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SBD/December 20, 2013/CollegesPrint All
FBS regular-season attendance "ended its decline" in '13 after dropping the past two seasons, but crowds "continue to remain below the high-water mark from five years ago," according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. Among previously-existing FBS schools, crowds increased by 1% to "45,815 fans per game" in '13. Technically, FBS attendance (44,211) "dropped for the third straight season," but the addition of "eight new schools to the FBS skewed that number." Data analyzed "counts home games and not neutral-site venues." Figures represent the "announced crowds schools report to the NCAA and not necessarily actual attendance." Home-attendance averages "still fell below 46,000 for the fifth straight year." This season, 11 of the nation's top 20 attendance leaders "experienced declines, although most of the dips were modest." UCF had the biggest increase among FBS schools with 22%, while USF had the largest decrease at 21%. Meanwhile, the SEC "continued to lead the nation" with 75,582 fans per game. The Big Ten "averaged 70,483 fans per game," an increase of less than 1% after last year's attendance was its "lowest since 2008." The Big 12 averaged 58,057 fans, which was down 1% and "marked the Big 12's smallest average" since '05. The Pac-12 "averaged 53,619 fans, representing an increase" of less than 1% from '12. Crowds are down 8% in the Pac-12 "since it set a record" in '07. Among the "five major conferences, the ACC again ranked last with 49,624 fans per game." The new American Athletic Conference averaged 33,711 after the old Big East averaged 39,185 in '12 (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 12/20).