College Football Attendance Still Down, But Not All Schools Hurting
College football attendance in '18 was at a 22-year low, but it is "worth mentioning" that attendance "isn't falling everywhere," according to Bill Connelly of ESPN.com. Comparing home attendance from last season to averages from '05-17, 50 FBS teams were "higher in the former than the latter, and 27 more fell by less than 2,000 fans per game." In reality, a "handful of schools have driven the averages down for everybody." One factor that could "either drive another drop or prevent a rebound this year: continued mediocrity from Tennessee, USC and Florida State." USC's average attendance has "plummeted to crisis levels," going from 91,480 in '06 to 87,945 in '12, 68,459 in '16 and 55,449 in '18 (ESPN.com, 9/6).
BAD TREND TO FOLLOW: In Spokane, John Blanchette noted 42 of the 66 Power 5 programs' attendances "took hits last year, some of them ... truly alarming." Washington State drawing "just 27,228 for the New Mexico State opener and 27,585 on Saturday was troublesome -- the first back-to-back sub-30,000 games" since '13 and the first in a season's first month since before coach Mike Leach arrived in '12. While WSU sold an "all-time high of 12,327 season tickets this fall, there looked to be that many empty seats at kickoff" on Saturday. However, over the past four seasons, WSU has "played to a house filled to 93.4 percent of capacity -- the best such run in school history." There have been 12 "true sellouts in that time, and a half-dozen more games that were 95 percent or near it." WSU's "best stat of the week was the 91 percent renewal rate for season tickets ecstatically trumpeted" by AD Pat Chun (Spokane SPOKESMAN-REVIEW, 9/8).