NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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

Offbeat
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans