Attendance and Stadium Expansion

As noted in an earlier post, attendance is trending down in college football.

Decline in actual attendance at Utah home games is noticeable, especially in the better seats. Technically sellouts, there are a lot of empty seats.

Some of the formerly real faithful attendees around my seats were no shows last season. Across the field, we see lots of red chair backs.

Many seats are held by long term, legacy gray-hairs, who stayed passionate enough to move into them. They sacrificed to get them. Seats will turn over in the next 10 -15 years.

Fans are questioning the Value of attending.

Game times, occasionally weather, convenience, 65" 4k, interminable commercial and play reviews . . . all factor in attending decisions.

If actual attendance by fans is not so much missed, it’s a small step to no renewal. Why not invest $$ into something more rewarding?

Injury risk, especially brain trauma is affecting youth participation. No way would I encourage grandchildren to play. The risk >> reward, especially when other activities provide the same lessons, values, rewards.

All this factors into reasons why I question stadium expansion. Replacing fatigued, antiquated facilities below the SEZ, neccessary. Filling in the corners, not the wisest move given trends.

Basketball used to be a hot ticket. I don’t recall the last time Huntsman Center was at full capacity for a BB game. Curtain partitions employed several pre conference games. Utes championship 98 appearance was followed by a steady drop in attendance.

Ute fans football team enthusiasm peaked at an all time ‘high’ before the last two games. Now, two consecutive years, losses left a sour taste behind. 2019 was worse, because the high was so much higher.

Among many fans, there is a smell of resignation, rather than resilience stenching the air.

RES is being expanded. Ground breaking, construction started. Actual attendance is not increasing. These two things are diametrically opposed.

U of U Athletics is mindful of attendance trends and trying to make game attendance a valuable event experience. But cost/benefit perception is always a primary driver

I would strongly caution UofU Athletics to be mindful of rhese factors when determining football ticket/Crimson Club commitment pricing structure.

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Facilities are also about recruiting and prestige over the long-term, for better or worse. Financing secured at someone else’s expense (state school, so everything is really) and there’s little disincentive. This is also a fairly modest move… but agree with your general concern and observation.

Moot at this point though.

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Love the idea of expanding RES. Long over due simply to improve the locker room facilities. The rest is gravy. Only problem is that the endzone seating is the lowest value seating you can create, which makes it tough to raise funding for it. If I were a high roller booster, I want my seats on the 50, not the endzone.

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Most probably align with your preference. I prefer endzone, but that is because I like to watch line play above all else.

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The entertainment market is saturated.

My tickets doubled last year

I have noted the trend but it can be fixed. Since TV is the bulk of the revenue, pricing needs to make sure all tickets are sold, reducing the price if necessary. Maybe the flash tickets they started with BB will make it easier for folks to move tickets to games they will miss to others last minute. The corners and lower value tickets are needed so families can attend. It will still not be a big stadium, figure it out and get it full. Weather and bad start times will work against us - better pricing will work for us.

Personally, I’m growing tired of attending games. I typically park about 2 miles from the stadium so add 45 minutes both ways for walking. TRAX isn’t bad but add 1 hour both ways for that snail train. Plus it gets so crowded I’m usually ass to face with somebody. After the game is a nightmare at the station.

Then add in the concourse congestion and downright rude fans and my experiences haven’t been great especially when coupled with bad weather or midnight drives home.

The games are still fun in person so I tolerate it but the event frustrations are getting old. Maybe I’m being a snob but it’s a 6 hour block, minimum without tailgating, just to see the game. My wife and kids don’t go so I’m usually ditching them plus my brother has kids sports that conflict so he misses a lot of games.

I love being there and I’ve made a lot of good friends in the NEZ but I’m growing tired of all the other crap. If it was more than 7 games, I don’t think I’d do it.

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