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Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
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ken d Online
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Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
The other two 2022 FCS callups, James Madison and Jacksonville State, have averaged about three times as much as Sam Houston State over the past four seasons. Despite an undergraduate enrollment of about 19K and a location about an hour from Houston, one of the most populous cities in America, the Bearkats have averaged fewer than 7K at its home football games. In a football crazy state like Texas, wouldn't one expect more? What am I missing from this story?
06-18-2022 01:03 PM
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DoubleRSU Offline
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:03 PM)ken d Wrote:  The other two 2022 FCS callups, James Madison and Jacksonville State, have averaged about three times as much as Sam Houston State over the past four seasons. Despite an undergraduate enrollment of about 19K and a location about an hour from Houston, one of the most populous cities in America, the Bearkats have averaged fewer than 7K at its home football games. In a football crazy state like Texas, wouldn't one expect more? What am I missing from this story?

They have blamed COVID, too many students leaving campus for the weekend, A&M games at the same time, “crappy Southland opponents”, and so on. It will be better when they’re playing FBS teams like UTEP, NMSU, and FIU though!!!!
06-18-2022 01:08 PM
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ken d Online
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:08 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 01:03 PM)ken d Wrote:  The other two 2022 FCS callups, James Madison and Jacksonville State, have averaged about three times as much as Sam Houston State over the past four seasons. Despite an undergraduate enrollment of about 19K and a location about an hour from Houston, one of the most populous cities in America, the Bearkats have averaged fewer than 7K at its home football games. In a football crazy state like Texas, wouldn't one expect more? What am I missing from this story?

They have blamed COVID, too many students leaving campus for the weekend, A&M games at the same time, “crappy Southland opponents”, and so on. It will be better when they’re playing FBS teams like UTEP, NMSU, and FIU though!!!!

Those four year attendance numbers exclude the 2020 COVID year. So three of the four years were pre-COVID.
06-18-2022 01:17 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
It is odd with their performance on the field. My guess would be marketing the product.
06-18-2022 01:22 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:03 PM)ken d Wrote:  The other two 2022 FCS callups, James Madison and Jacksonville State, have averaged about three times as much as Sam Houston State over the past four seasons. Despite an undergraduate enrollment of about 19K and a location about an hour from Houston, one of the most populous cities in America, the Bearkats have averaged fewer than 7K at its home football games. In a football crazy state like Texas, wouldn't one expect more? What am I missing from this story?

Look at the regular season opponents that played at Bowers Stadium in 2021. Who's traveling to watch these games?

SE Missouri State (4-7)
Lamar (1-9)
Dixie St. (1-10)
Incarnate Word (10-3 but a very small fan base)

Sam's rivalry game with SFA drew 25,000 in Houston as a neutral site game.
06-18-2022 01:27 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:27 PM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 01:03 PM)ken d Wrote:  The other two 2022 FCS callups, James Madison and Jacksonville State, have averaged about three times as much as Sam Houston State over the past four seasons. Despite an undergraduate enrollment of about 19K and a location about an hour from Houston, one of the most populous cities in America, the Bearkats have averaged fewer than 7K at its home football games. In a football crazy state like Texas, wouldn't one expect more? What am I missing from this story?

Look at the regular season opponents that played at Bowers Stadium in 2021. Who's traveling to watch these games?

SE Missouri State (4-7)
Lamar (1-9)
Dixie St. (1-10)
Incarnate Word (10-3 but a very small fan base)

Sam's rivalry game with SFA drew 25,000 in Houston as a neutral site game.

Most of the people at other FCS schools games are from traveling fans?
06-18-2022 01:29 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
Demand, or lack of it.

It's an hour via freeway from downtown Houston (today via Google Maps with no traffic), and an hour via 2-lane road from College Station. Sam Houston competes with all of the sports and entertainment options in the Houston metro, plus those at P5 SEC Texas A&M.

