News and Tribune

Z_CNHI News Service

October 8, 2013

Game attendance drops as college football fans shun a bad deal

Let me count the ways college football is seeing a continued decline in attracting fans to stadiums: Overpriced tickets, uncertain starting times, traffic jams, overpriced hotel rooms, some night games ending around midnight, overpriced (again) concessions, long television delays for commercials, terrible opponents, long reviews of disputed plays, parking lot problems, drunks, mid-week games and last but not least -- a lousy team.

It wasn’t always this way, but colleges sold their souls to TV networks and the marriage with big business left fans to deal with many inconveniences and price gouging. 

Here’s a number that should alarm most athletic directors. As reported in The Birmingham News, through the first five weeks of the 2013 season, attendance at Football Bowl Subdivision games is down 3 percent compared to this time last year. Worse yet, game attendance is off almost 6 percent from the same period in 2011.

News reporter Jon Solomon’s analysis showed average attendance this season is 45,596, down from 47,181 in 2012 and 48,279 in 2011.

Now this is startling: Half of the teams in the vaunted Southeastern Conference have shown dips in crowd size, modest as they may be. The issue isn’t regional as attendance is dropping across the country. So far this season six schools have seen attendance drop by 4 percent or more -- Penn State, Southern California, Michigan State, Iowa, Arkansas and Virginia Tech.

Here’s part of the problem: Games are expensive to attend. Depending on where you go, single game tickets go for $50 each (much more if you go through a broker), parking is another $20 and food and souvenirs, if you take the kids, can break the bank. On the other hand, if you stay home and watch it on a high-definition TV, you get none of the hassles, have a better, sharper view of the game, and can use commercial breaks to run to the kitchen for snacks that aren’t outrageously priced.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
LOCAL MAGAZINES
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.