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Rutgers & Big Ten Attendance: the UM postmortem

A wet #StripeTheBirthplace. How’d it turn out? Not that bad....I’m talking attendance, not the score.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Rutgers Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s go right to the numbers from last weekend.

Did we really have over 52,000 there? No. We did sell tickets around that number, and I’ll come back to that a bit later.

From the bottom: Illinois, our next home game, had the worst draw of the weekend in both percent of capacity as well as actual fans/tickets. Considering it was Illinois-Purdue, I think that was a great number.

For Penn State, it was the second game (of four home contests) of over 100,000 fans. Minnesota had its largest crowd of the season for the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. And OSU fans, clearly motivated by the team’s performance against Rutgers, gave the Buckeyes their largest crowd of the season.

I particularly liked Minnesota’s description of the weather; all those weather comments are from the official box scores. Sunsplashed. I like that.

Big Ten numbers and next weekend

The conference has drawn 3,469,549 fans to its stadiums for 51 games, averaging 65,503 fans per game. There have been 11 games over 100,000 fans and, including those 11, 16 games over 90,000.

It’s October, and that generally means schools schedule Homecoming. That and trying to find a team on the schedule you can beat. There are four Homecoming games next Saturday, including Rutgers’ against the Illini.

Is the buzz of being in the Big Ten wearing off?

A few weeks ago, in response to two of my attendance rants, a few readers commented with some serious concerns.

Season Ticket Sales

How many season tickets have been sold this year?

Posted by NEWRUGUY on Sep 13, 2016

I heard it's less than last year ... which was less than our first year in B1G

Posted by RUDadx3 on Sep 14, 2016

is the "newness" of being in the B1G wearing off for casual fans?

Posted by JruASAP on Sep 27, 2016

I hope it isn't

But I’m not sure what another answer could be….

Posted by JruASAP on Sep 27, 2016

Some interesting and concerning comments. Around the same time, NJ Advance Media’s Ryan Dunleavy did a piece on the very topic. He also answered a few questions concerning ticket sales, a topic that RU tends to keep to itself. And he did it through an Open Public Records Act inquiry.

Rutgers' season tickets count is down 8.6 percent from 31,168 in 2015 to 28,478, and season ticketholder accounts are down 12 percent from 7,405 in 2015 to 6,511, according to data obtained by NJ Advance Media in response to an Open Public Records Act request.

Down in total tickets, down in the number of accounts holding those tickets. Is that a concern? Maybe, maybe not. Rutgers says they anticipated a drop could happen in year three.

"What we've found this year is we have a lot of season ticketholders who are still fans but dropped a couple of seats," Rutgers senior associate athletics director and chief marketing officer Geoff Brown told NJ Advance Media.

"They had increased their seats when we were going into the Big Ten and ... their level is back where they were before."

Kyle Flood’s 4-8 debacle in 2015, accompanied by the unbelievable string of negative stories last year, certainly scared off ticket buyers as well as fans. And despite that, right now, Rutgers has almost 10,000 more season tickets sold than it did in its last year in the Big East.

An interesting point that Dunleavy brought out in his story - and a point that has been mentioned by readers here....a lot - is that Rutgers reports tickets sold as attendance. From the Dunleavy story:

Rutgers averaged 34,168 tickets scanned per home game (announced average: 49,188) in 2012 compared to 33,104 (announced average: 47,723) last season. Scan numbers for this season are not yet available.

It also notes that ever since Syracuse entered the ACC, their season attendance has dropped. And this season, with a new coach on the sidelines, the Orange are on pace to have a record low in attendance for the Carrier Dome.

I see you smirking back there.

Striping the Birthplace, good idea? Discuss among yourselves

The photo shared by @nursemegg looks pretty good. Although one respondent to her Tweet said the other side - from where the photo was taken - is very blue and maize. Someone told me they thought the crowd might have been upwards of a quarter Michigan.

Two things to consider: First, in the Big Ten, the heavyweights travel well. So for Michigan and Ohio State and Nebraska you will see a lot of visitors. Second, they all bought tickets from someone which were bought from Rutgers. We made money. Okay, three things: Rutgers fans seemed to try to follow directions and wear the correct color. I think that’s a really good thing and bodes well for future efforts. Good for us!

It isn’t always about the W’s

When I read stuff like this, I think we aren’t in as bad shape as I may sometimes paint the picture.

The Bulls, our old friends from the old Big East/American, are 5-1. They put up points and appear to be fun to watch. Except nobody does. How does 16,585 sound? For Homecoming?

As the lead says in the Tweet, players and recruits notice. We really can’t be faulted for putting 45,000 in the place and having a recruit say, well, Ohio State had 105,000. But too many empty seats among the 52,000 and things could change.

The story sounds not that dissimilar from our complaints on occasion: how are we reaching students, reaching alumni, selling tickets? Why aren’t the local media covering us more?

We are in a different environment than USF (thank goodness), but we need to keep support up and be the “big time” program we all claim we are and want. Keep grinding.

Yeah, we don’t chop anymore.