Huntsville is a town of 45,000 people on the north edge of the Houston DMA. The primary industries are SHSU and the state prison. I'm not sure if the prison population is counted in the census. SHSU gets very little coverage on Houston local media, and only when they win. Instead of being a big fish in a small market, they're a minnow in a large market.

Outside of their alums and Huntsville locals, there's just not much demand.

Their annual game at NRG Stadium vs. SFA has been successful. Both schools have their primary alumni bases in Houston.

But they're ultimately competing for attention with the Houston pro teams, A&M, UH, and Rice. In addition, they're competing with local P5 teams playing on TV, such as UT. That will be a tall order for them as they move to FBS. They see FBS as a way to meet athletic and institutional goals. If they can pull that off, more power to them. It'll be a haul.
(This post was last modified: 06-18-2022 01:48 PM by johnintx.)
06-18-2022 01:46 PM
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whittx Online
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:46 PM)johnintx Wrote:  Demand, or lack of it.

It's an hour via freeway from downtown Houston (today via Google Maps with no traffic), and an hour via 2-lane road from College Station. Sam Houston competes with all of the sports and entertainment options in the Houston metro, plus those at P5 SEC Texas A&M.

Huntsville is a town of 45,000 people on the north edge of the Houston DMA. The primary industries are SHSU and the state prison. I'm not sure if the prison population is counted in the census. SHSU gets very little coverage on Houston local media, and only when they win. Instead of being a big fish in a small market, they're a minnow in a large market.

Outside of their alums and Huntsville locals, there's just not much demand.

Their annual game at NRG Stadium vs. SFA has been successful. Both schools have their primary alumni bases in Houston.

But they're ultimately competing for attention with the Houston pro teams, A&M, UH, and Rice. In addition, they're competing with local P5 teams playing on TV, such as UT. That will be a tall order for them as they move to FBS. They see FBS as a way to meet athletic and institutional goals. If they can pull that off, more power to them. It'll be a haul.

Heck, the two SWAC schools get more love than SHSU.
06-18-2022 02:12 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:46 PM)johnintx Wrote:  Demand, or lack of it.

It's an hour via freeway from downtown Houston (today via Google Maps with no traffic), and an hour via 2-lane road from College Station. Sam Houston competes with all of the sports and entertainment options in the Houston metro, plus those at P5 SEC Texas A&M.

Huntsville is a town of 45,000 people on the north edge of the Houston DMA. The primary industries are SHSU and the state prison. I'm not sure if the prison population is counted in the census. SHSU gets very little coverage on Houston local media, and only when they win. Instead of being a big fish in a small market, they're a minnow in a large market.

Outside of their alums and Huntsville locals, there's just not much demand.

Their annual game at NRG Stadium vs. SFA has been successful. Both schools have their primary alumni bases in Houston.

But they're ultimately competing for attention with the Houston pro teams, A&M, UH, and Rice. In addition, they're competing with local P5 teams playing on TV, such as UT. That will be a tall order for them as they move to FBS. They see FBS as a way to meet athletic and institutional goals. If they can pull that off, more power to them. It'll be a haul.

As pointed out, its only a little over an hour from Houston. Jax St. and JMU are kind of in the middle of nowhere, so they get the locals on top of alumni. And the students don't have as many options. In addition, SHSU does get some commuters from the northern part of the Houston metro. Had a friend who moved up to Conroe so he could commute while working part time. And Jax and JMU aren't quite triple SHSU, but closer to double.
06-18-2022 02:19 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:29 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  Most of the people at other FCS schools games are from traveling fans?

No, but FCS schools get a boost to attendance from walk-up ticket sales which will flatline against unfamiliar or unpopular opponents. The local family within an hour of Huntsville is not predisposed to buy tickets to watch Dixie State.

Texas A&M would draw 90,000 to play North American University, but SHSU does not have that base, and fans vote with their wallet on the teams they want to see. A game with SFA would draw lots of people, but that game is not in Huntsville.

