Troubling news for SEC and College Football in general … -34-years/

“This is not surprising to me,” said Bill Lutzen, a veteran sports TV programmer who is currently the CFO of a web optimization firm. “This issue is with lack of involvement of the college students. They no longer view attending sporting events as part of the university experience.”

Goodness, it sure was part of my experience in the 70’s.

On the other hand, er, in the other hand, there wasn’t a iphone, either.

There’s ups and downs to everything. I think it will come back, just have to figure out a way to make the experience greater. That’s the constant battle in today’s instant gratification world.

When the Supreme Court was hearing NCAA v. Board of Regents in 1984, one of the arguments the NCAA utilized was that too many games on TV will reduce game attendance, which at the time was the primary source of revenue for teams. I think it is the primary reason that TV contracts are so large, because college administrators saw this coming.

Putting aside the cost of attending a game and the convenience of watching all games on TV, you have factors working against attendance. I think the 12-day (and sometimes 6-day) window to announce game times affects the planning for many people who have other weekend activities, in particular those who travel from more than an hour away. There is a proliferation of interest in games that don’t involve your team. There are the technological disadvantages like poor WiFi and cell reception that comes with attending a game.

I also think there is something to the playoff becoming the focal point of so many fans. Once a team loses once or twice, fan attention turns toward firing the coach or benching the seniors so the freshmen can get experience for the next season. I think there are a lot of places in which fans go into the same mode Arkansas went into last year, where fans don’t attend to send a message to the administration. In some instances that doesn’t work and the unpopular coach comes back, which will affect attendance the next year.

I agree with all of your thoughts, except the one I highlighted at the bottom. I heard someone on local Sports Radio voice the same opinion within the last 24 hours (they, too, were discussing this article). Every season - and this goes back well before the advent of the CFP (or even the BCS) - there have been “disappointing” teams that had seasons like Arkansas had last year, and guess what? Attendance fell off for most of those teams as well. At the same time, some “Cinderalla” is have an unexpected season that draws more fans that had been anticipated. Happens every year. I just don’t see the new playoff as being much of a factor in the attendance drop-off.

Indeed, I have read/heard many opine that the last 3 seasons have been as exciting from start to finish as could resonably be expected, and that the quality of the College Football product is at an all time high. I just think that there are so many more options for college aged people to spend their time than there was even 20 years ago (let alone, 50). To me, it’s remarkable that attendance has held up as well as it has, given the acceleration of the “entertainment curve”.

That being said, it’s just a fact that a LOT of things that people 40 and older hold “sacred” (i.e., have always expected to be relatively static during their lives) are going to undergo dramatic changes in the next 20 years. That’s not up for debate - it’s just a simple truth (albeit, one that many steadfastly refuse to accept). That’s one thing that comforts me as I move into Senior citizenship. I can’t imagine the world 30 years from now; but the good news is that I won’t have to deal with it.

If you want an improved fan experience, including students, then the P.T.B. are going to have to reduce many of the commercials and interruptions during the game and figure out how to make those dollars some other way. I want to see the college experience, not the corporate experience.

Crowds at basketball have been good this year, especially in conference. The team being pretty good helps, but the marketing efforts, like discounted tickets when the Hogs win, have also helped.

Football needs the same thing, along with more of an effort to get some of the clutter out of the game experience. Ex-Hogs and others leading a Hog Call is one thing, but a lot of that other stuff on the big screens and elsewhere just gets tuned out by the fans. We gotta pay for everything, but the AD and some of those working for him get paid to figure out ways to make it more appealing.

We certainly did not help the SEC numbers. On our best day at Fayetteville we are at the average attendance mark for the SEC. The LR attendance knocks our average substantially.

Last years LR game decreased our average attendance for all home games by about 7K per game.

They have done that for football, but there weren’t any wins to promote last year.

After the TCU game in 2016, Arkansas put upper-level tickets to the Florida and Ole Miss game on a flash sale for $41 because of the 41-38 score. It didn’t take long for those tickets to go.

When I look at Arkansas’ attendance numbers, I break it into two categories for Fayetteville and Little Rock because of the discrepancy in capacities. In Fayetteville, the attendance trend looks like this:

2012: 66,176

2013: 61,596

2014: 64,869

2015: 67,326

2016: 69,581

2017: 67,762

The national attendance has declined for four seasons in a row. Arkansas increased its year-over-year attendance for on-campus games in three of those seasons.

Don’t let this distract you from the the fact that in 1966, Al Bundy scored four touchdowns in a single game while playing for the Polk High School Panthers in the 1966 city championship game versus Andrew Johnson High School, including the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against his old nemesis, Bubba “Spare Tire” Dixon. #StayWoke

I disagree student interest in sports has dropped off for football, basketball and baseball. At least from my perspective my two college students go to all the home games. They went to basketball game and maybe all three baseball games this weekend. My interest personally has dropped off but I think that is more of the average play we have had since 2012. I was pretty excited when Nutt and Petrino were keeping it going or trying to.

My 27 year old is a fan (as big a fan as I am? To be honest, no, but a fan). He watches most games on TV, I don’t think he would bother to find it on a radio if it wasn’t on TV. He tells me that his generation won’t be big into going to games. He says they will still follow the team, but on TV, not in person. I do wonder if that is more of a function of not having a highly winning team to go see as opposed to a generational change. It could be a generational thing, but, it might be lack of winning.

I grew up going to games off and on until my early teens and then started going to basically all the home games. I think the first year I went to all the home games was 1975. Well, that was a pretty good period for Hog football. 1975 went to Cotton Bowl, 1976 down year, 1977 Orange Bowl, 1978 Fiesta (after starting the year ranking #1 by some). 1979 Sugar. By then, I was HOOKED. On through the 80’s we were generally pretty good.

My kids haven’t had that. If we had an extended run of even top 20 type teams I really wonder if they would get into going to games more.

Not sure.

Good point - stadium, including the student section, looks pretty darn packed in Tuscaloosa.

Winning solves all.

I’m a little younger than your son and I disagree.

I grew up going to games as a season ticket holder and it is honestly my favorite thing to do. Thus, once I graduate from dental school, one of the first things I plan to do is get season tickets. I’d take the gameday experience every day over the couch convenience.

Something about the hog call in person that gets me going. I’m counting the days until I can be at every home game. It kills me to watch them on tv.

I can’t speak for everyone my age, but that’s just me.

I know some others that are close to my age who feel as I do.

My son is also 27. We went to games together for years. He likes going to games, but if he isn’t at the game, he won’t usually watch on TV (he’s in Utah now, and neither one of us went to any games this year, but he does sometimes ask me which channel the Hogs will be on). Maybe that’s just him. He gets upset if we’re not playing well, and maybe that’s why he has avoided watching the football team. The basketball team obviously is a little more successful.

My oldest daughter is 31. She has gone to hog games since since she was born. She hasn’t missed a game in several years. That includes road games. She really enjoys game day on the hill. My grandson knows the Hog Call! My 26 year old watched on TV. I have grandpa duty with grandchildren on the weekend. As soon as they are big enough to take to Baum Stadium I’m taking the whole crew to home games. The little one is 4. I can only seat 7 in the car so we will have to take both cars.
The hogs are a part of life for my family just like Sunday is the day we go to church. God does come first!