ...

    Just know I have no problem with you guys riding this wave and having a blast on Saturday. I truly hope it's the greatest thing ever for you. But I hope you're also OK with people who don't think the same.


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