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Purdue Football Attendance Update: October 2

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More butts in seats means more money.

NCAA Football: Ohio at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue’s four game homestand to start the season was expected to help the program get off to a good start ont he field. While that didn’t work out at just 1-3, in terms of attendance Purdue is on pace to top last season’s numbers. I have tried to keep track of this to see continued growth because obviously more butts in the seats is a financial windfall to the entire athletic department. Here are the numbers for a few key years.

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

I kept the first Hazell year there because there was a big boost both from the excitment of Hazell at the time and we had both Notre Dame and Ohio State on the schedule that buoyed the numbers. As you can see, the difference between 2013 and 2016 was staggering. Attendance dropped by roughly 14,500 per game.

Through four games this season paid attendance has been steady. There has only been a difference of less than 1,000 fans between the top game (Missouri) and bottom (Boston College. Our average is about 300 fewer fanes than last season, but the Ohio State game in a few weeks will likely move that up.

Last season saw a big boost from the Michigan game, which was the first sellout in years. In looking at the seating map for Ohio State it is hard to find more than 1,000 available tickets. With the current capacity at 57,236 we can probably expect a crowd in excess of 57,000 for the Buckeyes. That would raise our season average above 49,400. This also carries a multiplier financially because the cheapest tickets for sale are $55 each since it is a marquee game.

The other factor is overall attendance, which will top last season’s. Last season we only got 6 home games for an overall attendance of 287,303 (still higher than 2016’s 7-game home slate). The attendance at the Louisville game in Indianapolis was 42,647, of which we got approximately half the gate. The seventh game this year still will make up for that.

With conference opponents Iowa and Wisconsin coming plus improved play Purdue could potentially top a 50,000 average attendance for the first time in a very long time.