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Rutgers & B1G Attendance: It’s hoops season but the conversation continues

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So, the men’s hoops team is on a non-con roll and new coach Steve Pikiell has brought the excitement. But has it brought fans?

rvc73

New coach. New hope. 11-1!!

Any fans?

Not as many as you might think. Maybe it’s the unattractive and soft out-of-conference schedule. Maybe it’s the usual skepticism. Maybe it’s Rutgers’ fans’ way: slow to jump on board, quick to bail.

Rutgers basketball has not been the hot ticket this year, despite the hot start of the team. The comparable non-conference record year-to-year pretty much tells the story.

Note: The table above was edited from an earlier published table; the original one had incorrect totals, and thus incorrect averages.

As a reminder, the record after nine games in 2015-16 was 6-3, with “notable” wins over Howard, Central Arkansas, and UMass-Lowell.

Let’s see what the Big Ten schedule brings.

Football attendance ain’t what it used to be

And that isn’t just in the Big Ten.

A report by CBSSports.com points that out pretty clearly. College football attendance has been on the decline for six years. And it is an issue across the board, although some of the super powers still do very well. The Big Ten and the SEC accounted for the largest numbers. And that despite Maryland being one of the biggest losers in terms of attendance. From the CBSSports.com report:

The biggest decreases in the Power Five: Missouri (20 percent), Minnesota (16 percent), Kentucky (12 percent), Stanford (12 percent), Maryland (11 percent), USC (9 percent) and Arizona State (9 percent).

The report notes something that we’ve talked about often: these are the schools’ official numbers that are reported to the NCAA. But those numbers may not be fans in the seats, but rather tickets sold. Apples, oranges, and tickets.

The report points out that the Big Ten, with nine conference games for the first time with 14 teams, was up slightly, despite “smaller crowds at Maryland and Rutgers”. But RU was not that big of a problem in “attendance”; size of stadium, yes, but not in selling tickets. In fact, Rutgers’ announced attendance average of 44, 804 is above the national FBS average of 43,106.

Rutgers sits at number 51 nationally this year in average attendance, just behind TCU and just ahead of Stanford.

As far as the conference goes, five Big Ten schools had attendance drops, anywhere from 3 to 16%.

Data source: CBSSports.com

The “peer” group and Rutgers

Knowing that everyone - or at least a significant number - in FBS is hurting a bit, we decided to see what numbers looked like in the “east”. And we took a pretty broad definition of the east. Traditionally, the south and midwest were the football hotbeds. Not since the days of Army and Syracuse dominating football in the 1940’s and 1950’s has “eastern” football been a hot ticket. So, how do schools east of the Mississippi - or at least the Appalachians - do in terms of drawing fans? And how does Rutgers compare? Included here are a few former Big East teams and other familiar Rutgers opponents.

Data source: CBSSports.com

For all the complaining that Rutgers doesn’t belong in the B1G/playing major football/etc, the Scarlet do pretty well in drawing.