There has been a slight decrease at the turnstiles of college football stadiums of late, according to USA Today, and officials in charge of keeping attendance figures up are concerned that the television experience may be eclipsing the live-game experience.
One of the problems cited is due to the nature of the game. Television cameras not only have a perfect sightline to the action, they follow it up and down the field. The fan in the stands, on the other hand, is anchored to one spot, and if that fan is lucky enough to have a great view of one play, the same fan is unfortunately likely to have a terrible view of another.
And don’t even get a true football fan started by bringing up seats in the end zone.
Fans watching in the comfort of their living room get a great view of the game complete with excellent replay service and the ability to monitor other games in other cities that are happening simultaneously.
There is another problem for fans in the stadium – there are so many of them in one place that cell service tends to be overwhelmed, eliminating their ability to share their impressions of the game with friends and family.
Home viewers are under no such disadvantage.
Whatever the reason, live attendance at college games is said to be down 2% from 2009 to 2012.
Problems in the stadium caused one observer to comment that tailgating before, after and even during the game is becoming a bigger attraction than the game itself.
TV is important, but live attendance is critical – it brings in money for tickets, parking, concessions and paraphernalia. So even though the decline in attendance is not great, the colleges are working to rectify the situation.