SBD/January 7, 2014/Research and Ratings

College Bowl Attendance Continues Trending Lower; Three Games See Record Lows

College bowl games averaged 48,793 fans per game during the '13-14 season, marking the lowest average attendance since the '78-79 season (48,404 for 15 games). This season also marks the third straight year of declining bowl season attendance. The total attendance of 1.71 million fans at the 35 bowl games this season was the lowest since '06-07, when there were only 32 bowls.

COLLEGE BOWL SEASON ATTENDANCE TREND
SEASON
BOWLS
TOTAL
AVERAGE
'13-14
35
1,707,745
48,793
'12-13
35
1,722,834
49,224
'11-12
35
1,765,224
50,435
'10-11
35
1,813,205
51,806
'09-10
35
1,769,857
50,567
'08-09
34
1,755,876
51,643
'07-08
32
1,733,490
54,172
'06-07
32
1,697,262
53,039
'05-06
27
1,479,750
54,806

SMALLER CROWDS: Three bowl games saw record-low attendance this season -- the Heart of Dallas, Texas and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowls. The record low for the Poinsettia Bowl comes just three years after a record high. Affecting the game's attendance this season was the proximity to the date of the National University Holiday Bowl -- also at Qualcomm Stadium -- which took place just three days after the Poinsettia Bowl. In total, eight bowl games saw a double-digit percentage decline in attendance. UCF-Baylor drew 65,172 fans to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, marking that game's lowest figure since '97. The Texas A&M-Duke Chick-fil-A Bowl drew 67,946 fans, marking the game's lowest figure since '05. South Carolina-Wisconsin had 56,629 fans for the New Year's Day Capital One Bowl, which was that game's lowest figure since '89. The AdvoCare V100 Bowl (former Independence Bowl) also drew its lowest figure since '94.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: Only one bowl game saw a new record attendance this season. The New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium drew 47,122 fans for the Notre Dame-Rutgers matchup, marking the best figure yet for the four-year-old event. The Military Bowl saw the biggest jump in attendance among bowl games this season. The game, which moved from RFK Stadium in DC to Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, saw a 69% increase for the Marshall-Maryland matchup compared to San Jose State-Bowling Green last season, which was a record low for the event and the lowest crowd for any bowl in seven years. Also seeing big gains after record lows in '12-13 were the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Colorado State-Washington State) and what was perhaps the final Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Pitt-Bowling Green). The Michigan State-Stanford Rose Bowl led all bowls in '13-14 with 95,173 fans, marking the best figure for the game since Michigan-Washington State in '98, which was the last Rose Bowl prior to the game becoming part of the BCS rotation. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl has benefitted from keeping things local. The game drew its third straight year of record attendance, with each of those three games featuring Louisiana-Lafayette.
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