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COLLEGE STUDENTS STAYING AWAY FROM FOOTBALL GAMES
Published November 20, 1998
"A funny thing is happening in college football these days," as attendance is dropping at some schools as students choose not to attend the games, according to Fatsis & Weinbach of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. In an "entertainment- saturated culture," the "growing gridiron apathy is remarkable." At UCLA, student turnout at home games has dropped almost 40% in the '90s, while Harvard is attracting "just" 400 of its 6,600 undergraduates to games. Even FL State Univ., the winningest college team this decade, has around 2,000 student-section seats that go "unused" for every home game. Though falling attendance may not be as big a concern to colleges as other academic-related issues, athletic administrators concerned about the "bottom line" worry that "apathetic students can turn into apathetic alumni who don't write checks to their alma mater." Despite the decline in student attendance at some schools, "college football is by no means on the injured list." Last year a record 36.8 million fans turned out for NCAA games, and the sport continues to produce about $1B in annual revenue due to "expansive" and "lucrative" TV coverage and the new bowl championship format. The NCAA and its schools are working with KY-based Host Communications "to devise ways to promote college football." Host has proposed a student-oriented national cable show called "The Slant" and a traveling interactive theme park (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/20).