I don’t think this comes as any shock to a Georgia fan.
Attendance for the seven games run by the College Football Playoff dropped to an all-time low this postseason, halfway through the CFP’s initial contract that created the New Year’s Six games and the CFP National Championship. The attendance at those seven games were down a cumulative 42,500 fans or 8 percent from a playoff-era high in 2015.
That’s an average decline of 6,069 fans per game across the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Sugar Bowl and CFP National Championship. A sellout crowd of 76,885 Monday watched LSU defeat Clemson at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the title game. That brought the CFP attendance total to 492,220, down 3 percent from the previous season.
For the fourth consecutive year, four of the seven CFP games decreased in attendance from the previous season…
Georgia and Baylor drew only 55,211 in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl. That was down 16,238 from the previous year’s game, another non-semifinal when Texas beat Georgia. The Georgia-Baylor game was the eighth-lowest attended Sugar Bowl since it started in 1935. Three of the lowest-attended Sugar Bowls since the early days of the game in 1939 have come since 2013.
Naturally, Baghdad Bill says there’s nothing to worry about.
CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the overall decline was not a concern.
“This is all best viewed in a game-by-game perspective,” Hancock told CBS Sports. “… Digging deeper into the game-by-game [attendance], the Sugar Bowl had a school with very small alumni base [Baylor] and Georgia had been to the Sugar Bowl last year.”
Overall bowl attendance is up, but then, so are the number of bowl games. What the numbers suggest is that there is a hollowing out at the level just below the playoff games. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that suggests to Bill’s bosses.