Empty feeling at college football stadiums after bond boom

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#1
Long but interesting read for those intrigued by back-office operations:

Empty feeling at college football stadiums after bond boom

>>After years of bond-financed stadium expansions, college football is downsizing amid waning demand for seats, experts say.

“Everyone is going smaller,” said Darin W. White, executive director of the Samford University Center for Sports Analytics in Birmingham, Alabama. “It’s definitely not smart to invest in larger stadiums because attendance across virtually all sports has been declining for the last several years. No one knows for sure when we are going to hit bottom.”<<

>>Vedder said that lesser known conferences like the Mid-American Conference that Ohio University competes in are squandering fortunes trying to keep up with the big boys like Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten.

“They have these wildly optimistic beliefs that if we build a new stadium it’s going to revitalize our athletic program or that we’re going to move to the next level. Well, they haven’t moved anywhere. In fact, they’re moving down,” Vedder said. “My guess is that the risk factors associated with stadium bonds is going to be moving in the negative direction,” Vedder said. “There will be a general rise in bond yield along with a perception of increased risk.”<<
 

Drew

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#4
“Something has changed,” said Gephardt, an Arkansas native. “In a state like Arkansas where there is no professional team, the Razorbacks are the major attraction. To see attendance down like that is tough. It could squeeze them a little bit in a very competitive conference.”

It's astonishing these people can't see what's happening and seem stunned by declining attendance. This comment from an AD that won't play the only other FBS program in the state of Arkansas because of political reasons. Absolute moron.
 

ConnHuskBask

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#5
I never bought into the narrative that had we expanded our stadium, it would have changed our fortunes. I think a lot of decisions could have lead us to different outcomes than the AAC, but having an extra 15,000 empty seats a game isn't one of them.
 

Dooley

Captain Smith-ing With UConn Athletics
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#6
If UConn ever has access to money again, it now makes more sense for them to look into stadium / fan gameday improvements - like covered seating areas, adding another video board, fan zones, etc. The ESPN Effect is killing college football.
 
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#8
If UConn ever has access to money again, it now makes more sense for them to look into stadium / fan gameday improvements - like covered seating areas, adding another video board, fan zones, etc. The ESPN Effect is killing college football.
I don't think any of that would sell one more ticket. In fact, the "fan zone" thing makes me chuckle. Wouldn't that just keep people from sitting in their seat? And isn't not sitting in your seat a horrible thing?
 
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#9
“Something has changed,” said Gephardt, an Arkansas native. “In a state like Arkansas where there is no professional team, the Razorbacks are the major attraction. To see attendance down like that is tough. It could squeeze them a little bit in a very competitive conference.”

It's astonishing these people can't see what's happening and seem stunned by declining attendance. This comment from an AD that won't play the only other FBS program in the state of Arkansas because of political reasons. Absolute moron.
Is there the thought that attendance is down at Arkansas because they're horrible and have been horrible for a while?

Not to say that these things are mutually exclusive, but I think some of the decline is simply the result of fan fatigue. The gap between Alabama/Clemson and everyone else seems to be growing and not everyone lives close enough to see those schools play in person. The increase in exposure that the sport itself has enjoyed doesn't necessarily translate to more people in the seats. The loss in regional rivalries has definitely hurt fan interest, but some of the problems go even deeper than that. Between CTE consciousness, conference realignment, and better TV options, I expect attendance, in the northeast especially, to continue to decrease moving forward.
 

whaler11

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#11
NBA already has VR. No idea if it’s any good but it’s going to get good fast.
 

Purple Stein

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#12
If UConn ever has access to money again, it now makes more sense for them to look into stadium / fan gameday improvements - like covered seating areas, adding another video board, fan zones, etc. The ESPN Effect is killing college football.
If UConn ever has access to money again, they should keep it as liquid as possible. They're going to need it for the next buyout.
 
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#15
State Farm Arena in Atlanta literally has a barber shop and dance club in it. When I go to a Hawks game I spend about 50% of my time actually watching the game. The rest of the time is spent looking at other attractions in the venue.
 
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#16
If UConn ever has access to money again, it now makes more sense for them to look into stadium / fan gameday improvements - like covered seating areas, adding another video board, fan zones, etc. The ESPN Effect is killing college football.
A retractable dome at the rent!! Haha
 
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#17
A retractable dome at the rent!! Haha
A friend on mine, who is a mathematics/business professor a at prestigious University actually developed a proposal for a roof over the Rent before it was constructed and sent the proposal to UConn and the State but never heard from either. I saw the proposal and it never would have cost the State or UConn a penny. It would have been all private money. A very unique idea and doable idea! But alas...."Another one bites the dust".
 
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#18
I actually have never been a bigger is better guy on this. I think the things hurting the sport are largely related to tv. Much as I like to watch the games, it makes attendance an optional thing but additionally it makes the games at the stadium almost unwatchable at times. I went to a NESCAC game last season that played out in under 3 hours. I was at another D1 game in North Carolina where between tv time outs and an injury time out it took over 20 minutes to play the first 2 minutes of the game. Now the injury was unavoidable but the test was just AWFUL. Zero flow .
 
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#19
A friend on mine, who is a mathematics/business professor a at prestigious University actually developed a proposal for a roof over the Rent before it was constructed and sent the proposal to UConn and the State but never heard from either. I saw the proposal and it never would have cost the State or UConn a penny. It would have been all private money. A very unique idea and doable idea! But alas...."Another one bites the dust".
And it would have been more than worth it in the long run. Could have hosted any number of championships in various sports.
 

BlueandOG

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#23
I don't think any of that would sell one more ticket. In fact, the "fan zone" thing makes me chuckle. Wouldn't that just keep people from sitting in their seat? And isn't not sitting in your seat a horrible thing?
I disagree. The reason people go to games is for the game experience - not merely to watch the game. It is easier to watch the game at home or at a bar. UCONN needs to offer an experience at the stadium that a fan cannot get at the game. The NFL is on this. At Gillette, which is always full, they have a bunch of things for people who attend the game: bands, former players, a fan meeting area with a bar that overlooks the game, etc.
 
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#24
I disagree. The reason people go to games is for the game experience - not merely to watch the game. It is easier to watch the game at home or at a bar. UCONN needs to offer an experience at the stadium that a fan cannot get at the game. The NFL is on this. At Gillette, which is always full, they have a bunch of things for people who attend the game: bands, former players, a fan meeting area with a bar that overlooks the game, etc.
And the can NFL black-out a game locally if roughly 75% of the tickets are not sold...
 
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#25
There is a fun factor and a money factor at work here. People simply don't want to invest the time and money to go if they don't feel they are getting a return on that. The football has to be good as very few people are just going to blindly show up for a bad product. You also need a good fan experience in terms of tailgating and stadium amenities. The latter is a lot easier to get, but even that wears out when your team is losing more than winning. At the end of the day it is really comes down to winning football equals fan interest.
 
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