Purdue plays in a conference with three stadiums that have over 100,000 seats. According to recently released attendance numbers, that might have been enough for the crowds at all seven 2014 home football games to fit.
Biggest attendance drops, by fans per game, in college football in 2014: Purdue (13,684), Akron (8,680), Pitt (8,426), NIU (7,106)— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 14, 2015
Well, at least we're No. 1 in something.
Purdue averaged 35,269 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium in 2014 over seven games, and that low number represented a 28% decrease from 2014. It happened because of a number of factors:
- There is not a lot of excitement for a 1-11 team, as the wave of season ticket sales brought in by the hiring of Darrell Hazell quickly crashed ashore.
- There were no marquee home dates. The 2013 season had a home sell out against Notre Dame and we as visits from Nebraska and Ohio State, who notoriously travel well. Even Northern Illinois brought a bunch of fans for their game. In 2014 Purdue didn't even have the Old Oaken Bucket game, marking the first time in decades that it did not play Notre Dame or Indiana at home. Western Michigan, Central Michigan, and Southern Illinois is a recipe for low attendance in the non-conference, and a Big Ten home slate of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Northwestern did not help.
- There were fewer seats, as all the south end zone seats were gone.
- When you get pantsed for the second year in a row at home by a MAC team in just the second game of the year ticket sales do not go up.
This only makes the 2015 season even bigger for Hazell & Co. Simply put: The budget cannot afford only 30,000 people even with the BTN money coming in. the schedule is slightly better, as Nebraska will bring fans and the Bucket game should be decently attended, but there is only one thing that can help.
UPDATE: Let's do some basic stats! The decrease in attendance is simply part of an overall and steady decline since the 2004 season. The 2013 season really didn't help.
And it's almost linear when you remove the 2013 season: