The Penn State White Out is one of the most incredible spectacles in all of sports especially in college sports, where traditions and rituals reign supreme.
This year’s game will be a top-25 matchup between No. 7 Penn State and No. 25 Iowa, but the impact of what happens between the white lines goes way deeper than the final score.
Its impact will be felt throughout Central Pennsylvania with hotels along Interstate 99 en route to State College and in State College sold out or going for well over $300 for the weekend. Communities like Altoona, Bellefonte, Boalsburg and Tyrone all reap the rewards of being in the White Out’s path.
White Outs provide memories for many within Central Pennsylvania and beyond, whether it’s as a fan or as a player.
“Not only is it impactful for us, you think about how many of our guys talk about their recruiting process and how the White Out had a big impact on that,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said Wednesday after practice. “You think about when we got here, a lot of the good players that were on the team talked about that five-overtime game win with Michigan. There were a ton of guys on our roster that experienced that.”
More than 110,000 people are expected to be in attendance for the game while it should stand as no shock that University Park will easily become one of the top-5 most populated cities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Saturday.
While 110,000 will be inside the stadium, roughly 100,000 if not more will be in the tailgate lots or watching the game at a local establishment.
The financial implications of a game of this magnitude far exceed the game’s result. Events like Saturday’s provide a rare level of financial successes.
What’s more is while the White Out’s impact on the community is great and impressive, the impact it has on Penn State itself trumps it all.
Earnings from parking alone will help finance athletic programs, and gate revenue from the game will also add to covering costs of the athletic department and its programs.
It’s a game that brings all focus to Happy Valley, and although it has major on-field implications, the implications are felt off it within the other programs who brilliantly use atmospheres like the White Out game to boost their recruiting efforts.
“It’s not just meaningful to our football program,” Franklin said. “This is a huge recruiting weekend for the other 30 sports as well. It’ll be in some ways a zoo this weekend. I think this is an opportunity that the other sports use to show the atmosphere and community that we have here. If you come to Penn State to play field hockey, this is the type of support you’re going to get.”
That support will be seen far and wide come Saturday and is on full display each time Penn State plays on national TV.
“This is the type of community that you’ll be able to experience and then not only that, all of these nationally televised games, but also specifically the White Out,” Franklin said. “It’s more than just athletics. It’s an opportunity to showcase the entire university.”