Bowl Game Attendance Dropping As Sugar Bowl Marks All-Time BCS Low
Through 30 of 35 college football bowl games this season, the "average announced bowl attendance is 46,278," down 5% from '11-12 and 8% through those same games in '10-11, according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. The Sugar Bowl's announced crowd of 54,178 for Florida-Louisville, in addition to being the bowl's worst since '39, was also the "smallest ever for a BCS bowl." In a "rarity, the Sugar was outdrawn by the Outback, Music City, Holiday and Capital One bowls." The New Orleans Bowl was "only 5,350 fans behind the Sugar, which had not produced such a small crowd since 44,308 for TCU against Carnegie-Mellon in 1939." Bowls announce attendance totals "in different ways, with some counting paid crowds and others using different methods, such as turnstile counts." Either way, the "empty seats continue to accumulate." This was the "third time in the past four years the Sugar Bowl crowd was below 70,000," which had happened "only twice" from '75 to '09. Florida now has played in "five of the past seven Sugar Bowls with crowds under 70,000" (AL.com, 1/3). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser noted clearing out the ticket allotment is "challenging for many schools, especially because they must buy them at face value." With third-party brokers "able to beat their prices, it is a tough sell." Florida coach Will Muschamp said, "I think obviously right now with the economics, we’re going through a tough time in the country. I think that certainly has affected everyone, not just Gator fans. ... There’s different ways to get tickets other than going through the University Athletic Association. We’re seeing a little bit of a loophole" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 1/3).
SUCCESS STORIES: BBVA Compass Bowl Exec Dir Mark Meadows said, "As a bowl game, I can tell you that our overall sales have far exceeded our previous best year, which was the 2010 game in which South Carolina and UConn played." More than 54,000 tickets for this year's Jan. 5 Ole Miss-Pittsburgh game already "have been purchased." Ole Miss "sold their initial allotment of 10,000 tickets in just a few days" (AL.com, 1/3). GoDaddy.com Bowl Marketing & Media Relations Dir Julie Jeter said of the 40,000 allotted tickets for the Jan. 6 Arkansas State-Kent State matchup, "We'll be sold out." In Akron, Carol Biliczky notes it is the "first time KSU has been to a bowl game in 40 years and only the third time" in program history. KSU AD Matt Geis said that the school "sold game tickets to 50 KSU students at $20 each, less than half of the general admission price" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 1/4).