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College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
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Hokie4Skins Online
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College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
Major-college football experienced its largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years and second-largest ever, according to recently released NCAA figures.

Attendance among the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in 2017 was down an average of 1,409 fans per game from 2016. That marked the largest drop since 1983 when average attendance declined 1,527 fans per game from 1982.

The 2017 FBS average of 42,203 fans per game is the lowest since 1997.

That average attendance drop marked the second-sharpest decline since the NCAA began keeping track of college football attendance in 1948. For the first time in history, average attendance declined nationally for four consecutive seasons.

More at link: https://www.cbssports.com/college-footba...-34-years/
02-13-2018 02:38 PM
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The Cutter of Bish Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.

But, really...I think a more explainable version is how college games are not committing to kickoff times as early as they used to, with TBD ruling the day for some programs. That is just extremely hard to have to navigate no matter what level of fan you are. Fatigued. The pro's have essentially three options on any given Sunday, and, really, it's very coordinated (and only two teams play on Sunday nights). In CFB, you may be 12, 3:30, 7-8, or that 10/10:30. Give the fans a break. Especially certain schools who almost never seem to go back to early games if they're top teams as the season rolls on. Heck, be even remotely in the playoff discussion, and kiss those noon kickoff's goodbye...and that's brutal to fans who have to go to college (note, not pro) stadiums and endure the wait.
02-13-2018 03:01 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
I'll go with technology and price. Example Rutgers doubled the parking price just outside the stadium in the park next to it and ticket prices have double in some cases for B10 games. I can sit home with a cooler of beer next to the chair and run my typical tailgate outside before the game and inside while watching up to 11 games at a time inside on a typical Saturday game day rain or shine. What use to cost $150 to $200 dollars a game will now cost $300 to $400 a game. So instead of going to on average 4 to 5 games a year you go to 2 maybe 3 games a year.
Basically I have my own private box at home in the TV cave and save money.

The kids at the colleges do the same thing with wide screen HD TVs. They party in the dorms and frats, go to the game in the second quarter and leave in the third quarter to finish watching the game on TV while getting credit for use of their tickets and party on in the dorms until the end of the game. We watch that play out all the time at Rutgers now when we attend the games. New time and era, and the attendance will continue to decline as prices continue to go up while wages for the average spectator continue to stagnate and decline for the average American household. 07-coffee3
02-13-2018 03:06 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
The decline began after 2010, and basically was masked by the SEC continuing to rise until it peaked in 2015. But now it too is declining. Overall drop has been 10.4% since 2010, the SEC is down 4.7% from it's peak in just two years. (I use peak /current to get drop, Dodd gets a smaller 3.7% SEC drop by using the other ratio current/peak)

The factors are many, but the playoff is not one, at least not in the sense Cutter means. They are part of the issue in the sense that the shift in value of college went from traditional regular season rivalries to pro sports like championship. Beating your cross State rival fell more into the category of consolation prize, rather than raison d'ĂȘtre for football fans. Bowl games below the Championship became "exhibition" games. But this is all tactical, not the root of the problem.
02-13-2018 03:15 PM
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CliftonAve Online
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
^ Both mentions in the posts above are factors:

- The G5 and middle to lower tier P5 games have been rendered meaningless. Life is great for the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, et al. but for the rest of us that follow other schools the casual fans are staying home more often unless it is a special occasion.

- Technology is certainly a factor. Its just too easy and affordable to sit on the recline and watch the game on the big screen TV, where you have access to multiple cameras, instant replay, ability to slow footage and show close-ups. Moreover, we live in a society that is permanently affixed to their hand held devices and in a lot of stadiums getting access to Wi-Fi is fruitless.

- Pricing. Buying season tickets are expensive. As are concessions. Why pay all that money when you can sit on your recliner, watch the game on TV with all the angles and consume your food and beverage you buy at the store?

- Time. Going to a football game is an all day experience, even if you live in the city where your school resides. At the minimum it is a 4 hour commitment--- it is 6-7 or more if you tailgate and/or go out afterward.
02-13-2018 03:17 PM
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EmeryZach Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 03:17 PM)CliftonAve Wrote:  - Pricing. Buying season tickets are expensive. As are concessions. Why pay all that money when you can sit on your recliner, watch the game on TV with all the angles and consume your food and beverage you buy at the store?

