Why is Penn State Football Playing on Black Friday vs. Michigan State at Ford Field?

Penn State Football

Ford Field in Detroit, Mi.

Penn State Football and Michigan State announced this week that the annual Land Grant Trophy game for 2023 will be held on Black Friday November 24th at Ford Field instead of its usual Saturday spot. So why the sudden change?

According to Pete Thamel from ESPN, “Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State recently agreed to concessions to make short-term sacrifices to help the [B1G]”.

While the NBC deal was announced in August of last year averaging almost $1 billion per year, the deals “aren’t done” according to an industry source quoted by Thamel.

“More than $70 million in total is suddenly in flux” due to outstanding issues that were not ironed out by former Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. One major issue remaining has been the historic “tolerance” that the Big Ten has allowed through its previous media contracts for teams not to play night games after the first weekend in November.


According to Thamel, NBC “wasn’t aware until well after the initial contract was signed this summer that [Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State] had historic tolerances that were part of prior television arrangements and would resist being available [for late November night games].”

At least for the 2023 season, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan State have agreed to help the B1G keep as much revenue as possible under the new media deal, which involved concessions to play November night games.

While Penn State had agreed to help the B1G with concessions, Penn State’s leadership had not agreed to the Black Friday game with Michigan State before the game was scheduled according to Thamel.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that Penn State had not agreed to the game before it was scheduled, Penn State will indeed play Michigan State in a short week on Black Friday at Ford Field.

As the media deal with NBC moves forward, expect more schedule announcements and concessions from schools in an effort to keep as much value in the new media deal as possible.


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