Staff Editorial: Thursday Night Lights

NW Staff

On Thursday, Sept. 18, the NMU football Wildcats will appear on the national television stage for the first time in more than three decades when they face the Michigan Tech Huskies in the Superior Dome.

For Northern, the game, which will be broadcast on CBS College Sports Network, Fox Sports Network Detroit and SportsSouth, is a major stepping-stone into the national spotlight.

According to the NMU Web site, the game will be available to approximately 20 million people just via CBS College Sports Network. When they tune in to the game, many of those 20 million potential viewers will be hearing of Northern Michigan University for the first time ever. The images that they see on Thursday night’s live broadcast will be the first – and possibly only – impression that the university gets to make.

This national exposure could act as a magnet for potential students from out-of-market areas. This fits with NMU’s recently announced plans to begin recruiting in California, Texas, and Ohio. High school students flipping through the channels and seeing the world’s largest wooden dome packed with roaring fans might give a second look to a school they hadn’t heard of just days before.

The university has also created a pair of new promotional television ads that should air during the game. Not only will a vast audience hear the Northern name one extra time, but they will also see the opportunities available to students at Northern.

On top of this, the NMU and MTU Alumni Associations are getting together to host game-watching parties across the country. Alumni from the last four decades will be gathering in Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay and Washington, D.C. to watch the contest. These gatherings are certain to also spread the word about a small campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

When it comes to football, NMU will admittedly never be comparable to the larger, Division I schools in the state, but this is an opportunity for the school to show that we have something to offer, as well.

The average attendance for home football games last year was just under 4,000 people. The Superior Dome, however, is capable of seating more than 8,000 people, with standing room for several thousand more.

Students have two options. We can sit home and spend another night drinking and playing video games, or we can show up at the Dome, scream our lungs out and wave our oversized foam hands – and show the rest of the nation a little bit about NMU.