This one I have to disagree with, at least at the G5 level. I've seen season ticket prices at a lot of G5 schools in the $100 to $200 range. That is a pretty great deal considering what it costs to go to a lot of sporting events and concerts nowadays.
02-13-2018 03:39 PM
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The Cutter of Bish Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 03:17 PM)CliftonAve Wrote:  - Time. Going to a football game is an all day experience, even if you live in the city where your school resides. At the minimum it is a 4 hour commitment--- it is 6-7 or more if you tailgate and/or go out afterward.

It's the amount of time and it's the time of the day when the games start. It's brutal in the east-coast and Midwest for games to start later in the day, especially after September. And, it's impossible to plan when kickoff times aren't set until a week or two before the game. CFB doesn't get my whole day. I'll support my teams over a beer at the local bar with friends or on my couch.

I'll add it's much more of a pain having to be flexible on a Saturday rather than a Sunday.
02-13-2018 03:45 PM
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Nittany_Bearcat Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
The trend is definitely down. But there were a couple unique factors to 2017 which may make the decline look higher than it actually is:

(1) Bristol game in 2016 that drew 157K. Replace that game with a game that drew 100K --- and that alone explains 0.89% of the 3.23% drop. (the Bristol game, of course, makes 2016's -0.07% decline vs 2015 look better than reality).

(2) UAB played football in 2017 but not in 2016. UAB had an average attendance of 26,375 for their 6 home games in 2017. The inclusion of those 6 UAB home games explains 0.29% of the 3.23% drop.

So that's 1.14% of the 3.23% drop right there. More in line with other years in the 2010s.

It is undeniable though, that the trend is definitely down.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2018 04:08 PM by Nittany_Bearcat.)
02-13-2018 04:05 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 03:01 PM)The Cutter of Bish Wrote:  So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.


I'm going to go with this. There are about 10-15 schools that have real shot at winning a NC.

Also, televisions are nicer and cheaper than they were 20 years ago.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2018 04:31 PM by firmbizzle.)
02-13-2018 04:17 PM
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Hokie4Skins Online
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:17 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 03:01 PM)The Cutter of Bish Wrote:  So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.


I'm going to go with this. There are about 10-15 schools that have real shot at winning a NC.

That's always been the case, though.
02-13-2018 04:21 PM
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CliftonAve Online
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:21 PM)Hokie4Skins Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 04:17 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 03:01 PM)The Cutter of Bish Wrote:  So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.


I'm going to go with this. There are about 10-15 schools that have real shot at winning a NC.

That's always been the case, though.

Sure, but I equate it to the downfall of professional wrestling: we all knew it was fake back in the day but attendance was actually greater before they admitted it was choreographed. Magic shows are fake too, but people still enjoy it because there is an element of mystery to how the tricks are done. The mystique in college football is gone.
02-13-2018 04:29 PM
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ken d Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:17 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 03:01 PM)The Cutter of Bish Wrote:  So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.


I'm going to go with this. There are about 10-15 schools that have real shot at winning a NC.

But that's not a new thing. It's always been that way. A shot at a national championship has never been a prime motivating factor in getting fans to attend games. It has to be something else. And IMO, that something else is the need to feed the TV monster. Schools have, mostly consciously, accepted the trade off between maximizing media revenues and fannies in the seats.

Personally, I rarely go to a football game any more. I just don't need to.
02-13-2018 04:29 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:29 PM)ken d Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 04:17 PM)firmbizzle Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 03:01 PM)The Cutter of Bish Wrote:  So, an inherently flawed playoff structure only rewards four teams, and, basically, only four teams from major conferences.

There is no incentive to go to games if you have half of FBS basically kept at bay from the championship, and, if you are a major, the season may end after just one loss, but definitely two.

Yeah, no crap attendance is dropping.


I'm going to go with this. There are about 10-15 schools that have real shot at winning a NC.

But that's not a new thing. It's always been that way. A shot at a national championship has never been a prime motivating factor in getting fans to attend games. It has to be something else. And IMO, that something else is the need to feed the TV monster. Schools have, mostly consciously, accepted the trade off between maximizing media revenues and fannies in the seats.

