Average student attendance at college football games is down 7.1 percent since 2009, according to a new study by the Wall Street Journal.
The study blames the declining numbers on increasing ticket prices, more non-competitive games, less games against traditional rivals as a result of conference realignment and the proliferation of televised games.
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Colleges and athletic conferences are scrambling to lure students back, but it is a daunting challenge. "There are so many other things they can do that maybe going to the game that day isn't the most important thing on their agenda," says Louisiana State University athletic director Joe Alleva. Student attendance fell 5.5% to 8,508 in 2013 from 9,000 in 2012.
Student attendance decreased from 2009 to 2013 at such schools as Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida and Florida State. Among all Power Five conference schools, average student attendance is down 5.6 percent since 2009.
While fewer students are attending games, overall average attendance has declined just 0.8 percent since 2009, and total attendance at Power Five schools reached a record high in 2013, according to the study.
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