Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012 Houston Cougar football attendance

The Coogs averaged 27,286 fans per game for seven home games this season, a drop-off of 4,445 fans/game from last season. This should come as no surprise, given the team's disappointing 2012 season. Here's the updated graph:
Attendance at UH football games is announced on the basis of tickets sold or distributed, not actual butts in seats. That was apparent, especially towards the end of the season, when the number of people in the stadium was clearly less than the attendance announced in the boxscore. Again, that's not surprising, given the team's performance; many people lost interest in the team and decided that they had better things to do on their Saturdays. That's just the way it works in a fair-weather, front-runner sports town like Houston.

With that fact in mind, I'm really concerned about attendance for the 2013 season. A lot of Cougar fans were no doubt turned off by the team's performance this past season and will not renew season tickets or make plans to attend any games in 2013 unless the team shows marked improvement. Season ticket sales will likely drop even further if the Cougars play their home games next year at Reliant Stadium, because the sheer size of the facility will mean that anybody who wants to see a particular game can walk up and get a ticket on gameday: there will be no incentive for fans to ensure that they have seats by buying season ticket packages.

My hope is that the team will be able to get back on track and achieve a winning record next season; that plus excitement surrounding the opening of the new stadium in 2014 will hopefully bring the crowds back in a couple of years and the program's attendance will resume its upwards trajectory.

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