“… we don’t want to be standing here 10 to 20 years from now and looking around and wondering where our fans went.”

Hey, everybody! It’s a study!

A comprehensive report, “Student Attendance at Collegiate Sporting Events,” commissioned by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) and the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and released Friday can help schools focus their efforts to engage students.

Let’s see what it says!

Among the key findings:

— Average student affinity was 7.1 out of 10, with 81% of students attending at least one live sporting event.

— Interest in the sport, game time, ticket price, opponent and team record were the most influential in students’ determination whether to attend a sporting event.

— Students indicated their favorite parts of the game-day experience were watching live game action (23%), in-stadium atmosphere (17%) and tailgating (15%). Of overall respondents, 28% chose stadium and concession food as the most enjoyable part of attending home games, with that option ranking first among Power Five and FBS schools.

— Of students who follow the team on Facebook, 72% attended three or more home football games. Of those who didn’t, 44% attended three or more games. Facebook followers of teams were 63% more likely to attend three or more home games than students who didn’t follow the team on Facebook, and that trend held for other social media. Twitter (61%), Snapchat (47%) and Instagram (48%) made students more likely to attend three or more home games.

— Students who said WiFi connectivity was not important in their decision to attend games did so at a higher rate than students who said it was.

— Although 67% of students agreed watching games is “more comfortable at home,” it scored lower than 2.5 on a scale of 5 on how likely it would be to prevent game attendance.

— Personal errands, hanging out with friends and family and using the internet were the biggest competing interests in deciding whether students attended three or more games.

— Nearly a quarter of respondents reported leaving before a game is 75% complete. Potential incentives for them to stay for the entire game included free T-shirts, a sponsored post-game party, loyalty points and concession discounts, in that order. Loyalty points and meet and greets with players yielded the strongest results.

Stadium and concession food more enjoyable than tailgating?  Sounds like Michael Adams’ dream come true.

If I were an AD, those last two points would be my biggest concerns.  When you’re duking it out with taking the dry cleaning in to get ’em in the door and free T-shirts to get ’em to stay all game, you’ve got problems with marketing a compelling product.

Then again, why worry so much?  It’s probably something that can be fixed with better WiFi and a sixteen-team national playoff.


Filed under College Football

18 responses to ““… we don’t want to be standing here 10 to 20 years from now and looking around and wondering where our fans went.”

  1. Spike

    And decent parking and traffic control.


  2. Macon Dawg

    Football is dying a slow death.


  3. Based upon this study sounds like going for the tv money is a great idea. If the current college kids are this ambivalent now you are never going to get them to come to games after they graduate. If the decline of attendance is inevitable Might as well jump on the tv money train.


  4. Smitty

    How about selling beer at the games. Surprised it wasn’t listed.


  5. Bulldog Joe

    What? No one goes there for the loud rap songs???

    This can’t be right.


  6. Beekerdawg

    Don’t worry Mcgarity is working with Death Row records to come up with a bitchin’ hook for the kids…


  7. “… we don’t want to be standing here 10 to 20 years from now and looking around and wondering where our fans went.””
    There is a possibility that they may be standing there wondering where all the students went.http://www.cornnation.com/2013/7/18/4532264/why-college-football-will-be-dead-within-20-years
    Those ridiculously large classroom spaces Sir Adams built already stand empty 70% of the time. Still costs to heat and cool them. And the Canadian built vet lab still sucks. lol.

    It is until it happens. Georgia Tech has teamed up with MOOC-based startup Audacity to offer an online master’s degree in computer science. The current two-year degree program costs $80,000, while the online version will cost $7,000. While not free, it’s a massive reduction in cost and the goal is to offer it to 10,000 students over the next three years rather than the 300 it would normally serve.

    Lawmakers in California are working on legislation that would allow MOOC-based learning to replace “lower-division gateway courses” because of long waiting lists for those courses.


  8. JCDAWG83

    It doesn’t matter if there is the best wi-fi in the country, good food, music they love, free t shirts or anything else. Noon kickoffs against crap opponents will not attract student to the games. Quite a few students opt to go home for the weekend, run errands early in the day, sleep in after Friday night and catch the game on tv, or get ready to go out Saturday night instead of going to see a game against Buffalo at noon.

    The students are the core of the fan base of the future and programs ignore or treat them shabbily at their own risk. The student body at tech has so many uber nerds and foreigners now, that they may never recover from their drop off in attendance. Programs cannot rely on the sidewalk alumni and tv money if they lose the students and the alumni.


    • JC, I agree with you about noon starts, but it’s not just cupcakes. The student turnout at kickoff for the tech game last year was pathetic and embarrassing. The student section eventually filled, but the fact they weren’t there at full throat is symbolic of their interest or lack thereof in the game. Maybe we should expect this as UGA’s academic reputation continues to grow, or they want the partying over the game itself. Regardless, it’s not a good trend for our university.


      • Bruno Sammartino

        Student attendance is suffering everywhere. The younger generation isn’t as enamored with going to college football games as a lot of the older folks are.

        Life doesn’t provide many windows into the future…but this is definitely one of them.


        • Bruno, I differ with you on one point. Student attendance and engagement at UGA is great for late afternoon or night games even when we play a so-so opponent. When we play a big opponent at 3:30 or later, Sanford rocks led by the student section. It’s timing as much as anything else.


          • Bruno Sammartino

            Yeah, that’s a good point. Although, I have seen the student section struggling to fill up for some of those games too, when it’s a so-so opponent. From my vantage point, it’s been kind of hit or miss for later kickoffs when it’s not a big game.

            But I definitely agree with you that the early kickoffs are a big problem. Students have never liked them but they like them even less nowadays.

            I would also add that student attendance is suffering even more outside of the SEC. I think the overall trend is that the younger folks just aren’t as into it as we were/are. They have so many more sports and entertainment options available to them. Add that to the reduced numbers actually playing the game at the youth levels and high school and you’ve got a recipe for disaster for the future of the sport. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to burn out in the next 10 years. I just think it will fizzle down over the next 30-40 years or so and fall below some other sports in terms of spectator popularity.


            • I go back to 2012 when we played FAU and Vandy both at night. We had a good environment for FAU and a great environment for Vandy. I know the administration doesn’t want night games, but early in the season for marginal opponents, it’s a great alternative to get fans engaged.

              Your point is well taken about some of the long-term trends around the game, but that can be said about any activity.