If you’re like us at BeyondU Sports, opening week of college football feels like Christmas (or Hanukkah or whatever your holidays are), but this year’s ticket sales won’t exactly reflect that compared to 2011. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports reported this week that attendance figures were surprisingly soft for 2012′s opening weekend. I wrote about this trend briefly during bowl game season last year, entitled “ESPN doesn’t care that Nobody Attended these Games”- Check it out again here.
According to Forde, there was only one stadium that boasted a capacity crowd among the eight SEC home openers. That was Mississippi State that saw 55,082 Bulldogs fans fill Davis-Wade stadium to watch the pummeling of Jackson St. The ACC was not much better. Not counting the Labor Day contest between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, 6/7 of the ACC openers had significantly less fans this season versus last. The Big 12 had the same story with attendance down at 6/8 of the Big 12 schools. 5/8 for the Pac-12 and Oregon almost saw its 13-year sellout streak die until moments before the game. So, what gives?
Click here to see Georgia Tech’s sick new honey comb cheerios-esque uniforms.
If you think about it, the numbers really aren’t that surprising. Aside from the fact the nation is still in recovery mode from the worst recession since the Great Depression, fans are just sick and tired of paying an arm and a leg for a gimmie game. With all the lucrative TV contracts now, its nearly impossible not to catch most of the action in the comfort of your own living room whether its on TV or online (Firstrowsports.eu is a good alternative source for all the games). Darren Rovell of ESPN (formerly of CNBC) has frequently tweeted about the fact college football ticket prices are at all time-highs , so how are you going to convince fans to pay for games whose point spreads are >50?
Economics aside, for years, college football fans were known as the most dedicated fans in all of sports because of the passion they had for their alma mater or favorite team. Thats why we put up with the ridiculous bowl game structure, the BCS, and the horrendous schedules year in and year out, but opening weekend of 2012 indicates some things may change.