Monday, March 12, 2012

College Football Conference Re-alignment & College Basketball Attendance

The Washington Post, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal have all written about the drop in attendance at college basketball arenas. Explanations for the decrease include a one year aberration, fan apathy, enhancements in the home viewing experience, the economy, coaching changes, scandals, the culture of one-and-done freshman phenoms, a Facebook generation unwilling to step away from the iPadantipathy for the high salaries of coaches and their staffs, and the overemphasis placed on the end of the season conference and NCAA tournaments.

Save the case for one-and-done freshman most of those explanations should also apply to college football, which has witnessed no such decline in attendance. But DBSF thinks the he decline more likely reflects historical match-ups ending (or at least getting diluted when rivals only meet once a year) and traditional conferences expanding as a result football conference re-alignment. The efforts to increase revenue from TV contracts for larger football conferences adversely affects college basketball attendance because for attending fans basketball represents a far more intimate experience than that of football.

Because of media spectacles, like ESPN Gameday, and other conventional events, like pep rallies and tailgating, college (and pro) football has become a pageantry that is as much about the experiences external (yet related) to the game as it is about the actual game. Basketball is unique in that the limited number of players on each team allow fans to better identify with athletes. In addition, the fact that fans (and students in particular) usually sit in close proximity to the opposing team, fans possess a greater opportunity to interact and affect the opposing teams. But as historic match-ups become reduced to annual meetings and as new teams enter into regular conference play the interest and, thus, influence of the fan diminishes, which then disincentivizes attendance.


  1. wow this really made me stop and think.... THAT YOU HAVE 2 DADS

  2. Football continues to grab the spotlight,, but you hit on significant trend that involves lots of loot.

  3. It's because white people are racist.