WDEL Blog: WDEL Sports

Delaware attendance heading south

Delaware football cosch K.C. Keeler was fired in January for a number of reasons...many suspected one reason was the dwindling football attendance.

But replacing him with Dave Brock and a more interesting offense hasn't helped. Saturday's attendance, on a beautiful night in a game against rival James Madison, only 18,500 turned out...fewer than showed up for Jacksonville and Delaware State. The student section was less than half full.

Attendance problems at football games aren't exclusive to Delaware. Student turnout at college football games is a nation-wide problem...even two-time defending national champion Alabama has seen just 70 some percent of their students attend games...and that is a problem at every level.

College football is a tough sell...many games are routs and if it isn't top-level FBS, i.e. Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska or Florida (or like schools), many people say the quality of play isn't good enough. Students, and others, can stay home on any given Saturday and see a multitude of games, in high def, with a fridge nearby. So why sit in the elements (some good, some bad), to watch a game that may turn out to be a stinker.

So maybe its just a sign of the times...and not University of Delaware athletic policies that have angered many season ticket holders or K.C. Keeler's offense that has turned off large numbers of fans...maybe its just FCS college football in general.

Posted at 10:22am on September 30, 2013 by Big Don Voltz

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Oct 1, 2013 9:15am
It is odd that Keeler is being blamed for Harker's failure.

In Delaware (which I know) as well as other colleges (which I'll guess followed the same trends) the change-up on ticket prices and lowering of priorities given to alumni in the acquisition of tickets, is solely what initiated the drop in attendance.

People went to the games to socialize. It was affordable and fun. Most of the fun occurred during the hours before the game began. The idea of changing those dynamics so one could give tickets to corporate sponsors, who may, or may not find someone to fill those seats on game day, created this problem.

Once you take away the fun and spirit of adventure those pre-game antics created, (further aggravated by a fully paid-for but half-empty stadium which is such a downer; who feels like cheering when it is only you in a section?) then you also take away the mysticism and fun of the event itself for those still in school. The idea used to be that you had to go to the game to make connections, wandering from tent to tent for your future, (it was Delaware's Official Meet and Greet); it's now been turned into "let's stay home and watch a "real" game on TV."

Most errors by top management are based on their thinking that people have no choice. The Harker estimation was that people would attend anyway, no matter what he did.

That failed to happen.

Mike from Delaware
Tue, Oct 1, 2013 10:44am
Kavips: Well Said.

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