FWIW, the 2022 home schedule is more of the same:

Northern Arizona
Texas A&M-Commerce
Abilene Christian
Southern Utah
(This post was last modified: 06-18-2022 02:23 PM by DFW HOYA.)
06-18-2022 02:22 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
Maybe, even in Texas, there's a finite supply of college kids who want to go to football games outside on Saturday. Between University of Houston, North Texas, UTSA, Texas STate, maybe the well is running dry.
06-18-2022 02:36 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 02:22 PM)DFW HOYA Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 01:29 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  Most of the people at other FCS schools games are from traveling fans?

No, but FCS schools get a boost to attendance from walk-up ticket sales which will flatline against unfamiliar or unpopular opponents. The local family within an hour of Huntsville is not predisposed to buy tickets to watch Dixie State.

Texas A&M would draw 90,000 to play North American University, but SHSU does not have that base, and fans vote with their wallet on the teams they want to see. A game with SFA would draw lots of people, but that game is not in Huntsville.

FWIW, the 2022 home schedule is more of the same:

Northern Arizona
Texas A&M-Commerce
Abilene Christian
Southern Utah

Winning 18 in a row, being defending national champion, and being ranked #1, only gets you 5,000 fans because Dixie State is the opponent?

Georgetown had better attendance for their game versus Creighton last season than the Providence and Seton Hall games. Despite being involved in a longer losing streak than when those other 2 games occurred. Shouldn’t the Georgetown fanbase be more predisposed to buying tickets for Seton Hall and Providence then they should be with Creighton? Only people in Huntsville are predisposed with their ticket buying practices?
06-18-2022 02:37 PM
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ken d Online
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
When I look more closely at NCAA attendance reports, maybe SHSU isn't so bad by comparison to other non-HBCU schools in the CUSA footprint. Outside the Pacific northwest and Dakotas pickins' are slim. I couldn't find any FCS schools over 10K that would be of interest to CUSA. Doesn't speak well to their chances for a decent media contract.
06-18-2022 02:54 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 02:36 PM)johnbragg Wrote:  Maybe, even in Texas, there's a finite supply of college kids who want to go to football games outside on Saturday. Between University of Houston, North Texas, UTSA, Texas STate, maybe the well is running dry.

There's some truth to that. I compare it to discussions on other threads regarding the MAC. It's been said that the students at a lot of those schools are fans of P5 schools first (Ohio State, Michigan, etc.). The same thing applies here. The students may go to Sam Houston, but their allegiances are to A&M and UT.
06-18-2022 03:09 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 01:46 PM)johnintx Wrote:  Demand, or lack of it.

It's an hour via freeway from downtown Houston (today via Google Maps with no traffic), and an hour via 2-lane road from College Station. Sam Houston competes with all of the sports and entertainment options in the Houston metro, plus those at P5 SEC Texas A&M.

Huntsville is a town of 45,000 people on the north edge of the Houston DMA. The primary industries are SHSU and the state prison. I'm not sure if the prison population is counted in the census. SHSU gets very little coverage on Houston local media, and only when they win. Instead of being a big fish in a small market, they're a minnow in a large market.

Outside of their alums and Huntsville locals, there's just not much demand.

Their annual game at NRG Stadium vs. SFA has been successful. Both schools have their primary alumni bases in Houston.

But they're ultimately competing for attention with the Houston pro teams, A&M, UH, and Rice. In addition, they're competing with local P5 teams playing on TV, such as UT. That will be a tall order for them as they move to FBS. They see FBS as a way to meet athletic and institutional goals. If they can pull that off, more power to them. It'll be a haul.

Excellent analysis, no need for me to even add much to it.

May I also add that the students denied a measure to further fund the athletic program. There just doesn't seem to be much school spirit.
06-18-2022 03:22 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 03:09 PM)johnintx Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 02:36 PM)johnbragg Wrote:  Maybe, even in Texas, there's a finite supply of college kids who want to go to football games outside on Saturday. Between University of Houston, North Texas, UTSA, Texas STate, maybe the well is running dry.

