Longhorn fans sing the Eyes of Texas before a football game against Baylor at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Oct. 13, 2018. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

BEVO BEAT Football

With smaller crowds spotted across the nation, Texas drew more football fans in 2018

Posted January 23rd, 2019

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During the 2018 football season, Texas sold out three home games and averaged 97,713 fans over its six appearances at Royal-Memorial Stadium.

UT’s attendance numbers at home ranked seventh nationally. In 2017, UT drew an average of 92,778 fans for its six home games. That 5.3 percent increase in the stands can actually be considered an abnormality by the NCAA.

Of the 64 football programs playing in Power 5 conferences, 41 averaged a smaller crowd at home this year than in 2017. Texas was one of 22 schools that saw an increase in average attendance, and only seven of the other programs boasted a bigger boost at the box office. Georgia remained steady with its at-capacity average of 92,746 fans.

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Texas was one of 22 Power 5 programs that averaged a larger crowd in 2018 than it did in 2017.
 Conference2018 average2017 averageDifference
NorthwesternBig Ten43,87335,853+ 22.4%
CaliforniaPac-1242,86636,548+ 17.3%
PittACC41,69636,295+ 14.9%
SyracuseACC37,04333,929+ 9.2%
LouisvilleACC50,25146,160+ 8.9%
PurdueBig Ten51,12047,884+ 6.8%
ArizonaPac-1245,43642,632+ 6.6%
TexasBig 1297,71392,778+ 5.3%
MiamiACC61,46958,682+ 4.74%
Boston CollegeACC37,62335,924+ 4.72%
West VirginiaBig 1258,15855,946+ 4.0%
IowaBig Ten68,04366,337+ 2.6%
LSUSEC100,81998,506+ 2.3%
Texas TechBig 1256,03455,065+ 1.8%
Oregon StatePac-1235,20934,754+ 1.3%
Texas A&MSEC99,84498,802+ 1.1%
UtahPac-1246,33245,913+ 0.9%
VirginiaACC39,70539,398+ 0.8%
WashingtonPac-1269,06868,822+ 0.4%
OklahomaBig 1286,73586,520+ 0.2%
Michigan StateBig Ten72,58472,485+ 0.1%
NC StateACC56,85556,850+ 0.01%

Welcome to Bevo Boulevard: Texas lifts curtain on Chris Del Conte’s vision of a pregame party

Plenty of variables factored into UT’s increase in ticket sales this fall. Whether it was the Bevo Boulevard festivities outside the stadium or a Journey sing-a-long during the Iowa State game, it would be hard to argue that a better environment for fans wasn’t installed during athletics director Chris Del Conte’s first football season. Texas also hosted four ranked foes this fall. Compare that schedule to a year ago when five of the UT’s six visitors were unranked.

Perhaps more importantly, Texas also produced a better product on the field. Texas won seven times in 2017, but the Longhorns went 10-4, posted a 5-1 record at home and played for the Big 12’s championship this fall. Texas ended the season as the No. 9 team in the AP’s football poll, which was the program’s first appearance in the year-end rankings since 2012.

Here are some additional attendance tidbits:

  • UT’s average home crowd of 97,713 ranks eighth in the school’s record books. Texas drew a school-record average of 101,175 fans in 2009.
  • The announced attendance for this year’s games against USC (103,507) and Iowa State (102,498) are the two largest crowds in Texas’ history.
  • Half of the state’s 12 FBS programs — UTSA (8.3%), Texas (5.3%), North Texas (4.4%), Rice (4.2%), Texas Tech (1.8%) and Texas A&M (1.1%)  — increased their average crowds in 2018.
  • For the fifth straight season, Texas A&M averaged a better crowd at home than Texas.
  • Thanks to a seventh home game on its schedule, Oklahoma led the Big 12 in accumulated attendance in 2018. Texas owns a stadium that seats over 14,000 more fans than the Sooners’ Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, and it has claimed the Big 12’s best average crowd in each of the past 13 seasons.

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