Personally, I rarely go to a football game any more. I just don't need to.

Nice cheap HD televisions.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2018 04:33 PM by firmbizzle.)
02-13-2018 04:32 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 03:15 PM)Stugray2 Wrote:  The decline began after 2010, and basically was masked by the SEC continuing to rise until it peaked in 2015. But now it too is declining. Overall drop has been 10.4% since 2010, the SEC is down 4.7% from it's peak in just two years. (I use peak /current to get drop, Dodd gets a smaller 3.7% SEC drop by using the other ratio current/peak)

The factors are many, but the playoff is not one, at least not in the sense Cutter means. They are part of the issue in the sense that the shift in value of college went from traditional regular season rivalries to pro sports like championship. Beating your cross State rival fell more into the category of consolation prize, rather than raison d'ĂȘtre for football fans. Bowl games below the Championship became "exhibition" games. But this is all tactical, not the root of the problem.

And I don't think the decline is as abrupt or permanent as this year's numbers may seem to project and here's why. This year the SEC experienced a 3.2% decline. That's steep. But upon digging into the individual numbers Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, and Florida accounted for annual declines of 6, 6, 3, and 3 thousand all amid coaching failures and imminent change. Considering that Tennessee dropped 6 thousand in a stadium that seats over a 100,000 it tends to skew the numbers a bit.

In 2015 the SEC set a single season attendance high. The SEC would have topped that number in 2016 except for a drop in attendance at Missouri of over 20%. We finished down for last year but barely down off of our record.

Since the SEC is the attendance leader year in and year out the perfect storm of coaching turnover coupled with the Ole Miss fiasco (another 3 + down) and the fact that Missouri remained flat with last year's all time low (attributed to campus unrest and player's threatened boycotts), I would expect to see numbers bump back up at most of these schools next year.

We will reach a new high? Probably not. Even after factoring in the coaching failures and poor seasons that some of the schools with larger venues experienced, there was still an undercurrent of between .5% and 1.5% at some schools that seem to reflect more economy and convenience related issues. Truly HD TV and a more pleasurable and less stressing home watching game day experience is making inroads into attendance everywhere including the SEC.

The Big 10 had a great season this year as a whole and were the only conference to finish on the plus side of the ledger and their attendance was only up .002% from an average increase of 76 for home games.

So I agree with you Stugray, it's not really attributable to many of the causes cited. And the fact that the SEC had 6 schools 5 of which were experiencing a coaching issue or probation contributing to the numbers I think they were skewed a tad.

I think the real issues are: Local program issues like coaching changes, the economy, and a growing realization of how much more convenient and stress free home game experiences can be that really contribute to this drop.
02-13-2018 04:34 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 02:38 PM)Hokie4Skins Wrote:  Major-college football experienced its largest per-game attendance drop in 34 years and second-largest ever, according to recently released NCAA figures.

Attendance among the 129 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in 2017 was down an average of 1,409 fans per game from 2016. That marked the largest drop since 1983 when average attendance declined 1,527 fans per game from 1982.

The 2017 FBS average of 42,203 fans per game is the lowest since 1997.

That average attendance drop marked the second-sharpest decline since the NCAA began keeping track of college football attendance in 1948. For the first time in history, average attendance declined nationally for four consecutive seasons.

More at link: https://www.cbssports.com/college-footba...-34-years/

Tickets and coaches salary are to high. 07-coffee3
02-13-2018 04:38 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
Football sold its soul to TV. The live experience is suffering due to less than optimum start times and long pauses for TV timeouts and reviews (for instance, most stadium dont allow the stadium audience to see the same replays that the guys at home get to see). To make matters worse, the costs involved in attending a game have exploded as AD's have worked to squeeze more and more dollars out of fewer and fewer donors.

