SBD/December 31, 2012/Colleges

Drop In Bowl Attendance Raises Questions About Number Of Games Played

Six bowl games have seen attendance declines of 5,000 or more
Bowl attendance "continues to fall across major-college football, raising questions about the number of postseason games, the amount of fan interest in postseason play and the way schools and bowls market and sell tickets," according to Paul Myerberg of USA TODAY. Through the first 19 bowls, attendance is "down an average of 3,138 fans a game from the 2011-12 slate." Three bowls have seen "attendance increases of 5,000 or more from a year ago" while six have seen "decreases of 5,000 or more." Univ. of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Dir Paul Swangard said that economic pressures are the "primary reason behind declining attendance during bowl play." Not even "elite football programs are immune." The Allstate Sugar Bowl, which features Florida-Louisville, has sold "fewer than 8,000 of its 17,500 allotted tickets." The Capital One Bowl featuring Georgia-Nebraska "has sold less than one-third of its 12,500-ticket allotment." Swangard said, "What it suggests is that the bowls and the schools are going to have to revisit the method of ticket allocation, particularly in those bowl games where the market demand just can't seem to sustain the model" (USA TODAY, 12/31).

FROZEN ORANGES: In Ft. Lauderdale, Dieter Kurtenbach reported demand for Discover Orange Bowl tickets is "dangerously close to an all-time low, and it doesn't look like the market will become any better." The game features one "in-state school in Florida State, which is good for Orange Bowl ticket values, but the inclusion of Mid American Conference school Northern Illinois ... has relegated the Orange Bowl to a lower-interest tier of games." The Orange Bowl claims that there are "only 1,000 tickets remaining for the game." But with demand on the secondary market "so low, thousands of tickets are floating around, many purchased only for the right to buy BCS National Championship Game tickets." Those Orange Bowl tickets could "possibly go unused." So there is "little chance that the stadium will host more than the 70,000 fans likely to be officially announced Jan. 1" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 12/29).

LET'S BE HONEST: In Tampa, Tom Jones writes, "We can all agree that there are too many college bowl games." But not only "aren't there enough teams for all these bowls, there aren't enough cities." Last week there were bowl games in DC and N.Y., where "temperatures were in the low 30s." Jones: "In fact, Saturday's Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium was played in a snowstorm. And this is a reward for college teams?" Players on bowl teams "want to go to beaches and amusement parks." They want to "wear shorts and sunglasses, not parkas and ear muffs" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/31).

INDEPENDENCE DAY: In, Louisiana, Roy Lang notes for the second straight year the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl was "blanketed with chilly, damp weather conditions." And it appeared on Friday that a "little more than half of the 41,853 tickets paid for were used." Bowl Chair Jack Andres said that he "was 'disappointed' to see another horde of empty seats at Independence Stadium." Andres added, "We have to generate more revenue. We have a sponsor that’s willing to help out." He said, "When you pay more, you can get better teams, you can get better dates and you get better crowds. If you get better dates, you get better (overnight) stays in the city" (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 12/31).

FEELING FATIGUED: In Green Bay, Josh Lintereur cited travel agents as saying that a third straight trip to the Rose Bowl may have left Wisconsin fans "with bowl fatigue, as sales of travel packages are down considerably for this year’s game." Fan enthusiasm "may have also been dampened by the team’s 8-5 record." Fox World Travel Business Development Manager Rose Gray said that while the "enthusiasm from Badger fans isn’t at the level it’s been in the past two years, that’s not to say the Badgers won’t be well-represented by their fans" (GREENBAYPRESSGAZETTE.com, 12/29).
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