Skip to main content

Celebration Bowl Attendance, Viewers Outpaced Several FBS Bowl Games

The Celebration Bowl's financial and broadcasting impact will aid HBCU football's growth in 2022.

The Celebration Bowl's financial and broadcasting impact will aid HBCU football's growth in 2022. 

South Carolina State Bulldogs


The Celebration Bowl had 48,653 in attendance for the showdown between State Carolina State and Jackson State for the HBCU National Championship title.

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium also hosted the 2021 Peach Bowl. The Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State contest attendance was 41,230 fans in the seats.

Jackson State led most FBS and FCS schools with a regular-season average in-home game attendance of 44,021. Mississippi Memorial Stadium in Jackson, MS, can hold up to 60,492.

According to Collegiate Sports Management Group's Eli Boettger, the average FBS game attendance in 2021 was 38,775, a -6.5% change from 41,477 in 2019.

Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders and South Carolina State head coach Oliver Pough


The Celebration Bowl had 2.6 million watchers via television in terms of viewership. It was the most since 2016 for the HBCU showcase game.

Compared to the Armed Forces Bowl (2.6 million) and Guaranteed Rate Bowl (2.4 million), the Celebration Bowl had extremely positive numbers in an early time slot for Saturday afternoon football action.

The 48th Annual Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling increased 40% in ratings and 61% (1 million) increase in viewership with a final rating of 0.7 for NBC.

The attendance and viewership influence television networks to broadcast and sponsors to contribute millions into games and year-end bowl contests. Events like the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Orange Blossom Classic, SWAC Championships, Bayou Classic, and Celebration Bowl will continue to be HBCU football's flagship events. 

Football fans gather by the thousands for the HBCUs' Labor Day Classics, Turkey Day Classics, and other games that could garner interest from networks and large corporations seeking to connect with HBCU sports in 2022.

More HBCU Football Coverage