This Season's Final Attendance Numbers and What They Mean for You

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports


Images in this article are the intellectual property of the author

I'm a massive numbers geek and attendance figures really get me going, so, if you'll bear with me, let's dive into this numerical rabbit hole together!

Now that the Buffs have (hopefully) played their final game at Coors Events Center this season, we can analyze the final attendance numbers in context.

Here is a summary of the home attendance figures for the first four seasons under Tad Boyle:

2010-11: 117,619 in 17 games= 6,919 average (62.5%); Median Game 6,874 (NIT games not included)

  • Low Game: 2,139 vs. Western New Mexico

  • High Game: 11,203 vs. Kansas

  • Games Over 8,000: 6/17 (35%)

  • Games Over 9,000: 5/17 (29%)

  • Games Over 10,000: 5/17 (29%)

  • Games Over 11,000: 5/17 (29%)

2011-12: 124,860 in 16 games= 7,804 average (70.5%); Median Game 7,858

  • Low Game: 4,621 vs. Texas Southern

  • High Game: 11,056 vs. Arizona

  • Games Over 8,000: 6/16 (38%)

  • Games Over 9,000: 4/16 (25%)

  • Games Over 10,000: 4/16 (25%)

  • Games Over 11,000: 4/16 (25%)

2012-13: 155,884 in 15 games= 10,392 average (93.9%); Median Game 10,344

  • Low game: 8,325 vs. Texas Southern (something about that team...)

  • High Game: 11,708 vs. CSU (All time record)

  • Games Over 8,000: 15/15 (all)

  • Games Over 9,000: 14/15 (93%)

  • Games Over 10,000: 12/15 (80%)

  • Games Over 11,000: 4/15 (27%)

2013-14: 173,429 in 18 games= 9,635 average (87.1%); Median Game 9,583

  • Low game: 8,204 vs. Arkansas State

  • High Game: 11,113 vs. Kansas

  • Games Over 8,000: 18/18 (all)

  • Games Over 9,000: 13/18 (72%)

  • Games Over 10,000: 5/18 (28%)

  • Games Over 11,000: 2/18 (11%)

Now, there are a few different ways to look at this. One way is to note the decline of over 700 people per game over last year, as well as the fact that we had far fewer 10 or 11K games than last year and fewer 11K games than any of the two years prior to that. Another way to look at it is that, for the second year in a row, there was not a single game in which fewer than 8,000 people passed through the gates of the CEC. That's remarkable when you look at how routinely as few as 4, 3 or even 2,000 people attended games in Tad's first year on the job. In the past, people would only come out to the CEC to see a game against a highly ranked opponent, and often it seemed like the opponent was more the focus than the Buffs were. I don't need to remind any of you that at least 5,000 of the fans at any given Kansas game in the pre-Tad era were wearing blue. Now we may see fewer 11K games, but we see 8 or 9,000 people who actually care about the Buffs turn up game in and game out. This tells me that people are becoming more interested in the Buffs and less interested in the teams they're playing. All if that was true last year as well though, so this doesn't completely explain the drop off.

In 2012-13 we were coming off an extraordinary run in the Pac-12 tournament and a victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. People were excited in way they had never been. We had a good season that year, but we ended up getting bounced in the first round of the NCAAs. I've found that the previous year has more of an impact on the attendance for the following season than the actual performance of the team. The 2012 Red Sox outdrew the 2013 Red Sox almost entirely on the basis of the season ticket sales generated by their performances in the previous season. The fact that the 2012 club was garbage and the 2013 team won the World Series didn't impact the numbers much. You can notice the same effect across all sports.

It also doesn't help that CU actually counts asses in the seats instead of purchased tickets, especially when coupled with the fact that we sold more season tickets this year than any year prior. It creates a conundrum where season ticket holders frequently don't use their tickets for low demand games, but the seats are unavailable to the general public, leading to a lower number. In the past, when a high demand game arrived, it was easy for people to snatch up tickets and pack the stands, whereas now the amount of seats that are available to the general public is vastly fewer than the amount that will actually be available on game day.

I will note that there was a slight decline in student attendance this year. The student section was still packed for games like UCLA and Arizona and Arizona State, and I can personally attest to seeing dozens of people standing in the aisles during the Kansas game, but the attendance for any given game was down a bit over last year, and I primarily attribute that to the fact that there is no basketball only sports pass. At CU, students can either purchase a football-only pass for $140 or an all sports pass for $175. You'd think it was the mid 90s with that kind of pricing. After 2012's winless home football season, many people decided it wasn't worth it to shell out that kind of money to watch what they assumed would be a bad football team. Had a basketball only pass been offered for $50 or even $100 I'm sure quite a few would have bought in. Hopefully this is offered next year, but in the absence of that I'm hopeful that a 4-3 home showing by the football team will encourage more people to buy passes, which will help attendance at Folsom as well as Coors.

If this season is viewed in comparison with 2012-13, it could be considered somewhat of a disappointment, but if you compare it to the entirety of the previous history of this program, it's remarkable. This season's attendance was up 25% over 2010-11. That would be considered incredible progress if the 2012 campaign was removed from the equation. We also have to remember that 2010-11 marked a significant increase in attendance, and while I don't have figures from the Bzdelik era I can assure you that this year's attendance is close to double what we saw in any of those years. We have a strong baseline of support now, where we can count on at least 8,000 people showing up, no matter who we play, and that's not something to scoff at. Hopefully next year with a strong new recruiting class and most (hopefully all) of our key players returning, we can get back to where we were in 2012-13 and maybe even surpass it.

Thank you for reading.

Roll Tad and Go Buffs!


    More from The Ralphie Report

    All comments, FanPosts, and FanShots are the views of the reader-authors who create them.

    Log In Sign Up

    Log In Sign Up

    Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

    As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

    Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

    I already have a Vox Media account!

    Verify Vox Media account

    Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

    Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

    As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

    Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

    Forgot password?

    We'll email you a reset link.

    If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

    Forgot password?

    Try another email?

    Almost done,

    By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

    Join The Ralphie Report

    You must be a member of The Ralphie Report to participate.

    We have our own Community Guidelines at The Ralphie Report. You should read them.

    Join The Ralphie Report

    You must be a member of The Ralphie Report to participate.

    We have our own Community Guidelines at The Ralphie Report. You should read them.




    Choose an available username to complete sign up.

    In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.