Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne addressed a question Tuesday from announcer Mike Jurecki of XTRA Sports 910-AM concerning the Wildcats’ scheduled game at UNLV in September.
After discussing Arizona’s game with BYU in 2016 scheduled for the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Jurecki stated: “I’m also hearing that maybe the UNLV game next year could be in Glendale.”
“You did, ha?” Byrne answered in a playful tone, drawing laughter from Jurecki and co-host Dan Bickley during the Bickley & MJ Show.
“Can you break some news here Greg?” Bickley said.
“Wow, that’s an interesting comment,” Byrne said. “Well, right now we’re scheduled to play the University of Las Vegas in their stadium (Sept. 7) and that’s really where it is right now. Has there been discussions of other ideas? You know? You never know.
“But as of right now we are still playing in Las Vegas.”
UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium seats only 40,000 compared to 63,400 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rebels traditionally do not draw significant crowds to their home games. UNLV, which has former UA athletic director Jim Livengood working in the same capacity, averaged only 15,208 fans in seven home games last season.
UNLV moving its home game to Glendale would be a positive financial move for Livengood. The Rebels play at Arizona Stadium in 2014 and Byrne has mentioned he will not move games from Arizona Stadium “at the expense of (businesses in) Tucson.”
Byrne mentioned the fact that Southern Miss moved its scheduled home game against Nebraska this season to Lincoln for budgetary reasons. UNLV, which flirted with the idea of dropping its football program a decade ago, is also in the same penny-pinching position.
“If there’s ever a road game where somebody would like to move it to Glendale, hey, that could be a potential idea,” Byrne told Bickley and Jurecki. “Again, if there is an opportunity for us to be out in Glendale for a game that makes sense, or for that matter at Chase (Field in downtown Phoenix), if there was ever a game after the baseball season that can make sense too, we’re certainly for all that.
“As of right now, the one that we know for sure that will happen is the BYU game in 2016 in Glendale and it gives us something to talk about in the Phoenix market over the next few years.”
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner