Bowl Attendance Could Be Down Again With Lower-Tier Games Struggling To Fill Seats
Overall attendance during the '16 college football bowl season was down 5%, and it "looks like there might be another hit when all games are completed" for '17, according to Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field saw an attendance of 41,310, the lowest since '57. Like many bowls "not involved" in the CFP, it has "struggled with attendance in recent years." The "largest figure" before yesterday's games was the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl matchup between Texas and Missouri at NRG Stadium (67,820), which "out-did" the Orange, Fiesta and Cotton bowls. The Goodyear Cotton Bowl's Ohio State-USC match-up "drew only 67,510 at AT&T Stadium, which holds more than 100,000." The TV broadcast "didn’t show many shots of the empty seats." Penn State-Washington at the Playstation Fiesta Bowl "sold only 61,842." Wisconsin-Miami at the Capital One Orange Bowl "drew a decent 65,032," but that was "more than 2,000 less than last year" for Florida State-Michigan. The pattern for bowls not in the playoff "obviously showed stronger attendance with an in-state team, a team from a border state or even the hometown team in the game." The moral of the modern bowl era for games not in the CFP is "get a team in close proximity with a strong fan base in your area" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/1).
HOLIDAY PLANS: In San Diego, Bryce Miller wrote the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will "wrestle with uncertainty" over its future. Miller noted the game will be played at SDCCU Stadium in '18, but wondered what will happen if and when the stadium is "demolished to make way for one of two competing stadium plans?" San Diego Bowl Game Association Exec Dir Mark Neville said, “Our future is bright. I’m confident (the bowl) is in good shape.” Neville "acknowledged his group has had 'considerable dialogue' with the Padres" about potentially moving the game to Petco Park. Padres Exec Chair Ron Fowler in a text message wrote, “If the Bowl Association wants to move to Petco at some point, we will figure it out” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/30).