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2017 Purdue Football Attendance Numbers

Purdue sees a HUGE increase in attendance during year 1 of Jeff Brohm.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The thing to remember about this is that football was only a $5 million opportunity if it was turned around.

Yesterday’s season finale was a great one not only for the result on the field, but for the butts in the seats. Thee official attendance for yesterday’s Bucket game was 52,105 fans, marking the second time this season that Purdue had a home attendance over 50,000. The lowest attendance of the season, a night game against Nebraska, was 41,411. The highest was Michigan, Purdue’s first sellout in many, many years, as 60,042 fans in attendance at one of the hottest home games ever.

Here are the final attendance numbers for the year:

Purdue Football Attendance

2016 Attendance 2017 Attendance 2018 Attendance 2013 (Hazell year 1) Attendance
2016 Attendance 2017 Attendance 2018 Attendance 2013 (Hazell year 1) Attendance
Eastern Kentucky 32,074 Ohio 45,633 Northwestern 47,410 Indiana State 50,165
Cincinnati 33,068 Michigan 60,042 E. Michigan 47,661 Notre Dame 61,127
Nevada 41,607 Minnesota 42,085 Missouri 48,103 Northern Illinois 54,258
Iowa 40,239 Nebraska 41,411 Boston College 47,119 Nebraska 47,203
Penn State 33,157 Illinois 46,027 Ohio State Ohio State 51,243
Northwestern 30,548 Indiana 52,105 Iowa Iowa 41,038
Wisconsin 30,465 Wisconsin Illinois 37,459
TOTAL 241,158 TOTAL 287,303 TOTAL 190293 TOTAL 342493
AVERAGE 34451.14286 AVERAGE 47883.83333 AVERAGE 47573.25 AVERAGE 48927.57143

Obviously, there are some very interesting things here. The Nevada game last season was the best attendance of 2016, and it was barely more than this year’s Nebraska game. I am honestly kind of surprised that Nebraska had the lowest attendance, but it was a late game on a cold night.

I also went back and looked up the attendance numbers from the 1-11 2013 season under Darrell Hazell. Hazell got an initial boost from ticket sales (plus big games with Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State bringing big crowds), but it dropped significantly by the end of the season and really fell off the next three years:

During the 20 home games played since the start of the 2014 season, Purdue has averaged an attendance of 36,007, with attendance averages of 35,269 in 2014 and 37,508 in 2015

What really stands out is the total attendance. Purdue drew over 46,000 more fans this season total, and it did this while having only six home games compared to seven in 2016. The average attendance at each game increased by over 13,400 fans.

Now, let us have some fun with numbers. Let us say that each additional person per game spent an average of $50 after tickets, parking, concessions, merchandise, etc. That’s a conservative estimate, as there were several $10 tickets sold, but lots of $9 Boiler Golds as well. Some tickets were as high as $75 a seat depending on where they sold in the stadium. Shively selling out for the Michigan game raises that even more, as those are even higher than $75 a ticket for a single game.

So, at $50 a person times 13,400 that brings in an additional $670,000 per game. Take that times six home games and it comes out to $4.02 million more in revenue for the season.

Remember, this is more than ticket sales. Boiler Golds were $9 a pop and sold like hotcakes all season. Yesterday I went down to Morgantown at halftime as I usually do (because the beer is $2 cheaper there, too) and it was packed to the gills. It took the entire halftime to get through the line for two beers (and $14 more). This is why I am factoring in everything, as this year I usually had a sandwich and a beer at every game. On average, we probably spent $30 as a family on concessions each game as season ticket holders

There is still room to go, too. The capacity of Ross-Ade is 57,236, so you could get another 10,000 or more in. Purdue will also get back a 7th home game next season. This number also does not include revenue from the Louisville game in Indianapolis. That had an attendance of 37,394, and since the tickets were divided about 50/50 for each school we’ll get a decent amount of revenue from that game. It is different from the other game Purdue played at Lucas Oil against Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish gave up a home game for that and they controlled the majority of tickets.

We won’t see the official revenue numbers for a while yet, but after being at the bottom of the Big Ten we should see a huge jump.