SEC Seeing Decrease In Attendance From Visiting Football Fans
The SEC has seen a "decrease in attendance" at football games from visiting fans over the last five years, and it is a trend the conference "acknowledges -- without any apparent interest in changing it," according to Pat Dooley of the GAINESVILLE SUN. Florida AD Scott Stricklin said, "It's not like we’re going to start marketing to opposing fans. It would make no sense. We just have to accept that people aren’t traveling the way they used to." The SEC has "encouraged schools to move more quickly in releasing unwanted tickets -- and teams seem to be obliging." SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey believes a "combination of factors has contributed to the decline in travel for games." Sankey: "I’ve heard that observation that it’s familiarity with the opponents, but I don’t think it can be reduced to one factor. Geography can be a factor, but I’ve been in places that are hard to get to and they were sold out." Sankey also pointed to the "immersive experience of today’s televisions, and the feeling of remoteness when watching the game from the distant rows of seats that now more often are allotted to visiting fans." The SEC has the "highest attendance per game in the country, averaging 75,074 fans." But recent NCAA numbers "show a drop at SEC stadiums of 2,433 fans per game -- also the largest in the country." Mississippi State "returned 7,307 tickets last year for four SEC road games, up from 4,833 two years ago." At Arkansas, there were 16,569 tickets "returned out of the allotment available for visiting fans" in '17 for four SEC home games. Four years earlier, 11,255 tickets were "returned for the same number of SEC games" (GAINESVILLE SUN, 7/15).