Memphis football attendance has always been an interesting topic of discussion and it generated more back and forth this year with some folks hoping for bigger crowds as Justin Fuente’s team chased down and secured the AAC title last month.
Well, the NCAA released final regular season attendance figures last week – and Memphis had one of the more impressive increases in the country at +19% from 2013, finishing with a per game average of 33,851. That doesn’t initially seem like much, especially given that (a) Memphis plays in the heart of SEC country where rival schools easily double that figure and then some, and (b) the Tigers’ home stadium, The Liberty Bowl, seats 2x that many.
It should be noted, however, that only Army, UCF, Fresno State, ECU and BYU were schools at Memphis’ level -schools from the so called “group of 5” conferences + FBS independents- that averaged more fans per game. In other words, Memphis attendance was better than all but 2 schools in the American Athletic Conference, and all but 1 school in the Mountain West Conference. Nobody in CUSA, the MAC or the Sun Belt averaged as many fans per game as Memphis. Nor did Boise State, Marshall or Colorado State – the other competitors for the G5 automatic berth in the New Year’s 6 bowl games. For comparison, Boise averaged 32,504 per game while compiling a record of 11-2 and earning an invite to the Fiesta Bowl.
Memphis’ attendance was better than Washington State, Duke and Wake Forest – all of whom are members of the so called “Power 5.” Memphis’ attendance was virtually identical to SEC neighbor Vanderbilt, whose average was 34,258 per game.
Keep in mind all of that happened with some of the worst weather possible for at least 3 of the Tigers’ home dates. Kudos to the athletic department marketing staff for making games fun and generating more than respectable attendance figures.