CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Regular-season major college football is more of an NFL market attraction these days. Just check the current and future schedules.
The new Yankee Stadium is getting into the act. So is Soldier Field. Ditto the new Meadowlands home of the Giants and Jets, and the Georgia Dome. Jerry Jones is staging Texas-sized neutral dates at the Cowboys' palace in Arlington. The Alamodome in San Antonio is on that list, too.
Already deep into the game, however, is FedEx Field. The Washington Redskins' 91,700-seat stadium in Landover, Md., announced two more dates last week, including a BYU-West Virginia game for September 2016.
For the Mountaineers, it's a bus trip for a $2.25 million guarantee. It gets WVU into the nation's capital market in a season when Maryland will visit Morgantown. It's an attractive game against a national program that will be a football independent (and could be a BCS player by then).
It didn't happen overnight, however. The Redskins discussed several teams and several years with WVU, before the Cougars - looking for high profile games as they hope to become the "Mormon Notre Dame" in football - were the pairing.
"It's something we've been working on for the better part of two years," said WVU Deputy Athletic Director Mike Parsons, the point man on Mountaineer football scheduling. "With it being in 2016, there was no rush to have conversations every day.
"The other names are ones you heard of (he wouldn't reveal them). The stadium is looking for schools and matchups that will sell tickets. The way it works out, with our (recently signed) deal with Maryland, we'll be going over there three straight years (2015 and '17 at Byrd Stadium).
"It's a great opportunity for us. It's a name, quality opponent, a marquee game, in an area in which we have a lot of alumni presence. We talked off and on about various scenarios, but BYU is a very good opponent, a national name.
"We have a good fan base over there. We always easily sell our allotment of 4,000-5,000 tickets when we play at Maryland, and when we play Georgetown over there in basketball, we have a really good turnout of Mountaineers."
The WVU Alumni Association reports more than 35,000 Mountaineer grads in the Washington-Baltimore metro area (including Frederick, Md., and Martinsburg). The BYU game will make plenty of money for both programs and the stadium-owning Redskins.
Although there have been media reports that BYU also is getting $2.25 million, the private university doesn't talk dollars - and it's unlikely the Utah school is getting those kind of bucks as a "visiting" team.
For example, when Boise State downed Virginia Tech at FedEx earlier this month before a sellout crowd of 86,587 (the Redskins didn't sell some partially obstructed view seats it peddles for NFL games), the Hokies received a $2.35 million guarantee; Boise took home $1.25 million.
There's another piece of the BYU-WVU arrangement that has been mostly overlooked that was crucial. The telecast rights are under contract to the Big East Conference, with WVU as the designated home team.
"When you play (home-and-home), the home team owns that TV rights," Parsons said. "When you only play one, you have to define who owns them. We've talked a lot before about how the Big East TV package needs quality non-conference opponents. BYU gives us that.