2011 College Football Attendance Figures

Submitted by Hardware Sushi on December 13th, 2011 at 11:54 PM

2011 College Football Attendance Figures

Michigan (no surprise) lead the nation in attendance at 112k per. 102% capacity. Good work, everyone.

A few other highlights:

TCU at 112% and Oregon at 109% lead by percent of capacity. Expand already, Oregon. Autzen's still only 59k. Nike stock just hit an all-time high last week, fergodsakes.

Big Ten with 3 of top 4, 5 of top 15, 7 in the top 21.

Sad trombone for Sparty's 98%. /cantgetnorespect

PSU's ticket strategy seemed to backfire with Beaver Stadium rounding out at 95% capacity, if not in lower total dollar revenue, then in percent of capacity they had at each game. 6 of the 7 games occurred pre-Sandusky and the one afterward was Nebraska, so the fingers seem to point at the new seating plan.



December 14th, 2011 at 12:11 AM ^

I posted this the other day, but it is very fitting for this years attendance numbers

Not sure what the highest total attendance any one team has played in front of but team 132 has played in front of 1,153,531 this season.  Playing all those home games certainly helps.  With the Sugar Bowl this number will be higher in the end.  Very impressive.


Western Michigan Attendance: 110,506

Notre Dame Attendance: 114,804

Eastern Michigan Attendance: 110,343

SDSU Attendance: 110,707

Minnesota Attendance: 111,106

@ Northwestern Attendance: 47,330

@ Michigan State Attendance: 77,515

Purdue Attendance: 112,115

@ Iowa Attendance: 70,585

@ Illinois Attendance: 60,670

Nebraska Attendance: 113,718

Ohio Attendance: 114,132

Total 1,153,531


December 14th, 2011 at 10:26 AM ^

Even with the eight home games, this year's total won't beat the total for last year. See this post from Phil Steele giving the average home and away attendance for every team last year. Michigan averaged 111,825 for home games, which times 7 is 782,775. The team averaged 79,253 for the five away games plus the bowl game, which times 6 is 475,518.

The total for 2010 is thus 1,258,293, or 104,762 more than this year's total so far. There will be far fewer than that at the Sugar Bowl, so this year's total won't exceed last year's.

Last year's attendance total was helped by the road games against Notre Dame, PSU, and Ohio. Next year, with the game against Alabama at Cowboys Stadium and away games at Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio, the total home and away attendance will likely be even higher than 2010.

Evil Empire

December 16th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Both years we had seven home games plus road games at PSU and OSU.

Theoretically the biggest numbers would be drawn by playing eight home games plus Big Ten road games at Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, then playing in the Rose Bowl.

That would be a really rough schedule but would probably produce a season total of 1,350,000 or so, and since playing in the Rose Bowl would probably mean we played in the B1G championship game as well, that would add another 25-30 fans to the total.

I bet we won't top the 2011 numbers next fall, road games at Minnesota and Purdue (our last two visits to both have drawn <60k) will drag down the average.


December 14th, 2011 at 12:35 AM ^

Wow, 4267 average attendance, 14.13% of capacity.  That's hurtful.  

I feel bad, because much of this is because they are in the shadow of Michigan.  We suck all the air out of the CFB attendance room.

They need to start their own tradition to gain their own identity . . . play on Thursday nights or something like that.



December 14th, 2011 at 12:54 PM ^

Playing midweek games actually hurts EMU's attendance numbers.  Perhaps the ESPN exposure will pay off in long run attendance figures, but it's a challenge to get people there when some students are still in class and the nine-to-fivers are just getting out of work. It's a challenging spot for the MAC-type sorts. 


December 14th, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

Their attendance figures SCREAM to me:

Does not belong in D-IA (fine, fine, FBS).

We can like them like little cousins or nephews (???) or whatever, but, those attendance figures just means, EMU does not belong in FBS.  Half of the MAC doesn't, pretty much.  The D-IA / FBS line is supposed to be based, in part, on attendance, and EMU is way short of it.  At what point is the NCAA going to actually enforce these dang rules?  And by enforce I mean, clamp down on the zillion exceptions that allow tiny programs like EMU to continue to pretend to be D-IA programs.

