October 2nd, 2013 11:36 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Alabama, Auburn, Credit Mark Stoops, Jon Solomon, Ole Miss, SEC, Southeastern Conference, UK
The ever-excellent Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News has done some digging and found that overall attendance at college football games is down year-to-year. The first five weeks of the 2013 season were compared to the first five weeks of the 2012 and 2011 seasons. Attendance is off by 3% from last year and 6% from two years ago.
None of this should surprise anyone. The decline in attendance has been covered many time in many places, including here at MrSEC.com. The quality of high definition broadcasts, the sheer number of games that are televised, new and different outlets for watching games (computers, phones), lack of quality WiFi and/or cell coverage at stadiums, rising costs of attendance (tickets, concessions, parking), and three to four games a year that feature cupcake opponents have all been cited as reasons for falling attendance figures.
Below are the September numbers for all 14 of the Southeastern Conference’s programs. Keep in mind that these are tickets-sold figures, not actual turnstile numbers (which would no doubt be lower). The schools are listed according to the percentage change from 2012′s first five weeks.
|School||2013 Avg. Attendance||2012 Avg. Attendance||Change||Home Games to Date|
|Kentucky||60,789||50,712||+19.9%||Miami (OH), Florida, Louisville|
|Ole Miss||60,815||55,158||+10.3%||SE Missouri St.|
|S. Carolina||81,472||78,602||+3.7%||N. Carolina, Vanderbilt|
|Texas A&M||86,906||86,777||+0.1%||Rice, Sam Houston St., Alabama, SMU|
|Georgia||92,746||92,671||+0.1%||S. Carolina, N. Texas, LSU|
|Alabama||101,821||101,821||+0.0%||Colorado St. Ole Miss|
|Tennessee||90,406||90,665||-0.3%||Austin Peay, W. Kentucky, S. Alabama|
|Miss. State||55,091||55,460||-0.7%||Alcorn St., Troy|
|Auburn||84,719||85,968||-1.5%||Washington St., Arkansas St. Mississippi St.|
|LSU||90,596||92,299||-1.8%||TCU, UAB, Kent St., Auburn|
|Vanderbilt||35,326||36,942||-4.4%||Ole Miss, Austin Peay, UAB|
|Arkansas||63,210||67,828||-6.8%||UL-Lafayette, Samford, S. Miss, Texas A&M|
|Missouri||59,097||68,060||-13.2%||Murray St., Toledo, Arkansas St.|
* Kudos to Mark Stoops for exciting the Kentucky fanbase with his staff hires, his message, and his recruiting. However, it must be pointed out that UK attendance fell to laughable levels as Joker Phillips’ tenure neared its end in 2012.
* South Carolina fans — one of the most loyal if not the most loyal fanbase in the SEC — continue to increase their school’s ticket sales. After many years of filling Williams-Brice Stadium to witness losing football teams, it’s good to see Cock fans finally rewarded with a product that equals their support.
* As for Alabama… it’s good to be the king. Tide fans continue to sell out Bryant-Denny Stadium.
* Mississippi State hasn’t had the best of home games so far in 2013. With stadium expansion on the way, MSU’s attendance is on to watch now that Dan Mullen’s halo has been tarnished a bit.
* Traditional football powers Auburn and Arkansas have new coaches. LSU has a coach who seems to win 10 games every single season. Yet all three schools have seen a decline in attendance through September. Welcome to the new college football reality — fans are more finicky.
* Vanderbilt fans who hope to keep James Franklin in Nashville at year’s end had better start snapping up tickets to Dudley Field. Franklin has campaigned long and hard for better attendance in what is the SEC’s smallest venue. Should VU’s coach depart for greener pastures, expect fan support to be a motivating factor.
* Anyone wondering about the temperature of Gary Pinkel’s seat at Missouri need only look at the Tigers’ attendance figures to arrive at the answer. His seat is hot and he needs to win. To date, he has. He’ll need to keep that up now that the SEC portion of Mizzou’s schedule has arrived. With massive expansion projects coming to the MU campus, the school can’t afford to see a revenue drop in its football program.
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