/Ivy League Embraces Friday Night Football, in Small Doses

Ivy League Embraces Friday Night Football, in Small Doses

Most references to “Friday Night Lights” are to the best-selling book on Texas high school football, the ensuing film, or the network TV show derived from both that lives on in reruns.

This year, in a departure from tradition, the term also applies to a marketing campaign for Ivy League football. The league and the cable network NBCSN are in the middle of a six-game package that, by the time it concludes with the Yale-Harvard game on Nov. 21, will have included five Friday night games and featured all eight conference teams.

That is a significant departure for a league in which early Saturday afternoon kickoffs were as traditional as the ivy that covered the brick walls of campus buildings and tailgating typically began and ended in daylight. But the Ivy League’s teams, and their fans, have embraced night football: Harvard’s attendance is about 25 percent higher when it plays at night, and Pennsylvania’s game against Yale last week produced its biggest crowd of the season.

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