2013 Outback: attendance up, TV down from 2012 (MSU/UGA)

Submitted by robpollard on January 3rd, 2013 at 3:22 PM

As you may have noticed from watching all the New Year's Day games, a plethora of tickets were still available at the bowl games, particularly the Gator Bowl.

For the Outback Bowl, the addition of Michigan did help increase attendance (54,527 vs 49,429) somewhat but it was still far from a sellout.  In terms of TV, the rating dropped quite a bit, from a 5.0 (MSU/Georgia) to a 4.3 (UM/SC).

It's obvious Georgia is a bigger TV draw than SC, but I'm a little surprised Michigan didn't help keep that number closer for 2013. Pairing this with the poor showing of last year's Sugar Bowl (3rd lowest BCS game of all-time), it seems to confirm that while we're a big TV draw (compared to 95% of programs), we're not quite big enough by ourselves to draw a huge numbers of viewers.***


(Note on link: while the ratings are as solid as TV ratings get, take the attendance figures with a grain of salt; there is simply no way there were 70,000+ at the Orange Bowl -- on TV it looked like a typical U of Miami game.)

***Update: as 'Murph' pointed out below, the Outback bowl was on ABC last year, not ESPN.  Since ESPN is in 87% of TV household (essentially 5/6), this means the "normalized" number for last year's Outback would be 4.2 -- thus the TV rating was essentially unchanged from 2012/2013..



January 3rd, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

As far as the TV draw, I think our lack of success the last few years has kept people away. We're just not good enough to draw National Interest week in and week out


January 3rd, 2013 at 3:50 PM ^

Updated OP to note that.

Also I'll say, with the Cap One bowl switching from ESPN to ABC this year, its jump up in ratings was not just b/c of the networks, but b/c it had two national opponents (UGA/Neb) in a competitive, high-scoring game.

So in short, both teams and network matters. It's good to know we can draw as well, if not better, than Georgia, which is what I would suspect.


January 3rd, 2013 at 3:39 PM ^

Last year new years was on a Sunday, meaning many people had Monday as a holiday. This year, with New Years on a Tuesday, more people were probably traveling to return home before work the following day. Accordingly, I bet there were simply fewer TV's turned on this year relative to last year (unless that's not how ratings work, on which case, oops.)


January 3rd, 2013 at 3:55 PM ^

The attendance was kind of shocking to me.  I went in 2003, and the game appeared to be 95% sold out.  Now granted, we played Florida, but that was a Ron Zook team coming off of a "meh" season for them.  The cheapening of "going to a bowl game" may really be having some effects.  


January 3rd, 2013 at 4:05 PM ^

the trend is DOWN DOWN DOWN across the board.  54K for Michigan and South Carolina is a shockingly low number.


I tried something the last 2 years out of curiosity ... checking airfares for DTW-MCO, DTW-TPA, and DTW-JAX (all possible U-M bowl destinations) both the Friday before the announcements and the same (Sunday) evening of the announcements.  The rates had increased by over 35% for DTW-TPA, while they were unchanged for the other two.


The same thing happened last year, when I was purusing the possible Penn State bowl destinations (PIT/PHL-JAX/IAH/DFW/PHX).


Airfares are already high priced enough around the holidays, but pricing tactics like that by the airlines aren't helping attendance either.


January 3rd, 2013 at 4:36 PM ^

I was trying to go on the cheap.  I kept checking airline fares all through the weeks, up until New Year's Eve, trying to see if they'd sell the last couple of seats on the cheap to fill them. I don't know that I ever saw a fare much under $400.  And most of those involved 6-9 hour flights (with huge delays in Minnesota or Atlanta) so you were losing the whole day. Direct flights were way more. I think next year I'm going to try what I always have said I should try and book flights to all of our possible destinations on Saturday and cancel all the ones that aren't the case on Sunday in the 24 hour window. Because it's getting prohibitive.


January 3rd, 2013 at 4:44 PM ^

It can actually be cheaper to take the Amtrack to Chicago, spend a night in Chicago and fly in and out of Chicago directly than a direct DTW to bowl destination flight.  As a bonus you get time in Chicago.  Or you can take the Amtrak and fly out on the same day, which can make for a long travel day but at least you get to spend that extra time on Amtrak inside of on a connecting flight or running around a second airport.  


January 3rd, 2013 at 4:50 PM ^

Unless it is a big game, I would prefer to spend NYE where I want then watch as many games as I want in HD.

Plus, many people already travel somewhere for Christmas and can't afford to travel for a bowl game as well.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

January 3rd, 2013 at 4:27 PM ^

I call hard core BS on those attendance figures.  No way that many people went to the game.  Maybe sales vs. butts in the seats is the discrepency here, but I watched that game start to finish and it was a third full at best.  

Ratings fluctuate annually, and frankly having all the BIG teams playing at 1pm hurts the ratings for all the games.  I will never understand why the Outback didn't play at 1145 like old-en days, Citrus at 1pm.  Makes no sense.    


January 3rd, 2013 at 5:54 PM ^

My best friend lives in SC and says that there are more Clemson and Georgia fans in SC. He lives an hour away from Columbia. I bet SC played a big role on the horrible TV ratings. Also, be the big Spartan haters we are I bet the Georgia/MSU TV ratings got help from us(Wolverine fans).


January 4th, 2013 at 12:36 AM ^

I am still surprised at how many empty seats there were on the SC side.  They only have half as far to travel, and their team was favored going in.  They really should be embarrassed.