World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel’s Sunday piece on college football fan attendance is a must-read. Even Nebraska — sellout king — has to consider its entire presentation, from the time fans can come into Memorial Stadium until 30 minutes after the game ends. NU will surely sell out all its tickets for next season, but we’ll keep an eye on the actual gate attendance for games — not tickets sold.
How bad did it get in 2017?
Each of Nebraska’s last three home games last season — Ohio State, Northwestern and Iowa — had fewer than 70,000 scanned tickets at the gate, according to information provided by Nebraska to The World-Herald.
Scanned tickets don’t include recruits, media, ushers, coaches, staff, players, cheerleaders, the band, concession workers and the like, so it’s not the total attendance inside the stadium. It’s the fans who sit in the stands and in the suites.
But think about this:
Ranked Ohio State. Night game. And just 67,400 scanned tickets, the lowest total of any 2017 home game. That’s for kickoff. Imagine how many fans actually populated the stands after halftime.
Northwestern announced attendance: 89,721. Scanned tickets: 68,996.
Iowa announced attendance: 90,046, Scanned tickets: 69,436
The 2017 Wisconsin game had 77,633 scanned tickets, which was tops for last season. The 2016 Oregon game — the loudest I’ve ever heard a crowd inside Memorial Stadium — had 80,865 scanned tickets. All 2016 home games had more than 74,000 scanned tickets except for Maryland, which dipped to 64,852.
The Scott Frost era — and a better product on the field than 4-8 — will boost those numbers. There will be more fans in the stands for a spring game than attended the Ohio State game. Stunning.
The scanned ticket totals for 2016 and 2017 home games:
Fresno State 76,048
Arkansas State 76,508
No. Illinois 70,525
Ohio State 67,400