This affects all of us.  If you clean out D-IA programs that are really frauds and too small to be in D-IA, then limit the number of D-IAA (yes yes I know, FCS) opponents a team has, all of our schedules -- I'm looking at YOU, Wisconsin -- well, us too -- will necessarily have to get more competitive.  There won't be enough D-IA crap to feed the big programs with 4 preseason games each.

Mr. Yost

December 14th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

The fact that English took them to 6-6 (with two 1AA wins, I know) is a success.

NCAA Football needs to divide into 8 directional conferences. N, E, S, W, NE, SE, NW, SW...period. It would still be off geographically due to the number of teams in the east vs. the west, but it would be SO much better.

8 Conferences, 12 teams per conference puts you at 96 teams. That's PLENTY, you're still going to have bottom feeders, but that eliminates about 24 of those schools that really have NO BUSINESS being in 1A football. It still allows you to be inclusive as the NCAA claims to be. We all know there aren't 96 teams that can compete, but having 4 conferences of 12 teams is too unrealistic.

8 Conferences...12 teams. 8 Team playoff. If you're ranked in the top 4 of the final BCS standings, you can still get a bid to the playoff even if you don't win your conference. This eliminates a 1-loss Alabama team from being left out over a 3-loss conference winner from the Northeast Conference.

Everyone else go to bowls like normal.


December 14th, 2011 at 10:43 AM ^

I hate to defend EMU in this because I think a little over 4,000 per game is pathetic especially when you consider that EMU had the best season they've had in a long time.  However, of all the issues facing the NCAA, attendence figures should be one of the lower ones.  Instead of bitch about attendence how about oversigning?  Or maybe the pay for play that Cam Newton sort of brought up?  Maybe the swirling allegations of Ohio State?  All of those things have a more direct impact on competitiveness than how many people were sitting at Rynearson Stadium.

Yes, I think it was sad as I was sitting on the sidelines and looking at an almost full one half of the stadium and a pretty much empty other side of the stadium but there's not much that can be done about that.  I think attendence at the games is more of an issue for EMU to address rather than the NCAA (and in a way they sort of did by getting Pepsi to buy a number of tickets to get sales to 15,000/game).

But looking at the games at Toledo and CMU I went to, EMU definately has a long way to go.


December 14th, 2011 at 10:11 AM ^

Oh many, they are less than half the attendance of the second to last team. That's pretty awful. Does anyone know if they do anything for like free tickets for youth groups or something. Also don't you need 15k per year or something to stay fbs? Are they in danger of being kicked out?


December 14th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

This topic was covered in an annarbor.com article from October. EMU has been selling tickets to Pepsi in bulk to make sure it stays above the 15,000 average needed to remain an FBS team. Every other year is an NCAA "count" year—last year was one, this year wasn't.

In fact, for the past decade EMU has kept its FBS status by selling tens of thousands of tickets to Pepsi —one of the corporate sponsors for the athletic department— during NCAA count years, which are every other year.

Last year, an NCAA count year, average attendance was about 6,400. To reach the 15,000-attendance level required for an FBS team, EMU sold Pepsi 50,000 tickets at $3 apiece. Tickets are normally sold at $9 apiece. EMU students receive free entry.

EMU also sold tickets to Pepsi in 2008 and 2006. Both years were NCAA count years.


December 14th, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

If I remember correctly, they took somewhat of a hit for inflated attendence figures.  So I think they are reporting actual people that attended the games.  Although I'd swear that it seemed like more people attended at the Western, Ball State and Buffalo games.  For the Western game, it seemed like the home side was full which would mean about 15,000.


December 14th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

Teams only have to hit 15,000+ once every two years, and they can use either actual attendance or paid attendance to hit 15,000.  I'd guess last year they used University/Donor/Pepsi funds to buy up the unwanted tickets to hit the 15,000 mark. If this year's meager number stands, they'll have to do whatever it takes to hit 15,000 for the 2012 season to stay in the NCAA's good graces.

EDIT: Too Slow


December 14th, 2011 at 1:40 AM ^

...there is just too much college football for the market.  Folks here in California will support their alma maters, but unless one went to UCLA or USC, folks are either uninterested or have other allegiances.  It also seems that people who grow up in Southern California don't naturally associate with a local school the way they do in Michigan.


December 14th, 2011 at 2:12 AM ^

that UCLA is playing in a stadium that holds 100,000.  I don't think they've ever filled it, so a % number doesn't work well for them.


