Regular-season attendance at college football’s highest level dipped to 45,274 fans per game in 2012, the lowest average since 2003. Closer to home, the average crowd in the ACC was 49,544 – down 11% since 2004 (when Miami & VPI joined the conference). NC State’s average attendance at Carter-Finley Stadium was 54,106, down 4% from 2011. The Wolfpack ranked 37th nationally in average attendance.
“Some of this can no doubt be blamed on the usual suspects. The economy is still in the doldrums for many. Some programs in decline inevitably suffer attendance losses. But the malaise is widespread enough that it should be a warning signal to the people in charge that something is amiss.”
On the television side of the equation (here) CBS and ABC’s coverage of football dropped to multi year lows while Notre Dame’s success boosted NBC to six-hear highs.
Perhaps competition from FOX and a resurgent NBC were to blame, but ABC and CBS both hit multi-year lows for college football coverage this season.
The “SEC on CBS” was the highest rated college football series during the 2010-11 season, averaging a 3.9 rating. While that may sound good in a press release, the 3.9 average marks a 7% decline from both last year (4.2) and 2010 (4.2), and ranks as the lowest for the SEC on CBS since 2008 (3.4).
CBS topped second-place ABC, which averaged a 3.2 rating for regular season games — down 9% from last year (3.5) and 2010 (3.5). The 3.2 average is the lowest for college football on the network since at least 2006.
Over on NBC, Notre Dame games averaged a 2.8 rating, up 67% from last year (1.7), and up 33% from 2010 (2.1). The 2.8 is the highest for Notre Dame coverage on the network since 2006 (3.0).
NBC was technically not the top Notre Dame broadcaster during the season. Four Notre Dame telecasts on ABC averaged a 5.3 rating, topping NBC’s average by 89%. ABC also doubled NBC in viewership (8.8M to 4.4M).
Average college football ratings on FOX, ESPN and ESPN2 were not available.
The following are all quoted from this link
- Regular-season attendance at college football’s highest level dipped to 45,274 fans per game in 2012, the lowest average since 2003.
- Football Bowl Subdivision crowds declined for the second straight season, according to an analysis by al.com of NCAA attendance figures for 2012 and past years. Five of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences experienced lower averages in 2012.
- As higher ticket costs continue to price out average spectators, many fans can watch more comfortably and cheaply from home on their HDTV.
- College football still drew 35.3 million fans into stadiums and remains one of America’s most popular sports. But the average regular-season attendance has decreased 3 percent since peaking at 46,739 in 2008.
- The sport averaged greater than 46,000 fans every regular season between 2007 and 2010. Attendance fell under 46,000 for the second straight year.
- Fifty-six percent of the FBS schools reported fewer fans in 2012 than the previous season. Some of those dips were very minor, but others saw huge chunks of fans disappear.
- Eight BCS schools experienced attendance declines of 10 percent or greater from 2011: Kentucky (17 percent); Maryland (15 percent); Stanford (13 percent); and Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Colorado (10 percent each).
- Five of the nation’s top 20 attendance leaders experienced noticeable declines, led by 5-percent drops at Penn State and Tennessee. Penn State faced the aftermath of a child-molestation scandal that resulted in a postseason ban. Tennessee had its fourth losing season in the past five years.
- The ACC’s average crowd of 49,544 was its smallest in 12 years and down 11 percent since 2004, the first year Miami and Virginia Tech played in the conference
For a deeper look at these numbers you can click here to a great blog entry from “Get the Picture”.
I thought “Pack Mentality” made an interesting point on our message forums:
No team that was actually a good exciting team had a significant decrease except FL at 2%, and that could very well be due to pricing, in which case the added price may make up for a 2% decrease since they still averaged 87,000 fans. Alabama with a “minor decrease” is still at 101,000 per game. I think the take away from this is that fans want to see a quality product if they are going to spend all that time and money. I don’t know that there are less fans wanting to go to the games as much as there were fewer teams in which the fans felt real excitement over the team and the overall direction they were headed.
Penn State and Tennessee were the top examples of large attendance with significant decreases. Well, I think PSU fans could possibly have a reason not to be as excited as in the past and Tennessee has had multiple losing seasons in a row.