Attendance Not Just Down In PL…

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Football Attendance Not Just Down In PL…

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    Keymaster … ailarticle

    The ACC spin-masters will tell you that the economy has affected attendance the last few years – although it doesn’t appear to have hit the SEC or the Big Ten nearly as hard, if you check their attendance figures. Then they’ll tell you that most of their attractive nonconference games this season were played on the road. There’s a little bit of a Freudian slip in that excuse, because what that really says is that allegedly important conference games aren’t that great a draw. Which they aren’t.

    A few weeks ago a key conference game between N.C. State and Clemson drew a crowd announced at 74,000 in 81,400-seat Memorial Stadium in Clemson. Those who were there said it looked like a lot less than that. This was at the one ACC school that was considered football-first prior to Florida State’s arrival. Defending champion Georgia Tech drew less than 50,000 for its last three conference games at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

    Of course the good news is that football expansion has helped ACC basketball attendance. Oh wait, that’s not true either. In 2001, when the ACC basketball tournament was a nine-team event, it drew more than 40,000 fans per session to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Two years ago, in the same building, that number was down to an announced 25,000 for a 12-team event.

    In 2012, when the ACC tournament returns to Atlanta, it will be played across the street at Philips Arena, not because the ACC wants a better basketball atmosphere, but because there’s at least a chance the tournament might fill an 18,729-seat arena. Last year, the Greensboro Coliseum had acres of empty seats throughout the weekend.

    Almost every ACC football stadium has been expanded in recent years with disastrous results – none more so than in the case of Maryland. Former athletic director Debbie Yow did everything but flag people down on Route 1 in College Park trying to get them to sit in Byrd Stadium’s empty luxury boxes.

    Food for thought, I think, when thinking about PL attendance in general and its decline.



    The ACC tournament suffers from four teams that do not have the rabid fan following of the other eight: namely, Miami, VTech, Boston College, and Florida State.

    The Big East tournament stays filled because there are 12-14 schools that can sell tickets in New York (South Florida and DePaul excepted).

    Neither of these conferences really is related to the PL attendance discussion, which has more to do with the public perception of the league and its teams than the fan bases.



    I know you’re closer to the situation at Maryland DFW, but I do think there’s a real shift going on, and not just in the PL. Fans are just a lot more likely to watch a game on TV than they are going to an arena/stadium in general. If it’s on TV, some folks would rather just watch it at home than go to the stadium. For "event games" that’s less true, but in the last ten years it’s been easier and easier to bring the game to your living room and being perceived as more and more difficult to round up friends, family, etc. to see a game at the stadium.

    My point was that it’s not so much that the students "don’t care". They do care – otherwise, Lehigh/Lafayette wouldn’t sell out. But if it’s not an "event", it’s not just students: fans AND students won’t show up. And it’s not just in the PL. The ACC basketball tournament used to be an "event". Now, it’s being moved to a smaller arena just for diehards.


    I agree with your observations, LFN; but, it doesn’t help with all the harassment the administration deals out to the students in making life difficult to go to athletic events. The tailgating policy is atrocious. With the games on TV, people aren’t going to put up with the hassle and watch in the comfort of "wherever."



    Does anyone have a link to the attenance figures for FCS? I wondered why Coastal Carolina got to host with a far lower rating than us, unless they have far greater attendance.

    I noted that South Carolina St was a place or two ahead of us, and is also on the road, but maybe their attendance is significantly weaker. Of course they often get screwed by the NCAA. They were clearly more deserving of a playoff birth in 1979 than Eastern Kentucky (same said for Boston U). They were a clear conference champ vs a clear runner-up, and had at least as good a record.

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