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Major college football attendance continued to decline in 2017.
As noted by CBSSports.com, attendance in FBS games dropped for the fourth consecutive season, according to data released by the NCAA, and the decline from 2016 to 2017 was the sharpest in 34 years.
Average attendance in FBS games at home sites and neutral sites, as well as postseason games, this past season was down by 1,409 people from 2016. Not since 1982 was there a bigger decline in average attendance.
Average FBS attendance in 2017 was 42,203, which is the lowest since 1997.
The all-time high for average attendance was established in 2008 at 46,971. FBS attendance has dropped 10.1 percent since then, according to CBSSports.com.
Only twice in the nine years since 2008 has attendance risen from the previous year.
Average attendance was 45,671 in 2013, dropping to 44,603 in 2014 and to 43,933 in 2015, declining to 43,612 in 2016 and down to this season’s 42,203.
The Southeastern Conference again had the highest average attendance of any conference, but even SEC attendance declined by an average of 2,433 fans, the conference’s biggest drop since 1991.
This parallels the NFL’s decline in television ratings. According to USA Today, the average audience for NFL games across the four broadcasters of NFL games fell 10 percent in the 2017 regular season.
This follows an 8 percent drop in 2016.
Reports of a decline in NFL attendance are primarily anecdotal, as the league only provides figures for tickets distributed, not people in the stadium.
ProFootballReference.com reported that total NFL attendance of 17,253,435 in 2017 was down from the 2016 total of 17,788,621.