“I would not have built that stadium.”

This is sad.

The attendance at University of Akron home football games wasn’t just bad last year, it was the worst among all 125 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

The Zips, who play at 30,000-seat InfoCision Stadium, reported drawing a total of 55,019 fans for six games, according to data the NCAA recently released.

It was the lowest number reported by the university since 2005, when the team attracted 54,464 and played at the decrepit, off-campus Rubber Bowl.

It’s also expensive.  The stadium was built in 2009, at a cost of more than $60 million.  And that’s not the only expense the school suffers.

… With the university subsidizing the football operations by about $8 million, it’s not good that fans and their much-needed cash are staying away from games.

That has forced the university — already making annual debt payments of $4.3 million on the stadium — to dip deeper into its own pocket to drive up attendance artificially.

The NCAA requires universities to average 15,000 fans in actual or paid attendance over a rolling two-year period to remain in Division I. In 2013, the school bought 56,710 tickets valued at $10 each.

I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Then again, with fans like these…

“I don’t know what it is about Akron,” LaBate said. “If you live in Columbus, you kill to go to an Ohio State game. It’s the way you grow up. That culture doesn’t exist in Akron. I don’t know why.”

… there are probably a lot of things that seem like good ideas.  Maybe they need to think about adding WiFi.




Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

26 responses to ““I would not have built that stadium.”

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    Does this help explain:


  2. Schools like Akron, Buffalo, UAB, et al, have no business playing football in D1/FBS (or whatever it is now). They don’t have the money to make it happen. They don’t have the fan/alumni support to be successful. They don’t have the brands that are appealing to the networks.

    As a result, the students who decide to go there for the education end up holding the bag by subsidizing the football program through tuition, fees, or reduced opportunities elsewhere on campus.

    If you can’t fill a 30,000 seat stadium without accounting tricks, you have no business playing D1 football.


  3. InfoCision in Akron? I thought Tebow was in Philly.


  4. Chi-town Dawg

    Agree with the comments posted here and also have to wonder if those programs who added a gazillion seats in order to accommodate 100,000+ fans might also start to feel a little squeezed as more people decide to watch from the comforts of home. We saw what happened at Michigan where they were literally giving away seats against Big 10 opponents as part of a promo deal and their sellout streak ended. Texas A&M may eventually regret adding all of those seats as well. I recently figured out the cost of maintaining my UGA tickets was $950 each when you factor in the donation and ticket purchase price and this doesn’t even include parking, gas, etc. Seems awfully expensive to watch 2-3 cupcakes a year and either Vandy or Kentucky at home. Easy to sell the tickets when your team is doing well, but guess we’ll see what happens over time.


  5. 81Dog

    all they need are some ribbon boards and seizure inducing scoreboard ads, plus a shrieking PA announcer, and they’ll be selling out every week. That’s what got UGA over the top, right, bean counters?


  6. Union Jack

    First – I am disappointed to learn no one is currently playing in the Rubber Bowl. I have always wanted the two USC’s to meet in a early season kickoff game. The promotion of it would have been epic.

    Cocks vs. Trojans – Rubber Bowl. Coming in Akron 2015.

    Nevertheless, it is Akron and if you have ever had the pleasure to visit NE Ohio, specifically Stark (Canton) or Summit (Akron) counties, then you would understand. There is a certain retro/Vintage Americana charm to the place that wears off really fast when you realize that it is an area of America that time has almost passed by. The area is chronically underemployed, they have massive infrastructure issues, the area is not on the cutting edge for developing industry and the population is rapidly aging. The school and Bowden probably sold each other a bill of goods to enter into this partnership.

    Akron probably told Bowden that they are situated right in the soul of American football where people love the game – they are they just happen to love the Browns, the Buckeyes, Notre Dame, Massillon, McKinley and about 13 other teams more than the Zips – we just need a Pied Piper to bring players and fans to this new stadium we want to build. Bowden said I am the son of Pied Piper will that work?


    • Mayor

      I hate to break the news to you UJ but that description of the Canton/Akron area pretty much fits the entire US since 2008.


      • Union Jack

        Really? Akron Canton feels like it still stuck in 1983. I have been to plenty of places in the US where it feels like 2015.


        • Mayor

          Well, I haven’t been to Silicon Valley, LA or New York in a while. I do go to Carrollton, Albany and Jesup, though. And Aiken, SC; Anniston, AL; Jackson, MS, etc. I was just in TN the other day. Really, most of the country hasn’t recovered from 2008 IMHO although if you believe our government the recession was over in 2009. Of course, this is just from my own observation.


  7. Beekerdawg

    When NAFTA is repealed, the entire rust belt will become relevant again but the Zips will still be 13th on the list for fan support in NE Ohio….