Student Attendance to collegiate athletic events has been dropping for some time now. The problem has struck some schools harder than others.
Student Attendance at The University of Georgia
- UGA allots 18,000 seats for students at football games.
- 39% of designated student sections at Sanford Stadium over the last four seasons, have been left empty according to school records of student-ticket scans.
- Being the math gurus we are, that’s roughly 7,000 seats empty a game
- Students at games between 2009 and 2012 never exceeded 15,000.
Student Attendance at The University of Alabama
- 32% of student seats went unused by students between 2009 and 2012,
- The Crimson Tide have won three national championships, and Alabama coach Nick Saban wrote a flattering letter in the student newspaper almost begging students to come in to the games.
Georgia’s Partial solution
- UGA reassigned 2,000 seats previously reserved for students to young alumni before this season.
“It was a significant hole, and it was very noticeable, It was way too obvious.”
-UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity-
Solutions at Other Universites
- Oregon negotiated a deal with fast food giant, Jack In The Box. If the Ducks score 40 points, those who stay for the whole time earn a free “Jumbo Jack” hamburger.
- Schools are considering new stadium Wi-Fi networks that would cost anywhere between $2 million and $10 million,
- Younger crowds use more data. The upload traffic at crowded events doubles that of downloads, and the activity ratio is further skewed by younger crowds
Why Student Attendance Is Down at Universities
- Non-Conference schedules aren’t as exciting as they used to be.
- High-definition broadcast at home, frat house, or a bar gives you a better view than at the game, with easier access to a bathroom, food, and alcohol
- Many stadiums are dead zones for wireless service and younger generations live and die by their smart phones.
What Decision makers are doing about it
- The SEC has hired a New York market-research firm that will spend this season traveling to SEC stadiums, visiting fans watching at home to gather their opinions before presenting its findings after the regular season.
As mentioned last week, Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon is taking action as well.