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College football attendance: a panel study of the Football Bowl Subdivision

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Panel data with an instrumented real ticket price are used to estimate a regular season game-day attendance and per cent of capacity regression equations. Better team performance, whether short term (season wins), intermediate term (bowls games in last 10 years) or long term (lifetime winning percentage), higher undergraduate enrolment, traditional rivalries and video coverage increase per cent of capacity used. Poor weather (more rain or cloud cover), higher travel costs and larger local population decrease it. Fan interest wanes as a season progresses, but this is offset as a team wins more games. Games played near a National Football League stadium, those with conference opponents, non-FBS opponents and non-BCS opponents have lower stadium utilization. The substantive results of the analysis do not change when attendance is used as the dependent variable rather than per cent of capacity.

Keywords: D12; D21; L83; college football; game-day attendance; stadium utilization; ticket price

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Economics, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, 48859, USA

Publication date: April 3, 2014

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