Monday, December 15, 2014

2014 Houston Cougar football attendance

While we wait for the University of Houston to officially announce their new head coach - as of this evening, it appears that Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman is set to get the job - it's time for my annual update to the Houston Cougar football wins-versus-attendance graph:

The Coogs averaged 28,314 fans per game over seven home games, which is a 4,058 fans/game increase over the 2013 season. That actually sounds decent, given Houston's historical attendance woes. The attendance gets a boost from the 40,775 fans that showed up for the UTSA game; a large number of them did not return after witnessing that embarrassing debacle, and if you take that game out of the mix then Houston's home average falls to 26,237.

It's also worth mentioning that this average is based on tickets sold, not actual butts in the seats. This was increasingly obvious as the season wore on; the announced crowd of 23,572 for the Tulsa game was probably thrice the number of people actually in TDECU Stadium for that game. While the team's mediocre performance through the course of the season probably caused some people to stop going to the games, it's also very likely that a lot of people were so excited by the prospect of a new stadium that they brought extra seats (for example, as part of their season ticket package) that ended up going unused most of the time.

Had Tony Levine remained head coach, the Cougars would probably be looking at a steep decline in season ticket renewals in 2015 which would in turn negatively effect attendance in the coming season. That is no doubt one of the major reasons for his departure (along with the fact that, well, you can't lose to double-digit underdogs like UTSA and Tulane at home and expect to continue to have a job), but it remains to be seen if the new coach will reignite enough enthusiasm among the fanbase to keep season ticket numbers stable.

(Graph updated 1/8/15 to include Houston's bowl game win over Pittsburgh.)

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