UCF Seeing Strong Attendance Gains In '18, Especially Among Students
UCF's win over Pitt on Saturday to remain undefeated drew a crowd of 44,904 to Spectrum Stadium, and the team has been "seeing a surge at the gates this season -- especially among the student population," according to Matt Murschel of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. UCF was "averaging 43,763 announced fans" for each of its first two home games, which is 99% capacity. Entering Saturday’s contest with Pitt, UCF had "drawn more than 40,000 spectators during each of the past four home games going back to last season." UCF’s average home attendance for '17 "was 36,846." Even "more impressive" has been the turnout by students. UCF Associate AD/Strategic Communications Andy Seeley said that UCF averaged "about 8,500 students" last year. This season, with the student section holding 12,000 fans, the school has "had to turn away students during its first two home games." Tickets are free for students, but a "new reservation system put in place by UCF this season allows students to RSVP for a possible spot at the game on their smartphones." While the RSVP "doesn’t guarantee the student a ticket, it allows the school to gauge how much interest there is going to be for the game." Seeley: "That doesn't mean they're all going to show up, but it but it does give us a really good indication of how popular a game is" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/30).
BRING 'EM OUT? In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis notes the turnstiles have "yet to keep pace" with the Univ. of Hawaii football team's 5-1 start on the "march to their first winning season in eight years." Lewis: "You wonder if the 30,000 threshold in attendance, once as seemingly automatic as turning on the lights, will finally be crossed again?" It has "been 28 games, all the way back" to the '14 season opener since 30,000 or more fans have attended a Hawaii home game. It has "been 11 seasons, the regular-season finale" of the '07 Sugar Bowl campaign, since the school "enjoyed its last sellout." Things have been "so tough for Hawaii in recent years that, by the tenant’s request, Aloha Stadium has stopped selling seats in the yellow and red end sections in the north and south end zones." Hawaii AD David Matlin said that he "doesn't anticipate opening them up" for Saturday's game against Wyoming, but said, should interest dictate, that decision "could be made on the fly" (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 10/1).