Friday, November 23, 2007

Southern and Norfolk State leads in football home attendance

by beepbeep

The best barometer to gauge how well a football program is doing on the gridiron and in its marketing program is to check the NCAA FCS data on both accumulated attendance and average game attendance at the home stadium.

This past season, a mercurial rise in fan participation was shown by Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University and Tennessee State University. No one can successfully debate the point that the primary objective of sports marketing is to put fans in the stadium and arena seats and get sponsors.

Florida A&M University president Dr. James Ammons drove this point home with the firing of head football coach Rubin Carter and the resignation of athletic director Nelson Townsend, on Tuesday of this week. "In an environment like a college or university, athletics plays a big role in the institution," Ammons said. "There are many, many stakeholders with the university. We had an assessment on where we were. We sat down and looked at all of the data in terms of attendance and support for the program. There were a number of markers that we used and in the end we decided on the decision we made."

We are certain that a similar process took place at Texas Southern University, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, Alcorn State University and other universities that are dismissing poorly performing coaching and athletic administrative staffs.

"We all know that the football program is the economic engine that drives the athletic program," Ammons said. "It is the money generator. For the overall athletic program to be successful the football program has to be successful."

That's just the way it is at FAMU, TxSO, UAPB or at any MEAC or SWAC school. A coach must first graduate his players and win. Then, football and basketball must generate revenue to operate the entire athletic programs with ticket sales, sponsorships, fundraising and development rights. That's the bottom line, today.

A few of the MEAC and SWAC schools showed improvement and the data attendance numbers shows who are growing their marketing programs in this one element of analyses. North Carolina A&T State University continues to go against the grain in proving that a strong marketing program can overcome an 0-27 losing record in football. We find it amazing that the Aggies have shown no appreciable drop in attendance numbers since their losing streak started in 2005. In fact, it has been the opposite with a rise in attendance for the Aggies.

The NCAA data in a nutshell illustrates what a strong athletic marketing can do for a schools with effective athletic administrators and top leaders.

Here is how the FCS HBCUs stacked up for 2007 in home attendance:

1. Southern University, ranked #6 in FCS; 18,913 average attendance; 5 home games, 78.81 accumulated percentage of stadium capacity. Record: 7-3* (* game w/Grambling on 11/24/07).

2. Norfolk State University, ranked #7 in FCS; 17,220 average attendance; 6 home games, 62.17% of stadium capacity. Record: 8-3

3. Tennessee State University (OVC), ranked #8 in FCS; 16,278 average attendance; 4 home games, 24.17% of stadium capacity. Record: 5-6

4. Jackson State University, ranked #11 in FCS; 16,100 average attendance; 6 home games, 25.75% of stadium capacity. Record: 7-4* (* in SWAC championship game w/Grambling).

5. Florida A&M University, ranked #12 in FCS; 15,193 average attendance; 4 home games, 59.58% of stadium capacity. Record: 3-8

6. North Carolina A&T, ranked #15 in FCS; 14,245 average attendance; 5 home games, 67.83% of stadium capacity. Record: 0-11* (27 game losing streak)

7. South Carolina State, ranked #19 in FCS; 13,206 average attendance; 4 home games, 60.03% of stadium capacity. Record: 7-4

8. Arkansas Pine Bluff, ranked #24 in FCS; 12,542 average attendance; 3 home games,
209.04% of stadium capacity. Record: 4-7

9. Grambling State, ranked #25 in FCS; 12,448 average attendance; 3 home games, 63.51% of stadium capacity. Record: *8-2 (has Southern and SWAC championship game w/Jackson State remaining to play).

10. Alabama State, ranked #28 FCS; 11,138 average attendance; 4 home games, 45.28% of stadium capacity. Record: 5-6

11. Prairie View, ranked #48 FCS; 7750 average attendance; 3 home games, 129.17% of stadium capacity. Record: 7-3.

**Winston Salem State (not ranked by NCAA due to provisional/reclassifying Division I FCS). 13,302 average attendance; 4 home games, 73.90% of stadium capacity. Record: 6-5

By data alone, Winston Salem State University would be ranked at #7 in all of the FCS class and 4th in the MEAC data standings.

Without going into great numerical details, here are the significant changes from 2006 to 2007:

a. Jackson State University dropped from FCS position #4 with 20,314 average to #11 with 16,100 average home attendance, moving from a 6-5 record to 7-4 and the SWAC championship game.

b. Southern remained in the #6 FCS position with home attendance rising from 16,453 to 18,913, moving from a 5-6 to *7-3 record in 2007.

c. FAMU dropped from FCS #7 position with home attendance falling from 15,916 to 15,193, moving from a 7-4 to 3-8 record.

d. SCSU dropped from FCS #13 position to #19, with attendance falling from 14,594 to 13,206 with a 7-4 record for both seasons.

e. Alcorn State ranked #14 FCS position with 13,318 in 2006, fell to #68 FCS with average attendance of 6,086 per game, moving from a 6-5 to a 3-8 record.

f. Grambling State ranked #15 FCS with 13,229 fell to #25 FCS with 12,448 in 2007, moving from a 3-8 record to *8-2.

g. Tennessee State ranked #19 FCS with 12,570 climbed to #8 FCS with 16,278.

h. Norfolk State ranked #23 FCS with 11,982 climbed to #7 with 17,220, moving from a 4-7 to 8-3 record.

i. North Carolina A&T ranked #25 FCS in 2006 with 11,596 climbed to #15 FCS with 14,245 home attendance for 5 home games in each season. Aggies record is 0-22 over two year period.


1 comment:

Jarrett Carter said...

I don't think it proves how well their doing as much as it is a symbol of their outreach to the community.

I'm sure FAMU had great attendance at its games, but the record would not indicate a program on the upswing.