SBD/October 17, 2013/Colleges

LSU Says Weather, Traffic Issues Kept More Than 10,000 Fans From Saturday's Game

Tiger Stadium saw one of the most tepid atmospheres in a long time vs. Florida
Although "every ticket was long sold" and attendance was announced at 92,980 for last Saturday's Florida-LSU game at Tiger Stadium, LSU AD Joe Alleva said that in "actuality, there were only about 78,000 fans in the stands," according to Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rogue ADVOCATE. It made for "one of the most tepid big-game atmospheres in Tiger Stadium in a long time." There was "more than one reason for the 15,000 no shows." LSU Associate AD/Operations Eddie Nunez said, "It was the perfect storm." For starters, the temperature on Saturday was "listed as 85 degrees for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff, with the thermometer peaking at 89 degrees" that afternoon. While that alone "doesn't sound all that hot, coupled with humidity and lack of cloud cover early in the game, Tiger Stadium was a broiler." Fans who did travel for the game were "snared in near-gridlock conditions on approach to the LSU campus." Alleva and Nunez said that LSU has "lost 2,000 free parking spaces since last season." Nunez added that with fewer places to park, some fans "were directed to keep going." Some "probably wound up far off campus, some may have gone home." LSU President King Alexander on Tuesday said that football attendance "was a major topic of a meeting Monday in Atlanta" of SEC presidents and chancellors. Alleva and Nunez said that they are "working on traffic flow, continuing to search for more free parking and opening more stadium gates." Nunez said that once construction is completed in '14, Tiger Stadium will "have more gates than ever." Alleva added that LSU is "working toward more WiFi access in the stadium and will press law enforcement to reinstate contraflow traffic routes into and out of the campus that were inexplicably nixed several years ago" (Baton Rogue ADVOCATE, 10/16).

BUILDING A ROUTINE: In West Palm Beach, Dave George noted it is "not part of the social fabric of Palm Beach County for everyone to plan weekends around FAU games ... as demonstrated by the Owls' season-ticket base of 3,500." FAU AD Pat Chun said, "We're borrowing from minor league baseball promotions to get more families in here." FAU's game-day offerings include "face painting and balloon animals for grade-schoolers prior to kickoff and then limbo contests and the like for FAU students during timeouts." Attendance for last Saturday's Marshall-FAU game was "announced as 19,760." That is the "second-biggest crowd in stadium history and still it was closer to half a house than it was to a sellout" (PALM BEACH POST, 10/16).

ON THE UP AND UP: In Cincinnati, Tom Groeschen notes with Nippert Stadium seating only 35,000, the Univ. of Cincinnati’s average crowd of 32,870 "is on pace to be the second-highest figure in stadium history." UC said that the Nippert "record average was 33,957" in '09, when coach Brian Kelly "led UC to a 12-0 regular season and a Sugar Bowl appearance." UC this year is "drawing well despite not being a Top 25 team." UC AD Whit Babcock said, "The biggest difference is probably with the student attendance. That has really jacked up the numbers" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/17).
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