College football attendance drops for fifth straight year

Attendance at major college football games has dropped for the fifth straight year, although the drop this year was not as steep as years past, according to CBS Sports’ analysis of NCAA attendance data.

Football Bowl Subdivision attendance for home games averaged 43,288 fans per game, down less than 1 percent from 43,483 in 2014. In 2014, attendance declined by four percent. Although the drop was not has much as years past, 2015’s average is the lowest since 2000.

Average crowds haven’t risen above 46,000 since 2008, when it was at its highest point at 46,456.

Michigan again was the top draw averaging 110,168 fans per game. UM had a 16-year run atop the attendance charts before Ohio State held the top spot last year. Forty-four percent of the top 25 attendance leaders this year experienced increases or remained the same, down from 72 percent in 2014.

The biggest increases among Power Five schools: Pittsburgh (17 percent), Virginia (10 percent), Minnesota (9 percent), Iowa State (8 percent), Kentucky (6 percent), Indiana (6 percent) and Purdue (6 percent). Pittsburgh and Virginia benefitted by each playing a home game against Notre Dame.

The biggest decreases in the Power Five: Syracuse (21 percent), Kansas (20 percent), Oregon State (14 percent), Northwestern (14 percent), Boston College (13 percent), UCLA (13 percent), Florida State (11 percent), North Carolina (9 percent) and Miami (9 percent).

Data used in the analysis only counted home games, no neutral site games. Also worth noting is the data used were numbers reported to the NCAA by the schools themselves, many schools count attendance differently.

SCHOOL 2015 AVERAGE DIFFERENCE FROM 2014
Michigan 110,168 +5%
Ohio State 107,244 +1%
Texas A&M 103,622 -1%
Alabama 101,112 Less than -1%
Tennessee 100,584 +1%
Penn State 99,799 -2%
LSU 93,441 -8%
Georgia 92,746 0%
Florida 90,065 +5%
Texas 90,035 -4%
Nebraska 89,998 -1%
Auburn 87,451 0%
Oklahoma 85,357 Less than +1%
Clemson 81,751 +2%
Notre Dame 80,795 0%
South Carolina 78,822 -3%
Wisconsin 78,014 -2%
USC 75,358 +3%
Michigan State 74,661 Less than -1%
Florida State 73,219 -11%
Arkansas 67,326 +1%
UCLA 66,858 -13%
Missouri 65,120 Less than -1%
Iowa 63,142 -6%
Washington 61,919 -4%
Mississippi State 61,784 +1%
Kentucky 61,295 +6%
Virginia Tech 60,824 -1%
Ole Miss 60,479 -2%
BYU 58,532 +2%
Oklahoma State 57,668 +6%
Oregon 57,631 Less than +1%
NC State 56,988 +5%
Iowa State 56,519 +8%
Texas Tech 56,340 -4%
West Virginia 54,826 -3%
Kansas State 53,100 Less than +1%
Arizona State 52,712 -8%
Minnesota 52,355 +9%
Arizona 51,393 +1%
Georgia Tech 50,707 +5%
Stanford 49,917 +4%
North Carolina 49,643 -9%
Louisville 49,069 -7%
California 48,800 +2%
Pittsburgh 48,150 +17%
Rutgers 47,723 -6%
Miami 47,561 -9%
TCU 46,767 +5%
Utah 46,533 Less than +1%
Baylor 46,160 -1%
Maryland 44,341 -6%
Indiana 44,314 -6%
Temple 44,159 +89%
Memphis 43,802 +29%
Virginia 43,285 +10%
East Carolina 43,274 -3%
Illinois 41,342 Less than -1%
Colorado 39,389 +4%
Purdue 37,508 +6%
Cincinnati 37,096 +29%
Oregon State 36,079 -14%
Houston 33,980 +20%
Boise State 33,612 +3%
Northwestern 33,366 -14%
Vanderbilt 32,134 -6%
Syracuse 32,102 -21%
Navy 31,669 -3%
Army 30,991 -10%
Boston College 30,205 -13%
Central Florida 30,065 -20%
Washington State 29,407 -5%
San Diego State 29,066 -10%
Fresno State 29,036 -17%
Southern Miss 28,335 +25%
UConn 28,224 +3%
Kansas 27,282 -20%
Wake Forest 26,674 -2%
South Florida 26,578 -13%
Duke 26,427 -3%
Marshall 26,322 -4%
Air Force 26,026 -8%
Colorado State 24,917 -6%
Hawaii 23,433 -15%
Texas-El Paso 23,212 -18%
Texas-San Antonio 23,008 -17%
Arkansas State 23,007 -7%
Tulane 22,930 -7%
New Mexico 22,562 +3%
Nevada 22,170 -7%
Louisiana-Lafayette 21,596 -16%
Appalachian State 21,459 -7%
Utah State 21,362 +4%
Ohio 21,323 +4%
SMU 21,043 +2%
Louisiana Tech 20,977 +5%
Toledo 20,842 +7%
Georgia Southern 20,780 -2%
Old Dominion 20,118 0%
Tulsa 19,622 Less than +1%
Bowling Green 19,608 +29%
Western Michigan 19,441 +24%
Troy 19,399 +16%
UNLV 19,371 +24%
Rice 19,339 +4%
Buffalo 18,457 -10%
Texas State 18,166 -12%
Akron 18,098 +97%
Wyoming 18,060 -8%
Western Kentucky 17,960 +10%
Florida Atlantic 17,617 +25%
New Mexico State 17,486 +43%
Middle Tennessee 17,210 -1%
South Alabama 16,039 -8%
Miami (Ohio) 15,707 -1%
Central Michigan 15,672 -4%
Florida International 15,381 +29%
San Jose State 15,312 +2%
Charlotte 14,618 +10%
Northern Illinois 13,942 +3%
North Texas 13,631 -29%
Kent State 12,561 -7%
Louisiana-Monroe 11,732 -35%
Idaho 11,653 -10%
UMass 11,124 -31%
Georgia State 10,347 -31%
Ball State 7,974 -15%
Eastern Michigan 4,897 -67%

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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