to play football, not to play trumpet
This Article about college football attendance (another year of decline, although less than years past) lists the average attendances for every team in the FBS. I scanned the list and thought little of it, but Ace commented because he found the bottom team notable.
The team on the list with the worst attendance is, with a listed average of 4,897, Eastern Michigan University. Naturally.
Ace commented because he lives close to the Stadium and has never, ever noticed signs of a game going on. I found his comment notable not because it wasn't true, but because after almost 30 years of EMU invariably stinking, I didn't find this notable. I mean, they're always bad, and haven't even been interesting since the Charlie Batch years in the 90s (not coincidently the last time I saw a game there).
But it really is remarkable how irrelevant they are. Ball State is the only other FBS school that averaged below 10,000 fans; every other team, even the least relevant, draws at least five figures.
And I guess we really shouldn't be surprised. There just aren't many fans. In fact, there might not be any, aside from family members and employees. So I pose this question: Who is their fanbase? What conditions cause one to become an active fan of Eastern Michigan University?
And how can a school promote a team in the shadow of the University of Michigan that has such a fanbase problem?
Per NCAA.org, Michigan took first place, averaging 110,168 per game. Not too surprising.
On the other end of the spectrum (and yet just 6 miles away), Eastern Michigan was dead-last, averaging 4,897 per game (not a typo). They brought in just 29,831 folks for the entire season (6 games), which is less than their actual stadium capacity.
Also of note, Orgeon packs the most people in relative to stadium capacity (106.72%).
Maryland men's basketball has announced an interesting ticket promotion. Season tickets in the upper reaches of the arena are still available at around $395 for the season. They are offering, however, a pass for $150 that gets you a seat for each home game until they lose at home. It could be a big bargain. Last year, they lost to Virginia at home in the B1G-ACC challenge, but didn't lose any others. This year's home schedule is Mt Saint Mary's, Georgetown, Rider, Cleveland State, St. Francis (PA), Md. Eastern Shore, Marshall, Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Bowie State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.
Troubled times in student-ticket land. Michigan is not the only school trying to figure it out. The Wall Street Journal ($paywall) article cites a number of newer data-points that say bathrooms and concessions trumps wi-fi. No mention of where jumbo-trons rank, however. The former athletic department regime's pursuit of "super bowl" experiences, "cutting edge" halftimes, and a rawk music driven festival atmosphere, all seem to have been mildly to wildly off track.
The piece leads with a pic of an embarassingly few Michigan students standing in a sea of empty seats at the Indiana game. I don't have the pic posting skill to put that image up, perhaps someone can oblige?
I was perusing the SXSW schedule today and saw that the linked event is happening today. It's a discussion of the challenges teams are facing getting people to attend games live when the home experience keeps getting better and better, and what teams can do to improve the in-stadium experience. One of the panelists is Jordan Maleh, Michigan's director of Digital Media.
Are there any MGoBoard members attending SXSW, and could we get a report from this? I doubt anything groundbreaking will be shared, but it will probably be very interesting to see how the speakers see and approach the issues differently. It ties into our ongoing discussions about student and attendence in general, and what our school is doing to combat the problems.
All of those empty seats we saw in a large number of non-Big House games this year were no mirage. College football attendance is at its lowest levels since 2003. It also seems that our students are not alone with respect to their attendance "issues" of the last few years.
I also thought this piece was relevant in view of yesterday's PSD increases noted on an Mgoboard thread.
Five of the six BCS conferences reported attendance decreases, and per al.comreporter Jon Solomon, the only exception -- the Pac-12 -- was an exception only because Cal left its temporary limited-capacity stadium setup in 2011 for its newly renovated Memorial Stadium.
Note - this was not OT because BIG football was discussed.