My guess is you going to have to make some serious changes to reverse the decline. Until your catering to the ticket buying fan in the same way we currently cater to television, I would expect the declne to continue (and likely accelerate as the current generation of fans appear to be less intensely connected to the programs as the previous generations).
(This post was last modified: 02-19-2018 01:34 PM by Attackcoog.)
02-13-2018 04:40 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:40 PM)Attackcoog Wrote:  Football sold its soul to TV. The live experience is suffering due to less than optimum start times and long pauses for TV timeouts and reviews (for instance, where most stadium dont allow the stadium audience to see the same replays that the guys at home get to see). To make matters worse, the costs involved in attending a game have exploded as AD's have worked to squeeze more and more dollars out of fewer and fewer donors.

My guess is you going to have to make some serious changes to reverse the decline. Until your catering to the ticket buying fan in the same way we currently cater to television, I wouldnt expect the declne to continue (and likely accelerate as the current generation of fans appear to be less intensely connected to the programs as the previous generations).

That's true, but you left out what else they are squeezing. Over 5 decades ago if I bought two seats my wife and I could sit there and she could put her purse by her side and we were fine. Our friends that sat with us were close by, but not intimate if you know what I mean. After the last renovation we needed to buy 3 tickets to have the space we had when we first started buying tickets. I'm proud to say that my wife and I take up no more width than we did over 5 decades ago, and many of our friends don't either. But now the purse goes under her feet, as do drinks, so every A.D. is squeezing a bit more than the wallet, although it is still in the same vicinity.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2018 04:51 PM by JRsec.)
02-13-2018 04:50 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
All sports are having attendance issues. New stadiums and arenas are being built smaller. Remodels involve decreasing seating capacity. Lots of reasons. Too many sports. Too pricey. Technological improvements. Fans disconnect with teams/athletes. But, I think the number one reason is the changes in the interests of youth. My kids play all sorts of sports, but they don't watch any. The boy may watch Lebron. The girl may watch a bit of the Olympics, volleyball or figure skating. But, unless I drag them to a game, they would never go. I would expect attendance to continue to drop and our kids grow up.
02-13-2018 04:51 PM
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:50 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(02-13-2018 04:40 PM)Attackcoog Wrote:  Football sold its soul to TV. The live experience is suffering due to less than optimum start times and long pauses for TV timeouts and reviews (for instance, where most stadium dont allow the stadium audience to see the same replays that the guys at home get to see). To make matters worse, the costs involved in attending a game have exploded as AD's have worked to squeeze more and more dollars out of fewer and fewer donors.

My guess is you going to have to make some serious changes to reverse the decline. Until your catering to the ticket buying fan in the same way we currently cater to television, I wouldnt expect the declne to continue (and likely accelerate as the current generation of fans appear to be less intensely connected to the programs as the previous generations).

That's true, but you left out what else they are squeezing. Over 5 decades ago if I bought two seats my wife and I could sit there and she could put her purse by her side and we were fine. Our friends that sat with us were close by, but not intimate if you know what I mean. After the last renovation we needed to buy 3 tickets to have the space we had when we first started buying tickets. I'm proud to say that my wife and I take up no more width than we did over 5 decades ago, and many of our friends don't either. But now the purse goes under her feet, as do drinks, so every A.D. is squeezing a bit more than the wallet, although it is still in the same vicinity.

I quit going to Razorback games for that very reason. The last time I went to a game I had to hold my son the entire time all the while standing next to a guy who smelled like piss and beer.
02-13-2018 05:04 PM
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XLance Offline
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RE: College Football has largest attendance drop in 34 years
(02-13-2018 04:51 PM)MU88 Wrote:  All sports are having attendance issues. New stadiums and arenas are being built smaller. Remodels involve decreasing seating capacity. Lots of reasons. Too many sports. Too pricey. Technological improvements. Fans disconnect with teams/athletes. But, I think the number one reason is the changes in the interests of youth. My kids play all sorts of sports, but they don't watch any. The boy may watch Lebron. The girl may watch a bit of the Olympics, volleyball or figure skating. But, unless I drag them to a game, they would never go. I would expect attendance to continue to drop and our kids grow up.

I started taking my kids when they were four and two (their Grandmother was appreciative too). They went to every game with us through high school.
Now I buy tickets for my daughter and her family....I get to see my Grandchildren and watch Carolina football all on the same day...it's like being in the Southern part of Heaven...which it is.
02-13-2018 05:05 PM
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