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Go to Game or Watch on TV? Schools Add Amenities for Fans

Friday, September 27, 2013   (0 Comments)

USA Today (08/29/13) Martin, Jeffrey

The decline in college football attendance among Football Bowl Subdivision programs in the last several years has prompted many schools to enhance the game experience to entice fans to attend games rather than watch them on TV. For example, the Southeastern Conference established a Working Group on Fan Experience to study reasons for the decline and ways to remedy it. Committee chair and Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin says last year the group addressed a dearth of replays in stadium screens by allowing replays to be shown as often as desired. This summer, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby unveiled a plan to air live and taped highlights from the league's other games at stadiums this fall. "I think the hope is we continue to make sure people understand how special it is to come to one of our campuses on Saturdays," Stricklin says. "All of the senses are engaged in a way you don't get sitting on your couch." Meanwhile, Emory University professor Mike Lewis emphasizes that competitive balance is an issue to be mindful of as schools take measures to reverse fan attrition. Big-time programs with massive fan bases are investing hundreds of millions into stadium expansions and other amenities, while the others must decide whether they can afford, or want to afford, what they require to boost attendance.


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