The Pac-12’s got bigger problems than Larry Scott’s genius.

The West Coast comes up a little bit short in the fan enthusiasm department this spring.

But let’s be fair: The Pac-12 will never be on equal footing when it comes to Tier 1 money … assuming all three conferences are in the same contract cycle … because of the difference in fan passion and market penetration for advertisers, and there is a very clear and recent example to illustrate this situation:

Spring game attendance.

It’s not the only measure of passion — and passion means ratings and market penetration and advertising dollars for the networks — but it’s a pretty darn good one.

Nobody should expect the Pac-12 to draw at SEC and B1G levels, but the difference is more striking than you might think…

Oregon scrimmages this weekend and should have the largest crowd in the conference, by a significant margin. I’ve included the Ducks below, even though it’s a projection, because it paints a more complete picture of the Pac-12’s spring attendance relative to the other conferences.

It would have been unfair to exclude the biggest crowd just because of timing.

But even with the Ducks, the Pac-12 has just two of the top-25 crowds … and seven of the bottom 10.

If the fans don’t care, the cable service providers won’t either.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

9 responses to “The Pac-12’s got bigger problems than Larry Scott’s genius.

  1. Silver Britches

    The snobbery in the comments to that article is next level. I’m impressed they put their brandy snifters down long enough to type.


  2. JasonC

    You figure a smart guy like David Shaw at an elite school like Stanford would be able to come up with attendance numbers that even a Tech fan wouldn’t laugh at.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    I spend quite a bit of time out in PAC-12 country, including previously spending several months at a time in parts of California, and its just not the same out there as it is in the SEC, nor will it ever be. And to be perfectly candid, I personally gravitate more toward their philosophy when it comes to football than compared to the typical SEC fan.

    Simply put, fans in most locations out there have far more things at their disposal to do in terms of leisure activities compared to the average SEC fan. They also tend to be quite balanced in terms of the things they are interested in personally — they might like a little football, going to the beach or hiking/biking in the foothills/mountains, attending a tech convention, hanging out drinking wine outside with friends in perfect weather, etc. Thus, attending a glorified football practice naturally is going to be far down the line of their ranking of things they’d like to do during a spring weekend. Regardless, overall I wouldn’t put huge stock in spring attendance numbers — after all, LSU only had around 20k attend, or 3rd worse in the SEC, yet Tiger Stadium will be packed with 102K fans in the fall.

    As for actual eyeballs for T.V. interests, one of the comments that compared the spending power or potential value of a, say, USC or UCLA alum compared to an AU/Bama alum certainly has its merits that also must be considered.


  4. Go Dawgs!

    “Nobody should expect the Pac-12 to draw at SEC and B1G levels…”

    Why the hell not? They certainly expected their network to bring in SEC and B1G type money. They certainly want to be taken as seriously nationwide as the SEC and B1G. There’s a lot going on in California, but there’s a lot going on in Georgia and Florida, too. If you want us to believe that fans in the Pac-12 care as much about football as the rest of the country, then where are they? It’s a free scrimmage. I’ve been to Palo Alto and Berkley. There are a lot of homes within walking distance of their stadiums. Free game? Those places should be packed. If they care about football, that is.


  5. Dog in Fla

    Larry may not be a genius but at least he dresses like one


  6. Let’s see. Spring game in Seattle. Super nice day. Go watch game or go hiking at Mt. Rainier, or go over to the islands, or go over to Eastern WA and hike in the gorge, or go down to Columbia River Gorge and hike. Hummmm, spring game comes last by a long shot.


  7. Ed Kilgore

    I live on the central coast of California, about 88 miles from Palo Alto, and while I agree there are a lot of things to do here in the spring, it’s not like CFB fever grips the area in the fall, either.

    On football Saturdays, I have never once seen a pennant on a car or a flag on a house or heard a fight song on a horn. Stanford is a perennially ranked power, and they often fail to sell out their stadium; you don’t need to rob a liquor store to get a decent seat from scalpers at kickoff time. And it’s really not that people are leading such rich lives that they don’t care about spectator sports: they are insane about the Giants, the Niners and (most recently) the Warriors. I lived in DC for years and it was exactly the same. It’s just not college football country, for all sorts of complicated cultural reasons.

    In Georgia, whole regions of the state, including millions of people who never went to college in Athens or maybe anywhere else, are personally invested in the Dawgs. Here it’s strictly an alumni thing, and the alumni are scattered all over the country.

    I love living here, but miss the insanity of Saturdays, which I do get to recover on the occasional autumn visits.