Unexcused Absence: Why Is College Football Attendance Tanking? (SI)



hardcorehusky

Lost patience with the garden variety UConn fan
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The author started ok and fizzled out - I have been watching the dwindling attendance for years in football and both basketball programs. I think it boils down to a the following factors:

1. Competitiveness - people want to see competitive games where the home team has a chance and will mostly win
2. Value of time - in the past, people committed time to a single function. Now, you can watch a tv show while at a game. People leave games early to get to the next thing. They don't go because there are other things they can do - so they value their time differently.
3. The students are more academically oriented than years ago and with their extra time, they are more apt to play video games or be on their phone looking at gifs, memes and YouTube. Going to a game requires much more time which is a waste to them.
4. Lack of in game access to replays and camera angles. I can see things at home that I have to wonder about at the arena or stadium. Why pay money to go to a game when you have better access to technology at home!
5. Culture changes- I don't think the college kids of today played or watched as much football due to video games, etc. Also, they are more apt to interact with their devices and don't enjoy/like the personal interaction that you get at games.
 
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I would add that the CFP system has basically made most games meaningless. After Week 1 50% of the teams are eliminated from any chance. Actually before week 1 50% not in P5 leagues are eliminated. So 75 % are out after week 1 and almost everyone is out by week 3. So who cares?

The in game experience is also pretty awful. Average game time is over 3 1/2 hours I think with far too many breaks in the action. The NFL did a study a few years ago that concluded that the maximum game time should not exceed 3:15. Virtually every D1a college game exceeds that. Touchdown. Time out. Extra point. Time out. Kick off. Time out. At home I can make a sandwich or get s beer. Or even throw in a load of laundry. At the stadium not so much

Regional rivalries were a critical component too. Conference realighnment has led to the end of games like Oklahoma-Nebraska and Texas-Texas A&M.

Funally I think that college football has been moving toward a semi pro modelIt has been gradual but steady. The result has been that in areas where there are pro teams the fans head that way. Why watch semi-pro when you can watch the teal thing?
 

geordi

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel
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I believe there is a more insidious reason for dwindling attendance, not only for college football, but all sports. Much of what hardcore said is likely true. But over time, money has attacked and diminished the integrity of all games and that leads to people blowing off actual attendance. If I watch it on tv, I can at least go to the loo, or grab another beer, or make a sandwich.

i don’t go to many games anymore. But this year, I’ve been to 3 college basketball games and the UConn/Navy football game. What struck me was the constant stoppage of action in all of the games in order to squeeze in more commercials or to head to the instant replay to confirm something. The teams try to mitigate it somewhat by tossing tee shirts into the crowd, getting some fan to try to kick a field goal or make a half court shot, or set up some kind of stupid dribbling game between 2 fans.

All of this, in the name of greed and the almighty dollar disrupts the flow of the game and generally bores everyone.

When I was a kid, it was nothing for a MLB game to be played in 2 hours. I’ve seen games complete in 1:50, 2:05, 2:20. Now it tales 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Baseball is ‘concerned’ at the long times to play so what do they come up with to stop it? Put a stop watch on the pitcher and batter??? If that saves 10 seconds per pitch, it will save 15-20 minutes, not 2 hours.

Reduce the number of commercials and you’ll reduce to time required. (Yeah, I know. It’s quixotic. Everyone wants to be richer than god.) Eliminate instant replay and challenges. They don’t work anyway, and breaks even out over a season. The only ones it benefits is Vegas and the bookies. They'll get by just fine. That will improve the flow of the game, reduce the strain on the athletes, reduce the time commitment for fans to go to the games and they’ll probably attend more. Otherwise they be playing in front of empty arenas in another generation.
 
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Restore parity and get rid of the caste system. P5 and greed have destroyed the college game. Even if you’re a P5, 80% of the teams have no chance. People aren’t stupid and know when the system is rigged. Only hope is playoff expansion to at least 16 and the NCAA reasserts control over the competitive landscape and asserts fanatical trademark control over the name College Football National Championship, cutting the legs out from defectors and turning them into isolated semi-pro garbage. People want to live under the illusion of college athleticism as pure.
 
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I would add that the CFP system has basically made most games meaningless. After Week 1 50% of the teams are eliminated from any chance. Actually before week 1 50% not in P5 leagues are eliminated. So 75 % are out after week 1 and almost everyone is out by week 3. So who cares?

That's always been the case though. It used to be worse even.

I think there's just more options for easy entertainment, and more secondary market options for tickets, and teams/schools haven't adjusted. Less need to buy season tickets because there's more options to buy for just the good games. And if you don't already have tickets for a 70 point blowout game, you are less likely to go out of your way to go.

Article would have been better if it looked at some of the mid tier/lower level schools too though. Part of it is for the schools they looked at , routinely selling out a 90,000 seat stadium is an incredibly high standard. No where to go but down
 

BlueandOG

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4. Lack of in game access to replays and camera angles. I can see things at home that I have to wonder about at the arena or stadium. Why pay money to go to a game when you have better access to technology at home!