There's some truth to that. I compare it to discussions on other threads regarding the MAC. It's been said that the students at a lot of those schools are fans of P5 schools first (Ohio State, Michigan, etc.). The same thing applies here. The students may go to Sam Houston, but their allegiances are to A&M and UT.

Let’s say there is some truth to that. A student attending SHSU is a loyal A&M fan. Every single game is played opposite of A&M? Why even go to SHSU if you’re not going to some of the football or basketball games?

10/9 SHSU hosted Lamar at 2pm and A&M hosted Bama at 7. Result - SHSUs largest home attendance of the season. Must have been all Lamar fans I guess?? Didn’t know a 1-9 team traveled so well? The Longhorns played against OU in Dallas that day at 11am. Kind of weird that Texas and Texas A&M had their biggest games of the year, the same day SHSU had their best crowd of the year. So students having “allegiance” to UT and A&M, isn’t the problem.
06-18-2022 03:22 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 02:19 PM)bullet Wrote:  As pointed out, its only a little over an hour from Houston. Jax St. and JMU are kind of in the middle of nowhere, so they get the locals on top of alumni. And the students don't have as many options. In addition, SHSU does get some commuters from the northern part of the Houston metro. Had a friend who moved up to Conroe so he could commute while working part time. And Jax and JMU aren't quite triple SHSU, but closer to double.

I thought Jacksonville was close to Birmingham.
06-18-2022 03:24 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
(06-18-2022 03:22 PM)DoubleRSU Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 03:09 PM)johnintx Wrote:  
(06-18-2022 02:36 PM)johnbragg Wrote:  Maybe, even in Texas, there's a finite supply of college kids who want to go to football games outside on Saturday. Between University of Houston, North Texas, UTSA, Texas STate, maybe the well is running dry.

There's some truth to that. I compare it to discussions on other threads regarding the MAC. It's been said that the students at a lot of those schools are fans of P5 schools first (Ohio State, Michigan, etc.). The same thing applies here. The students may go to Sam Houston, but their allegiances are to A&M and UT.

Let’s say there is some truth to that. A student attending SHSU is a loyal A&M fan. Every single game is played opposite of A&M? Why even go to SHSU if you’re not going to some of the football or basketball games?

10/9 SHSU hosted Lamar at 2pm and A&M hosted Bama at 7. Result - SHSUs largest home attendance of the season. Must have been all Lamar fans I guess?? Didn’t know a 1-9 team traveled so well? The Longhorns played against OU in Dallas that day at 11am. Kind of weird that Texas and Texas A&M had their biggest games of the year, the same day SHSU had their best crowd of the year. So students having “allegiance” to UT and A&M, isn’t the problem.

Students go to SHSU due to cost (lower), admission standards (lower than A&M, UT, and UH), and location (proximity to Houston metro). They're not going there for the sports.

That game vs. Lamar was family (or parents) weekend. Lamar is also a familiar opponent for them, right behind SFA and former rival Texas State. And, the weather was good that day. Still, the attendance was 9836. Barely a drop in the bucket, even with UT and A&M's biggest games of the year on the same day.
06-18-2022 03:32 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
People in the Houston area are either A&M fans, UT fans, or LSU fans. Even UH and Rice don't count for much and they are in Houston proper. SHSU has no shot.
06-18-2022 03:45 PM
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RE: Why is Sam Houston State's football attendance so low?
Losing Texas St. and then the SFA game to Houston seems to have dropped home attendance. Less outstanding SHSU teams might draw an average of 10k or so 10 years ago. Texas St., SFA and Sam Houston had been together since 1931 in the Lone Star Conference. They moved up to Division I in the SLC together. Lamar was with them some of the time in the LSC and then also in the SLC.
(This post was last modified: 06-18-2022 03:48 PM by bullet.)
06-18-2022 03:46 PM
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