SBD/January 13, 2015/Research and Ratings

College Bowl Season Attendance Lower In '14-15 With Addition Of Four New Smaller Events

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College bowl games averaged 44,361 fans per game during the ’14-15 season (39 bowls), down 9.1% from 35 games ’13-14 and marking the lowest figure in at least a decade. There were four new bowls introduced this season, and each event drew fewer than 30,000 fans. The Boca Raton Bowl featuring Marshall-Northern Illinois led the way for new bowls with 29,419 fans at FAU Stadium. The inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl in Nassau had the smallest attendance of all bowls with 13,667 for the Western Kentucky-Central Michigan matchup. Even removing the four new games, bowl season attendance was still down 3.6% from ’13-14. While average attendance was down, total attendance for the 39 bowls this season was actually up 1.3% from ’13-14. Meanwhile, last night's inaugural CFP National Championship drew 85,689 fans to AT&T Stadium for the Ohio State-Oregon matchup, down from 94,208 for the Florida State-Auburn BCS National Championship matchup at the Rose Bowl last season, but up from each of the title games in '13, '12 and '11.

COLLEGE BOWL SEASON ATTENDANCE TREND
SEASON
BOWLS
TOTAL
AVERAGE
'14-15
39
1,730,074
44,361
'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
       

LOW POINTS: A couple of bowls saw record-low attendance this season. The TicketCity Cactus Bowl drew 35,409 fans for the Oklahoma State-Washington matchup at Sun Devil Stadium, marking a low point for the bowl game held annually in the Phoenix metro area since’89. The bowl, which in the past has been title sponsored by Buffalo Wild Wings and Insight, among others, also had been played at Chase Field (Phoenix) and Arizona Stadium (Tucson) before ending up in Tempe. Meanwhile, the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl also saw a record-low figure for the five-year-old event. The Louisiana Tech-Illinois matchup at the Cotton Bowl drew 31,297 fans on the day after Christmas. The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which remained on Dec. 31 but moved from primetime to an afternoon start, saw its lowest figure since ’05 with the TCU-Ole Miss matchup. The Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso had its lowest figure since ’01 with the Arizona State-Duke matchup. The Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, despite a newly renovated venue in Orlando, drew the event’s lowest figure since ’79 for the Missouri-Minnesota matchup. The Air Force-Western Michigan matchup in Boise brought the lowest figure for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl since ’98.

HIGH POINTS: After a record low last season, the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl saw a record-high figure with the Arkansas-Texas matchup at NRG Stadium. The event began in ’06. The five-year-old New Era Pinstripe Bowl also set a new record at Yankee Stadium, as the Penn State-Boston College matchup drew 49,012 fans. The Military Bowl in Annapolis saw another attendance uptick in the event's second year outside of DC’s RFK Stadium. A pair of bowls had their fourth-best attendance figures on record -- the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

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