SBD/December 5, 2012/Colleges

Big Ten Title Game Attendance Disappoints; Organizers Consider Changes In Marketing

This year's Wisconsin-Nebraska match-up drew almost 23,000 fans less than '11
Organizers of the Big Ten football championship played in Indianapolis said that they will "consider making changes for next year’s game in an attempt to boost attendance," according to Scott Olson of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Last Saturday’s game between Wisconsin and Nebraska drew 41,260 spectators, a "steep drop" from the near-sellout crowd of 64,152 that watched last year’s Wisconsin-Michigan State game. The upper bowl of Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night "was mostly empty." Organizers point to "various factors for the decline in attendance, but mostly attribute it to the absence of a team vying for a national title or a powerhouse team with a huge fan base" like Ohio State or Michigan. Big Ten Deputy Commissioner Brad Traviolia yesterday said, “It didn’t have national championship implications, and that always seems to add local and national excitement. It was just a combination of circumstances this year.” Organizers "weren’t specific on what changes they’ll consider for next year’s game, but plan to look into whether it can be marketed better" (, 12/4).

: In Pennsylvania, Charles Thompson noted while Penn State's football team "has enjoyed a winning season on the field, merchandise sales haven't rebounded." Collegiate Licensing Co. said that in Q1 of the '11-12 fiscal year (July through September), PSU "ranked 12th among all major universities in royalty payments derived from sales of clothing and other products bearing licensed logos." For the same quarter this year, PSU "slipped to 20th, right behind much smaller" West Virginia and Texas A&M. State College-based apparel retailer Lions Pride Store Manager Steve Moyer believes that sales have "held up pretty well among the tried-and-true Penn State backers: the students who are in Happy Valley or a branch campus, or the alums who have ponied up hundreds of dollars for season tickets." But his store's online sales "are down about 20 percent." Moyer thinks there is "a real enthusiasm gap in what he calls the 'fringe fans'" (Harrisburg PATRIOT-NEWS, 12/1).
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