“I think we focus too much on [bowl] attendance.”

Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters said that because, as you can probably guess, overall bowl attendance is down for the fifth straight year.  And Waters thinks that really shouldn’t matter too much in the vast scheme of things.

“I’m not saying it’s not important. But some of our bowl games exist purely for the experience, and I think that’s where we probably need to focus as much as anything.

“I don’t think you can have a discussion about the health of bowls and limit it to attendance and payouts and ratings. If the attendance is down 4 percent and that’s the same as the regular season, I think it just speaks to the larger issue that we’ve got to get our arms around as an industry.”

He’s right, but not for any of those reasons.  He’s right because of this:

Even though ticket demand remained relatively low for many bowls, millions of viewers keep watching them. ESPN’s New Year’s Eve audience averaged 7.1 million viewers, up from 4.6 million the date in 2013 with far less-attractive games.

Even ESPN has some tinkering around the edges to do, though.

However, the Fiesta’s audience of 7.4 million was its lowest in Nielsen records and the Orange’s 8.9 million viewership was one of its lowest on record. The Peach dropped 43 percent by moving from primetime to an afternoon kickoff on Dec. 31.

So much for that Boise State national audience.  Or Georgia Tech’s, for that matter.

This is just so much wishful thinking on Waters’ part.

This postseason marked the first time many conferences had more control over bowl matchups. Ticket allotments that schools are required to purchase from bowls were significantly reduced in new contracts.

“I think we got into a situation where the bowls were largely dependent on the teams for ticket sales,” Waters said. “I think you’ve got to see bowls getting back in the business of selling the two conferences in their game and go back to the old way of really marketing it locally.”

Good luck with that, fellas.  The conferences and Mickey ain’t going for that anymore.

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14 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

14 responses to ““I think we focus too much on [bowl] attendance.”

  1. Athens Dog

    There were maybe 20,000 at the Belk Bowl. But because no one bought the tickets from the schools or the bowl, scalpers were able to flourish. Then you get inside and even though the lower bowl was half empty, they wouldn’t let you sit there. Total joke. Sell tickets for the crap bowls $10 and fill the place up……….it’s all about the tv revenue anyway.

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    • PatinDC

      Agree. I guess the local bowl commitees get a payment from ESPN or they couldn’t afford to put the bowl on anymore. It used to be ticket sales and sponsorships were to cover the costs.

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      • Bright Idea

        There was a lot more than 20,000 at the Belk Bowl. If attendance does not matter then lower the ticket prices.The prices lead you to believe they don’t want folks at the bowls.

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  2. Ben

    I know it doesn’t matter and that it won’t change, but I was really disappointed by the bowl schedule this year. I hated having the Orange bowl on NYE and the Peach Bowl that afternoon. I was still at work until 4 that day, and I missed a chunk of games, and I bet that hit some others, too.

    I wonder if next year they’ll play the semifinals on New Year’s Day and then the others in prime time on the following days. As much as I like bowl games all day long on three different channels, we’re not getting that anymore, but there has to be a better solution than marquee bowls on NYE while some are still at work.

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  3. Was I dreaming, or was there a component to the CFP enterprise that the 6 affiliated bowls would take the top 12 teams in order and match 5-6, 7-8 and so on?

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  4. DB

    Alternate the bowl games on campus and ramp up the bowl swag

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  5. Scorpio Jones, III

    I am sure Dickhead is responsible for this, my staff is madly researching that finding.

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  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    Tech, the market has spoken. Nobody cares about you.

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  7. 69Dawg

    Remember when we used to call Atlanta Braves baseball a studio sport, The stands would be empty but Turner Broadcasting DGAS, they had their programing and sponsors brought ads. TBS was a leader and ESPN has just followed them and expanded the content. ESPN like most of TV have discovered that it is really cheap to put on reality shows and they don’t really care who is in the live audience. As long as people watch it on TV and sponsors pay good money for ads we will keep having the bowl games. The local promoters need to get the locals to support the bowl if they want the stands full.

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    • AusDawg85

      ^ This. And Disney is pouring HUGE money into research to alter how commercials and ad content are delivered to us to counter the DVR capabilities.

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  8. Big Al

    Can’t wait for the CFP to become an ESPN Pay Per View event to assist the el crapo bowls financially

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