SBD/December 29, 2011/Colleges

Fewer Fans Attending Bowl Games Than Ticket Sales Reported

With 12 of 35 bowl games in the books, “one of the most common reactions has been ‘Where is everyone?’” according to Kevin Lyttle of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Ticket sales are “nearly on par with recent seasons, yet more ticketholders are coming dressed as empty seats.” Fans are “blaming the sluggish economy, glut of bowls and unattractive matchups.” Today's Notre Dame-Florida State Champs Sports Bowl “qualifies as the first sellout of the bowl season, and 65,000 fannies are expected to be in the seats.” Tonight's Baylor-Washington Valero Alamo Bowl “is close to being a sellout, and at least 63,000 should be on hand.” Monday's Missouri-North Carolina AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl had an announced crowd of 41,728, but the "actual number of bodies on hand was barely 20,000." Saturday's Southern Miss-Nevada Sheraton Hawaii Bowl reported “32,630 tickets sold; the head count was more like 10,000.” Not even the “big bowls are immune to the ticket-buying malaise.” Lyttle notes after tonight, the only “sure-fire sellouts the rest of the way are the Cotton, Rose and BCS championship game.” The Discover Orange Bowl has two teams that "travel well,'' but neither Clemson with 8,500 tickets sold nor West Virginia with 11,000 have “come close to selling the 17,500-ticket allotment.” Virginia Tech, a “controversial Sugar Bowl choice, has had soft sales of about 10,000 tickets.” TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl officials figured that Florida and Ohio State “would fill up their stadium, but neither school has sold its 12,500-ticket allotment.” Lyttle notes even Nebraska fans “have come up well short of reaching their Capital One Bowl guarantee of 11,000” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/29).

BOWL '11 GAME
ATTEN.
'10 GAME
ATTEN.
% +/-
Belk Bowl* N.C. State-Louisville
58,427
South Florida-
Clemson
41,112
42.1%
Bridgepoint
Education Holiday
Texas-California
56,313
Washington-
Nebraska
57,921
-2.8%
Little Caesars Pizza Purdue-
Western Michigan
46,177
FIU-Toledo
32,431
42.4%
R+L Carriers
New Orleans
Lousiana Lafayette-
San Diego State
42,841
Troy-Ohio
29,159
46.9%
AdvoCare V100
Independence
Missouri-North Carolina
41,728
Air Force-
Georgia Tech
39,362
6.0%
Maaco Bowl
Las Vegas
Boise State-
Arizona State
35,720
Boise State-Utah
41,923
-14.8%
Sheraton Hawaii Southern Miss-Nevada
32,630
Tulsa-Hawaii
41,089
-20.6%
Famous Idaho
Potato Bowl**
Ohio-Utah State
28,076
Northern Illinois-
Fresno State
25,449
10.3%
Gildan
New Mexico
Temple-Wyoming
25,762
BYU-UTEP
32,424
-20.5%
Military Bowl Toledo-Air Force
25,042
Maryland-East Carolina
38,062
-34.2%
S.D. County Credit
Union Poinsettia
TCU-Lousiana Tech
24,607
San Diego State-
Navy
48,049
-48.8%
Beef 'O' Brady's
St. Petersburg
Marshall-FIU
20,072
Louisville-
Southern Miss
20,017
0.3%
   
 

NOTES: * = Previously the Meineke Car Care Bowl. ** = Previously the Humanitarian Bowl.

NOT QUITE PACKING THEM IN: The Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl's crowd of 56,313 marks the bowl’s lowest attendance since the Colorado State-Missouri matchup in ’97 (THE DAILY). Meanwhile, the Military Bowl's attendance of 25,042 was in part due to the matchup. Author John Feinstein said, “They were counting on Navy to be bowl-eligible and drawing the crowd. Navy was supposed to be the host team” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, 12/27)

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