SBD/January 10, 2012/Research and Ratings

College Bowl Games Average Attendance Down 2.5% From Last Season

The 35 games during the ’11-12 college bowl season averaged 50,435 fans per contest, down from an average of 51,732 fans last year. Just over 1.77 million fans went to bowl games, down 2.5% from 1.81 million fans last year and virtually flat with ’09-10. Eighteen of the 35 bowls saw some sort of attendance decline from last season. The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, which featured TCU-Louisiana Tech, saw the sharpest drop among all bowls (-48%). The record-low crowd of 24,607 was down from a record-high of 48,049 last year for the San Diego State-Navy matchup. Also seeing double-digit percentage drops were the Military, Gildan New Mexico, BBVA Compass, Kraft Fight Hunger, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces, Sheraton Hawaii, Maaco Las Vegas, Outback, Hyundai Sun, Franklin American Mortgage Music City, TaxSlayer.com Gator and Allstate Sugar bowls. The Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl saw its lowest mark since ’97, while the Sugar and Sun bowls saw their lowest attendance since ’01. The Maaco Bowl Las Vegas had its first non-sellout for the game since ’05.

NOT ALL BAD NEWS: Several bowls did end up seeing record attendance numbers this season. The Champs Sports Bowl was the beneficiary of a Florida State-Notre Dame matchup which drew 68,305 fans, marking the game’s best attendance since it began in ‘90. Also setting new attendance records this season were the Insight, TicketCity, R+L Carriers New Orleans and New Era Pinstripe bowls. The Belk Bowl (formerly the Meineke Car Care Bowl) bounced back from a record low last year to draw 58,427 fans for the N.C. State-Louisville matchup (+42.1%). The biggest gains belonged to the New Orleans Bowl (+46.9%) and Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (+42.4%).
COLLEGE BOWL SEASON ATTENDANCE TREND
SEASON
BOWLS
TOTAL
AVERAGE
'11-12
35
1,765,224
50,435
'10-11
35
1,810,621
51,732
'09-10
35
1,769,857
50,567
'08-09
34
1,755,876
51,643
'07-08
32
1,733,490
54,172
'06-07
32
1,697,626
53,051
'05-06
27
1,489,870
55,180
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