Too bad schools are losing touch with their students on that front, then.
Average student attendance at college football games is down 7.1% since 2009, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of stadium turnstile records from about 50 public colleges with top-division football teams. The decline was 5.6% at colleges in the five richest conferences.
The decrease even at schools with entrenched football traditions and national championships stands in contrast to college football’s overall popularity.
What’s the problem? Not enough wi-fi? Nah, it’s the usual suspect.
The growing number of empty seats in student sections across the U.S. is a sign of soaring ticket prices, more lopsided games and fewer matchups against longtime rivals, and the proliferation of televised games that make it easier than ever for students to keep tailgating long after kickoff.
It’s money that they love. Schools, I mean. And students usually don’t have that much, at least in comparison to older alumni and ESPN. And perhaps that’s why ADs like Joe Alleva don’t sound that upset.
“There are so many other things they can do that maybe going to the game that day isn’t the most important thing on their agenda,” says Louisiana State University athletic director Joe Alleva. Student attendance fell 5.5% to 8,508 in 2013 from 9,000 in 2012.
By the time LSU notices that those students aren’t buying season tickets down the road, Joe will be off enjoying retirement somewhere and it’ll be somebody else’s problem. Of course, by then college football may be sporting a 24-team playoff, so maybe nobody will notice.