NCAA football attendance falls for fourth year in a row; Wisconsin attendance down from 2005 peak

NCAA football attendance falls for fourth year in a row; Wisconsin attendance down from 2005 peak

Nearly 79,000 fans pack Camp Randall each Saturday during football season to cheer on Wisconsin, the 15th most in the NCAA.

But not even Wisconsin is immune to the 2017 season’s history-making attendance drop.

Overall college football attendance is at its lowest level since 1997, according to a new report from the NCAA, with an average of 42,000 fans per game.

More than 1,400 fewer fans attended each game during the 2017 season, marking the largest attendance drop in 34 years.

Wisconsin is still above the national statistics, averaging 79,000 fans per game last season. But a decade ago, that number was nearly 4,000 higher. In 2005, an average of 82,551 fans attended Badger football games.

Wisconsin’s Director of Athletic Communications is still pleased with turnout. “We’re extremely lucky here at Wisconsin to have tremendous fans,” Brian Lucas said. “Our attendance numbers have been pretty steady for the past 5 to 10 years.”

Lucas says the school consistently has a 95% renewal rate among season ticket holders, and says that last year, the school added an additional 2,000 season ticket holders.

Lucas says changes made at Camp Randall over the past few years will keep Wisconsin students coming back. “We’ve introduced WiFi into the stadium and hundreds of TVs. We are always looking into adding new concession options. And what I think is kind of unique is that we have a fan advisory committee that helps us with suggestions,” Lucas said.

While several Big Ten schools have started selling alcohol at college games, Lucas says Wisconsin has no plans to do that at this time.

551,766 fans attended Badger football games last season. That’s higher than the 476,144 that came out in 2016, although there was one less home game that year.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that attendance at Wisconsin games was at a 13-year low. After reviewing the data we have corrected our reporting. We apologize for the error.