Think MSU demand playing in Michigan Stadium (second thought don't think about that, gross)


USC has the same issue with the coliseum and a big capacity, but to be honest USC should just plain have more fans.


Miami also plays in a stadium they don't own, so again their attendance % is out of whack.


December 14th, 2011 at 9:48 AM ^

I went to one September game in the Rose Bowl, to see the Bruins.

I realize the REAL reason to go to those games:


And those are UCLA coeds, meaning, they make them look GOOD.

You got midwestern girls who wear sweatshirts to games.  You got Southern girls who wear their "Sunday best" to games (which begs the question... if they wear their Sunday best on a Saturday, then...????) .  And you got USC and UCLA girls who go to get tans wearing bikinis.  UCLA is Chuck Sheen:  WINNER.

Ty Butterfield

December 14th, 2011 at 12:44 AM ^

Instead of yelling about getting no respect Sparty fans need to work on selling out their home games. It is pretty sad when they have one of their best seasons in a long time and can't even fill up that joke of a stadium. Sparty football fans seem to be as fickle as L.A. sports fans. If the football team regresses to being mediocre I bet their attendance will drop off as well.

Space Coyote

December 14th, 2011 at 1:17 AM ^

Really?  Your team is good for the first time in forever and you fill 14% of your stadium.  This is a big reason why Eastern is almost certainly a dead end gig and what Ron English has done there nothing less than amazing (yes, getting a team to .500 is counted as amazing at EMU).  You can't build facilities or bring in recruits with this support.  Sad really, but I guess when you got a more popular team like 10 minutes away in a stadium that holds over 110k it at least gives about half an excuse.


December 14th, 2011 at 5:54 AM ^

....in the MAC and play their games in the middle of the week, it might not be quite as forgotten a program as it is, though I am having trouble imagining that ESPN has yet Googled "Rynearson Stadium" to get directions. Having two major D-1 programs in the same region, one of them being ten minutes away in the city immediately to the west, certainly doesn't help them out. No matter what they do, they might still end up with the short end of the stick in what is a pretty saturated college football market in Metro Detroit. 


December 14th, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

I think it's been said before but I'll say it again.  EMU is in a tough spot.  They aren't too far from one of the most hallowed places in College Football, so they have to compete with that on game days.  I would say that a good chunk of EMU's student population comes from the Metro Detroit area so on weekends those folks head home.   With a few exceptions, EMU Football hasn't been competitive since the 40's (the stadium is named after that coach).  So they face an uphill battle to get people to come to the games.  Just before I was a freshman, they would have raffles and stuff to get people to come but I don't think that bore fruit until 1987 (my freshman year) when they went to the Cal Bowl.

The couple of times that I've gone to CMU games, they seem to do well in getting people to come to the games but then again, they don't have much to compete with.  I'm not sure about WMU.  It would be nice if EMU didn't have to resort to tricks to get there figures up but I don't know.


December 14th, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^

My parents have had WMU tickets for a couple of years (my brother is in the band) and they seem to do okay, for a middling MAC team with decreasing prospects throughout the season (read: no one in the endzones, but the main bleachers fairly full). What amazes me is how few students go to their games; it's free and they have at least seemed like conference contenders for a couple of seasons.

But nothing was like my trip to Rynearson for EMU/WMU this year...it was a ghost town, and homecoming, to boot (plus, it was our bye week, else I'd be in the Big House of course).


December 14th, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

They made season ticket holders drop $500/ticket to keep their spot at getting season tickets. Tthis didn't even guarentee the same seats as normal. My family had 4 season tickets for ages and we knew the people we sat around every game but dropped to 2 when that happened (partly because both my brother and I are now out of the house, but I digress).

Also, they moved the students to the endzone, freeing up more expensive tickets in the actual playing field. I think students are wrapped around the 10-10 while they used to be half the endzone to about the 35.

The big thing though was the mandatory donation. I know my family wasn't the only group of people to let some/all of our tickets go. My dad told me that he never went through an entire season with so much room sitting in the stadium because there were just fewer people there.

On top of that, this wasnt a very marquee season to have tickets and you may have seen more people drop thier packages. I look at Michigan next season and the schedule looks all to similar to PSU with only 1 marquee matchup and a bunch of filler games, next year might not be a banner year for us either.