Well, this isn’t good.
Major college football home attendance in 2014 dipped to its lowest average in 14 years as many schools continue to struggle to fill seats.
Football Bowl Subdivision crowds for home games averaged 43,483 fans per game, down 4 percent from 2013 and the lowest since 42,631 in 2000, according to a CBSSports.com analysis of NCAA attendance data. This marked the sixth straight season crowds were below 46,000 since they peaked at 46,456 in 2008.
The data is spread out, as you might expect.
The good news: 72 percent of the top 25 attendance leaders experienced increases or remained the same (all of the top 25 were from Power Five conferences or Notre Dame). The bad news: Only 48 percent of the remaining Power Five schools maintained or increased their crowd average, and many schools in smaller conferences continued to decline.
There are all kinds of issues you can point to for the decline – obviously the home team sucking counts big time in places like Florida, Michigan and Texas – but longer term, it’s some of the fallout you have to expect as college football migrates from being a regional sport to a national one.
Oh, one other bright spot deserves mentioning.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham… had the second-largest FBS increase in 2014. The Blazers averaged 21,841 fans per game, better than 36 other FBS programs and up 107 percent from last year.
Way to go, UAB! Oh, wait…