SBD/September 26, 2013/Colleges

Georgia Looking For Ways To Combat Declining Student Attendance At Football Games

UGA students have left 39% of their section empty over the last four seasons
Declining student attendance at college football games is an "illness that has been spreading for years nationwide," but now it has hit the SEC "giving athletics officials reason to fret about future ticket sales and fundraising," according to Ben Cohen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Records show Georgia students left "empty 39% of their designated sections of Sanford Stadium over the last four seasons," while 32% of student seats at Alabama "went unused" by students between '09-12. Meanwhile, 45% of UGA's student tickets "went unused" during non-conference home games. UGA officials have been "so concerned by student attendance that they reassigned 2,000 seats previously reserved for students to young alumni before this season." UGA AD Greg McGarity: "It was a significant hole, and it was very noticeable. It was way too obvious." But UGA is "encouraged by the early returns this season." The first home game on Sept. 7, a 4:30pm ET kickoff against South Carolina, "hit the sweet spot for student attendance." It drew 15,864 students, the "most since at least" '09, and students are "anticipating a similarly boisterous crowd" for Saturday's 3:30pm game against LSU (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/26).
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