Report: SEC football attendance in 2019 lowest since 2001
In the SEC, viewership is as strong as ever, but attendance is down.
Josh Vitale of the Montgomery Advertiser crunched the following numbers: The league’s 14 teams combined to play 102 home games in 2019 — including three neutral-site games between two SEC teams (Florida-Georgia in Jacksonville, Arkansas-Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas, and the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta). The total attendance number for those games was 7,418,914, a decrease of 82,761 from 2018, despite there only being 100 total conference games that year. The averages are 72,735 fans per conference game in 2019, a decrease of 2,282 from last season, and the conference’s lowest average since 2001 (72,130 per game average).
“Issues related to attendance are not unique to college sports,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told Vitale. “There are challenges that are common across sports, college and professional, such as viewing options through enhanced at-home and mobile technology and a new generation of fans with a changing set of attendance habits.”
The good news for the conference is that TV numbers remain strong.
Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Florida are five of the 10 most-watched teams of the season, bringing in more than 38.5 million television viewers during the regular season.
Citing Sports Media Watch, Vitale notes that two of the three most-watched regular-season games were played between league opponents: the Game of the Century II between LSU and Alabama (16.64 million viewers) and the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama (11.43 million). The SEC Championship Game between LSU and Georgia won the conference championship game ratings battle with 13.7 million viewers for CBS.
The full article, which dives into what may have caused the attendance decrease and whether the new alcohol sales policy had an impact, can be viewed here.