This is a big one for me. I still go to UCONN games because of the friends I see. However, I do not go to any pro games anymore. I get a better view, with replay and commentary, on my couch.
 

Redding Husky

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It's the same damn teams in the playoff every year. It sucks. What a snooze fest. What's the point of playing the games when only a few teams have a real chance of competing?

But I still like to go to the SMU games here in Dallas and sit in the front row for $20.
 
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Then UConn should go all-in on new and fun camera angles, in-game stats and concession ordering/fulfillment available only to app-users while in the stadium.
Make the stadium experienced tech-forward and somewhat unique
 
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Then UConn should go all-in on new and fun camera angles, in-game stats and concession ordering/fulfillment available only to app-users while in the stadium.
Make the stadium experienced tech-forward and somewhat unique
I’d also suggest making it the place to tailgate. Extend hours, let people bring rvs. Build up the pre game experience. Try to get buzz any way possible.
 
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Since you can watch the ESPN+ version on your phone as you sit in your car, or stay home and watch on your 60" QLED (and"make a sandwich"), why bother heading to the stadium at all? College football is ultimately about loyalty to a school and its teams. It's about tradition, tailgating, pageantry, competition, and victory. But the stadium game day experience counts too. It can be dramatically enhanced and the AD that figures it all out will be canonized.
One key national fix has to be an expanded playoff. At least 8, perhaps 16 teams so lots of fans have skin in the game as the season goes on. Fans arguing about who should be in the Final 4 is anachronistic. What counts is expanding the opportunity to compete. What's wrong with a collegiate "Tennessee Titans" in the playoffs? Nothing. Get it done.
 
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I’d also suggest making it the place to tailgate. Extend hours, let people bring rvs. Build up the pre game experience. Try to get buzz any way possible.
I read this at first as "try to get a buzz on any way possible." Come to think of it, that might have been a welcome diversion at some games I've seen in recent years.
 
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I read this at first as "try to get a buzz on any way possible." Come to think of it, that might have been a welcome diversion at some games I've seen in recent years.
Ha! It’s why college football is so much more enjoyable than NFL - the tailgating atmosphere. It’s a huge part of game day experience - let’s try and make it best tailgating experience.
 

hardcorehusky

Lost patience with the garden variety UConn fan
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I am going to add two more things-
6) It is annoying when people need to get up to go to the bathroom, concessions or just stand up randomly during a game. You don't have that at home.
7) This one is about colleges and cash: there has been an enormous increase in foreign students admitted to schools who pay cash to attend. Universities like that but those students are here for academics and aren't apt to go to sporting events they might not never have been exposed to.
 
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Yeah go all out accommodating a great tailgate experience should be part of the draw. If the team sucks make it about the overall event
 
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Simply a shift in technology and options.

If you are middle-aged, your parents had to go to the game as tv was rarely an option. So it was a family event and became tradition for many. Once we grew up television was greatly expanded, but local teams were often blacked out in their home region. Also, what we know know as sports bars were much different. If you wanted to see State U or the ol'alma mater play, and be with a bunch of friends, you had to go.

If your children are in their early 30s or younger, viewing options are outstanding and improving constantly. Why fight crowds and pay for parking when you can watch any games you want on televisions that are clearer than your kitchen window or on your tablet while sitting on a beach? They have always lived in a world with these options. Going to a game must seem like a hassle. Even the NFL is feeling the change.

Add that to conference expansion.....where your grand parents rival was 3 hours away, but your new rival is 3+ states away.....It just isn't the same.
 
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If the students don’t care then there goes a lot of future season ticket holders.
Does not going to games as a student affect you being a future season ticket holder? I am asking if there is really a relationship. I was a student in the late '70s and never went to games although I lived on-campus. I had too much to do being a student and working part-time. Any spare time was spent hanging in the dorm with my floormates although we were sports fans. I was a UConn fan since grade school watching Yankee Conference games on the black and while. In spite of not attending games as a student, I became a season ticket holder and traveled as far as Miami for March Madness. I still will travel to see a game and I am looking forward to game at Ole Miss next Fall. I am just wondering if my experience is that unique.
 
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Nothing beats 50,000 of your closest friends all screaming and cheering in the heat of the game. It’s starts with reviving parity and giving the whole college landscape skin in the game.
 
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Does not going to games as a student affect you being a future season ticket holder? I am asking if there is really a relationship. I was a student in the late '70s and never went to games although I lived on-campus. I had too much to do being a student and working part-time. Any spare time was spent hanging in the dorm with my floormates although we were sports fans. I was a UConn fan since grade school watching Yankee Conference games on the black and while. In spite of not attending games as a student, I became a season ticket holder and traveled as far as Miami for March Madness. I still will travel to see a game and I am looking forward to game at Ole Miss next Fall. I am just wondering if my experience is that unique.
Your experience, compared to my friends that attended several different schools, with several different levels of football success would definitely be considered unique.
 
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