Non-CFP Bowl Games Continue To See Dwindling Attendance Numbers
Six college football bowl games this season had their "smallest crowds on record, with section after section of unoccupied seats a yawning indication of just how little buzz there can be for the long, long list of postseason games on the schedule," according to Eric Olson of the AP. Despite a lack of attendance at bowl games, there will "actually be three more next year, bringing the total number of bowl games to 42." While there have been some "empty seats" at the New Year’s Six bowl games, the "bigger postseason blow has been seen elsewhere." The AP analyzed the 33 second- and third-tier Bowl Subdivision games, and of those, 23 were "played at venues where the announced attendance was less than 75% of capacity." Of those 23, eight were "under 50%." Average announced attendance for the 33 bowls was 34,595 this season. Football Bowl Association Exec Dir Wright Waters acknowledged that the "attendance woes for many of the bowls not among the New Year’s Six." He said that part of the issue is there are "schools with fan bases that 20 years ago were excited about going to most any bowl that now are disappointed if their team isn’t in the CFP mix." Waters added that the FBA "plans to form a task force to generate ideas on how to grow attendance, with ticket pricing, matchups and the proximity of fan bases to bowl sites among the factors (AP, 1/9).
COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE: In Nashville, Mike Organ notes it was a "down year in terms of attendance” for the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, but the game still “finished just two places out of the top 10 among all bowls.” An attendance of 46,850 was the bowl’s smallest crowd in 14 years (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/10).