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Final SEC Spring Game Attendance Numbers Are Out

gfx - by the numbersWith 14 SEC spring games now in the books, we can begin perusing the attendance numbers for each program.  Is this a fair comparison of overall interest in a program?  No.  Florida announced early that it would be conducting nothing more than an open practice session and its attendance suffered accordingly.  Auburn had the added draw of the final roll of the oaks at Toomer’s Corner and that spiked attendance on the Plains.  Schools with new coaches — Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas — all saw their attendance numbers jump a bit over last year’s attendance, which was to be expected.

Also these numbers are usually nothing more than stab-in-the-dark estimates.  And stab-in-the-dark estimates released by a school are usually spun to make gains look as big as possible and decreases appear as small as possible.

All that said, below are this year’s spring game attendance numbers from around the SEC.  We’ve also included last year’s attendance for comparison:

 

  School   2013 Attendance   2012 Attendance   Yr-Yr Change
  Auburn   83,401   43,427   + 39,974
  Alabama   78,315   78,526   – 211
  Tennessee   61,706   35,421   + 26,285
  Arkansas   51,088   45,250   + 5,838
  Kentucky   50,831   4,500   + 46,331
  Texas A&M   45,212   15,000   + 30,212
  Georgia   45,113   44,117   + 996
  S. Carolina   35,218   34,513   + 705
  LSU   28,000   33,000   – 5,000
  Ole Miss   28,000   25,000   + 3,000
  Miss. State   21,000   22,604   – 1,604
  Missouri   18,384   18,614   – 230
  Vanderbilt   14,000   8,500   + 5,500
  Florida   10,000   38,100   – 28,100
  SEC Average   40,733   31,899   + 8,834

 

Again, knowing that the SEC average of 40,733 is a ballpark number, let’s compare it to attendance across the nation for actual football games in 2012.  According to the NCAA data, the average attendance for the 763 games played by the 120 FBS schools last year was 44,970.  Meaning the average attendance for a spring game in the SEC was within about 5,000 people — give or take — of the average attendance for all regular-season football games across the country last year.

Keep in mind, too, that the SEC led the nation in average attendance last year with a number of 75,538.  Take away the SEC’s regular-season numbers and the overall FBS number drops… meaning that SEC fans are more interested in spring football than many other fans across the nation are interested in actual, meaningful football in the fall.

Even more interesting — and this says something about the power of bowls to draw crowds in the HDTV age — is the fact that last year’s average bowl game attendance came in at just 49,224.  (You can also bet that those numbers were inflated.)  In other words, SEC spring games on average drew within 10,000 people of an average bowl game played last season.

We say it every year, but no fans in the country care as much about college football as those of the Southeastern Conference region.  Credit the weather or fewer professional franchises, if you like, but the bottom line is — spring or fall, SEC fans turn out for anything involving a pigskin.

 


3 comments
mutigersbball
mutigersbball

In defense of Mizzou....

Our spring game, for some reason totally unknown to me, was basically as hidden from public view as much as possible. It was almost as if the university did not want people to show up. There was almost 0 promotion and you had to dig fairly deep on the athletic site to even find out the date/time of the game. They just made no attempt to create any "buzz" about the game. So I'm guessing that some people that would have normally shown up didn't even know when the game was going to be. This may have something to do with the fact that half of our stadium is essentially closed off due to renovations. So even if the place had been filled to capacity there's no way that more than about 35000 could have shown up. Just not an ideal set of circumstances overall. 

Mizzou's stadium when renovated will be very much in the middle of the SEC with a capacity of about 76000. We'll always be behind Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, and Florida in attendance....but we'll be in the same neighborhood as Arkansas, South Carolina, and Auburn. And well ahead of Ole Miss, Kentucky, and Vandy. Even when we had the 70,000 person stadium it was hard to say we were the ones bringing the averages down, with Kentucky, Vanderbilt (about half the size of the old Faurot Field), and Ole Miss all lower than that. Just sayin'.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

There are a few cracks in the "armor" of SEC attendance, but those cracks seem to permeate college number attendance. Some of the bowl attendance numbers were way down (UF's bowl numbers were horrible), but I think that has to do with a very repetitious and tiring alignment for bowl games. Fans want to go someplace new sometimes. The SEC got a big boost this year with a bit of excitemenet from two new teams, both of whom's fan base turned out to support the transition. Overall, the SEC is better off today for attendance numbers than last year. Mizzou's small stadium sort of brings the average down, but the percentage of fill per seat probably went up this year (or at least maintained from the previous year).

Be interesing to look at the numbers for next year in comparison for this year. I suspect attendance nationwide will continue to slip by fractions. Especially in the bowls.

MizSec1911
MizSec1911

@BonzaiB

Nice Try! Below is a rundown of attendance figures for all 14 SEC schools in 2012:

  • Alabama: 101,722
  • Georgia: 92,723
  • LSU: 92,626
  • Tennessee: 89,965
  • Florida: 87,597
  • Texas A&M: 87,104
  • Auburn: 82,646
  • South Carolina: 80,001
  • Arkansas: 68,046
  • Missouri: 67,476
  • Ole Miss: 57,066
  • Mississippi State: 55,628
  • Kentucky: 49,691
  • Vanderbilt: 37,860

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