clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Let’s Talk About Fan Attendance

New, 13 comments

I think it would be a good idea to open up a dialogue about this fan attendance issue.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Fredrickson of The Oklahoman wrote a piece regarding the dip in late-game attendance at Boone Pickens Stadium. Take some time to read it:

This is unsettling, but I’m not going to pretend I’ve never dipped out of the game at halftime for a few beers at a tailgate, only to find myself at Stonewall watching the end of the game on TV. However, I’ve seen Boone Pickens Stadium at it’s absolute best. It’s loudest, when we played Baylor in 2013. The game was in hand by the third quarter, yet throughout the game, BPS was rocking like we had Baylor within a touchdown. It’s happiest, when... well... this happened:

So, let’s talk about this. What needs to happen to get BPS rocking again?

I’m just spitballin’ here, but I’ll list out a few problems/solutions to the attendance issue. If you have more problems or solutions to add, we’d love to hear your opinion in the comment section. Open dialogue.

Problems

Game times/conditions

11:00am games scheduled - 4

2:30pm games scheduled - 3

6:30pm games scheduled - 1 (albeit at Baylor)

Rain delays - 2

Average game length - (via Kyle’s article)

The average college football game lasted 3 hours and 22 minutes last season, according to the Wall Street Journal. OSU has eclipsed that mark in every home game this season, including a 5 hour and 40 minute lightning-delay debacle against Pitt.

Student Tickets?

Now, this is something I’m not very familiar with, but I’ve seen people complaining about it on Twitter. Students are complaining that their student tickets are loaded onto their student IDs. When I was in school, when we picked up our student tickets, we were handed an envelope with actual tickets inside for every home game. This was great, because if you couldn’t attend a particular game, you could just sell it; no ifs, ands or buts. If the student tickets are in fact loaded on to the student ID’s, this needs to be changed. I guess it prevents someone from physically losing the tickets, because you can just get another student ID; but this restricts the sale of an individual student ticket. So, if a student is unable to go to the game, their seat is less likely to be filled.

Tailgating

Oklahoma State has really put together an outstanding atmosphere around the stadium before the game. I’ve been to many CFB games around the country, and I’d put our tailgating atmosphere toward the top of the list. (I’ve heard The Grove is where I need to visit next)

However, the tailgates are attracting fans away from the inside of the stadium. You can see many students showing up late for games, and many leaving at halftime to grab a few beverages. We need to find a way to make sure the top of the student section is filled when the game is in progress.

Social Event vs. Football Game

This section is likely to make some people mad. Whether you like it, or not, their are some students who treat game days more like social events, and less like football games. I know the paddle people are getting angry right now, but I don’t think it is fair to put all the blame on the top of the student section.

What can the stadium/gameday operations crew do to make the the top of the student section feel more engaged? In 2011, my sophomore year, there wasn’t only 50-100 paddle people in the stadium, there was 60,000. It’s possible to get the whole stadium engaged, we just need to figure out how. Can we give Weeden and Blackmon another year of eligibility?

Solutions

Sell beer

This is the biggie, but is much easier said than done. If OSU followed suit with Tulsa, Texas, SMU, etc., it may be able to prevent some students leaving at halftime for the tailgates. With students checking out at halftime, there is always the high risk that they never make it back into the stadium.

Hire a game DJ

Kyle talked about how Clemson has hired a professional DJ for their games. I think this could be great for keeping the fans engaged inbetween quarters and during TV timeouts. When the fans aren’t engaged in watching the game, they will likely sit, and when they sit, their minds may wander. “Man, my buzz is wearing off. I need to head down to the tailgate real quick,” or “It’s hot as hell out here,” or “I could really use a few tacos from Fuzzy’s.” Those are all thoughts that could draw them away from the game. Those are thoughts that have drawn ME away from the game (especially tacos). If there was a DJ filling the dead space, fans may stay on their feet and stay focused on the game.

The only problem is, how does the DJ and the marching band co-exist? Also, how expensive would it be to install a better sound system at BPS? I’m not sure if I could see Boone dropping cash on a new sound system.

We want your opinions!

Change happens every day. Kids used to play Hungry Hungry Hippos. Now, kids are playing with virtual reality video games. THINGS CHANGE. Heck, have you seen the NFL ratings lately? Garbage... How can OSU stay on the cutting edge of fan innovation?

It’s a problem that 99% of college football programs are dealing with.

Let’s talk about it, Pokes. The comment section is open for business.